Firefox’s Android app will soon support an “open ecosystem of extensions.” developer Mozilla has announced, allowing users to customize the browser with a wide range of third-party plug-ins. An exact release date for the feature has yet to be announced, but in a blog post, Mozilla’s Scott DeVaney said it should arrive before the end of the year. More details will be announced next month.
With the release, Firefox claims that it will be the “only major Android browser to support an open extension ecosystem.” However, the extensions are currently not compatible with Chrome for Android, the operating system’s default browser. android authority reports that it is possible to make them work in smaller browsers like Yandex and Kiwi Browser. On iOS, Apple recently added support for extensions to its Safari browser.
The “only major Android browser to support an open extension ecosystem”
Extension support in Firefox for Android technically goes back years, but support was greatly reduced when the app was rebuilt in 2020. Since then, it only officially supports a limited number of less than two dozen extensions, android police recently reported. While it is still technically possible to run any Firefox desktop extension with the Android app, you must enable a debug menu to do so, and Mozilla warns that this option is designed for “developers and advanced users” and may “lead to unexpected results.”
“There is so much creative potential to unlock within the mobile browser space,” Firefox engineering director Giorgio Natili said in a statement. “Mozilla wants to give developers the best possible support so they are equipped and empowered to build modern mobile WebExtensions.” The company blog post includes a instruction list for developers to ensure that their extensions work as expected on Android, without falling victim to the operating system’s tendency to kill resource-intensive processes.
Although Mozilla characterizes Firefox as one of the top Android browsers, its market share pales in comparison to market leader Chrome, which statistics counter reports it controlled nearly 65 percent of all mobile browsing (including iOS) as of July 2023. Meanwhile, Firefox’s market share stood at just half percent.