The Firefox app for Android will soon support third-party plugins again as developer Mozilla reverses a previous decision.
Back in 2020, the company launched an overhauled Firefox for Android phones, upgrading its security and making the user interface easier to use. One of the casualties of the redesign was that support for browser extensions was drastically reduced. Soon, though, Mozilla’s mobile Firefox app on Android has the necessary infrastructure for extensions. So you can have your favorite desktop add-ons with you on the go.
What’s more, this will be an “open extension ecosystem” where any skilled developer can come in and create something for the app. Moving forward, “Firefox will become the only major Android browser to support,” Mozilla claims, such a creative environment. People can essentially come in and create whatever they want. This could give the mobile app an edge over rivals like Google Chrome, which doesn’t allow third-party add-ons of any kind.
Before you run off and install the browser, be aware the patch is not out yet. This is still in the works. Mozilla states it will give a “definite launch date” for its open ecosystem sometime “in early September”. The company does guarantee everything will be released by the end of the year. In the meantime, Mozilla is offering help and resources to developers interested in creating plugins for its app.
It’s unknown if this patch will ever go out to Firefox on iOS. As stated on a Mozilla Support page, Apple has its own extension system for iPhone that is “incompatible with Firefox add-ons”. We asked the developer if there are plans to expand this patch over to iOS devices on the off chance it’s possible. This story will be updated if we hear back.
It will be really interesting to see what comes out of it. According to Android Police, 22 plug-ins are officially available for Firefox on Android including TechRadar’s pick for the best ad-blocker: uBlock Origin. There are a few others we would love to see. For instance, there’s Tabby to help manage browser tabs plus Enhancer for YouTube. The latter introduces a lot of cool tools for YouTube like the ability to configure shortcuts.
While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best web browsers for 2023.