You can now install any add-on in Firefox Nightly for Android, but it is complicated - gHacks Tech News

You can now install any add-on in Firefox Nightly for Android, but it is complicated

Mozilla released a new Firefox Nightly version for Android, and this one is special, as it is the first version of the new Firefox for Android that allows users to install any extension that is listed on Mozilla's official add-ons repository Mozilla AMO.

The restoration of full add-ons support in Firefox for Android is a major request by users of the browser. While it is unclear how many Firefox users on Android used add-ons prior to being upgraded to the new Firefox, it is clear that most add-on users lost access to extensions when the upgrade happened.

Firefox for Android Stable supports just a few extensions currently, but Mozilla promised that it would regain full add-ons support eventually.

Mozilla created the override in Firefox Nightly for extension developers and advanced users only, and made it difficult to enable full extensions support.

The entire system is based on Mozilla's Collections system. It is not possible to install an extension directly from its main Mozilla AMO profile page, and there does not seem to be a way to browse available collections. Also, Firefox's default selection of add-ons seems to use the same system and it will be replaced by the Collection that you select. If an installed extension is not in the new Collection, it will be uninstalled.

Attention: Not all extensions will work; it should be clear for some, e.g. add-ons that modify how tabs are displayed in the browser. Firefox for Nightly may lack support for some add-on APIs as well and you may run into issues when using the browser because of that.

Enable Full Add-ons Support in Firefox Nightly

firefox-nightly android custom addons

  1. Tap on the main menu (three dots) and select Settings.
  2. Scroll all the way down and select "About Firefox Nightly".
  3. Tap on the Firefox Logo at the top (next to Firefox Browser) five times until the "Debug menu enabled" notification is displayed.
  4. Go back to the main Settings page.
  5. Scroll down to the Advanced section and activate "Custom Add-on Collection".
  6. You are asked to type the User ID of the collection owner and the name of the Collection.

You need the unique user ID of the collection and the name of it, e.g. 926754 and ghacks, for the Ghacks Collection (which I edited just a moment ago, and promise that I won't remove any listed from. If you need a specific add-on, let me know and I try to add it).

You can create your own Collection but need a Firefox account for that. The main entry point is this page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collections/. Don't confuse Add-on Collections with Firefox's newer Collections feature.

firefox android addons

Add any extension you like to the custom Collection, and the change is reflected after you restart the Firefox browser locally. Removing extensions from a Collection is problematic as extensions will be uninstalled in that case automatically.

A tap on Add-ons in the interface lists all extensions of the selected Collection. You can install these just like any of the officially supported add-ons. I did not run into any installation issues, and it is possible that extensions, even those that are not compatible, will install just fine. If you notice issues, uninstall the add-on again and things should be resolved.

Closing Words

Full add-ons support is a major step in the right direction, and the current implementation is probably the best that Mozilla could do in the short period of time it had after the release of the new Firefox for Android. It seems likely that add-ons support remains exclusive to the Nightly version for the time being.

Now You: which add-ons do you need on Android?

Summary
You can now install any add-on in Firefox Nightly for Android, but it is complicated
Article Name
You can now install any add-on in Firefox Nightly for Android, but it is complicated
Description
Mozilla released a new Firefox Nightly version for Android, and this one is special, as it is the first version of the new Firefox for Android that allows users to install any extension that is listed on Mozilla's official add-ons repository Mozilla AMO.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Iron Heart said on October 1, 2020 at 7:55 am
    Reply

    This used to be in the stable(!) version of Firefox, not just in highly unstable alpha builds. The implementation via “collections” is also clumsy to the utmost.

    When Vivaldi and Brave introduce unrestricted extension support same as what Kiwi already has, Mozilla will feel the gravity of their mistake. Nobody wants a “curated list” of add-ons in 2020, full add-on support on stable builds is where it’s at. Oh, and while they are at it, also reintroduce about:config please, so that the user finally has a say in what is going on again.

    1. Allwynd said on October 1, 2020 at 8:47 am
      Reply

      I don’t even know why they decided it’s a good idea to restrict extensions in the first place. Do they think they know what’s best for their users? Let them install whatever they want and have things break on them and report issues rather than restrict the browser and make it feel like a 3rd rate app store browser with almost no features.

      That’s why Firefox sucks now on both mobile and desktop – it used to have features that are no longer available and just the thought of that is what makes me not want to use it ever again. At least Chrome stayed the same since 2008. For the average Joe nothing even changed over the years – the UI got some slight changes in button arrangements and theme change, but other than that everything was always the same.

      1. ShintoPlasm said on October 1, 2020 at 9:20 am
        Reply

        Not to mention that you can still install many original extensions from the dawn of Chrome.

    2. Anonymous said on October 1, 2020 at 12:09 pm
      Reply

      > Oh, and while they are at it, also reintroduce about:config please, so that the user finally has a say in what is going on again.

      That removal was *very* nasty, along with UI prefs disappearing. For example, it’s now no longer possible to prevent mobile Firefox from sending browsing data to Google:

      https://github.com/fork-maintainers/iceraven-browser/issues/145

      They keep denying that Google can use safebrowsing to track anything but the technical discussion above proves that them and Google are lying.

      And the list of other malicious features that could only be removed using about:config is long. This is probably a first step to remove about:config on desktop Firefox too. Later, because users are more defensive there.

      Anyone still believing that they remove customization “just so basic users don’t make mistakes” ? When this implies that Google, from whom they get half a billion dollars each year, will be able to track sites and downloads ? And when all this data additionally quietly feeds the US repression apparatus ?

  2. Jeff said on October 1, 2020 at 9:49 am
    Reply

    uBlock Origin, Top and Bottom Scroll Buttons, Redirect AMP to HTML, Video DownloadHelper – these are my current add-ons on Kiwi Browser for Android.

    1. Allwynd said on October 1, 2020 at 7:02 pm
      Reply

      I also use Kiwi and my extensions are Nano Adblocker, Nano Defender, AutoPlayStopper, Privacy Badger.

      I use the same on Chrome on my PC and I have forgotten what ads and rogue pop ups look like. xD

      Without these extensions or any other replacements that allow me to have a clean web experience, I’d rather stop using the internet than be subjected to ads and rogue pop ups.

  3. Anonymous said on October 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm
    Reply

    > The entire system is based on Mozilla’s Collections system. It is not possible to install an extension directly from its main Mozilla AMO profile page, and there does not seem to be a way to browse available collections.

    Why would they do that ?

    > You can create your own Collection but need a Firefox account for that.

    Oh, so that’s why, they want us to make accounts to get back removed functionality.

    Rats.

    > the current implementation is probably the best that Mozilla could do in the short period of time it had after the release of the new Firefox for Android.

    The obvious thing to do would have been not to release a browser full of bugs and removed important features. But they are closely following Google in killing the freedom to control our interaction with the web to improve their bottom line. With this new strike more users will be disgusted of using extensions, which is a plus for Mozilla’s long term plans, and as a vicious circle Mozilla will use this as an excuse to further destroy the extension system.

    The IceRaven fork for mobile is where it’s at now:

    https://github.com/fork-maintainers/iceraven-browser

    In addition to restoring the right to use extensions, it removes lots of the tracking and other antifeatures.

    1. Ray said on October 1, 2020 at 9:08 pm
      Reply

      F-Droid’s Fennec also introduced a Fenix build (81.1.1), but it looks like it’s a stable build of Firefox, so no addon collection support yet. Proprietary blobs and tracking are removed however.

  4. ferner liefen said on October 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm
    Reply

    A horrible solution as it gives mozilla far too much information and control. Though it does prevent the rampant temporary plugin installations scourge, but the cost is too high.

  5. /g/ said on October 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    No, I can’t. I stopped using Firefox on desktop and on Android a month ago.

  6. Kurt said on October 1, 2020 at 4:04 pm
    Reply

    Not any add-on. Only ones on the Firefox Add On website. you can’t sideload an Add On from elsewhere.

    1. Anonymous said on October 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm
      Reply

      Really ? The walled garden intensifies.

      1. Anonymous said on October 2, 2020 at 1:34 am
        Reply

        That’s the point. They also have plan for developers to pay to get their extension recommended

  7. RJ said on October 3, 2020 at 6:39 pm
    Reply

    I searched and found an older version of firefox 68.11.0 which i installed with APKmirror. I had t0 switch off playstore autoupdate.

  8. Anonymous said on November 1, 2020 at 5:40 am
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    They’re acting really stupid and stubborn.

    What is so difficult about allowing addons to be installed from any location? Technically it’s probably less than 50 lines of code. It would have taken more effort to do otherwise.

    They’re clearly trying to monetize the addon system, at the expense of users. How retarded can you be to try to close down a product whose main selling point was that it’s open.

  9. qed said on November 1, 2020 at 9:38 pm
    Reply

    This is really an attempt to monetize the addons. After they ensure no addons can be installed from other sources, they will start curating paid addons, and create an appstore of sort.

    While money need to be made, the strategy is completely misguided and flawed.
    First, disallowing sideloaded add-on alienates a large userbase. Second, this doesn’t in any way directly affect the strategy to monetize. And then the messed up launch which basically forced a pre-alpha binary with no warning to everybody flung a lot of shit everywhere.

    I hope they come to their senses and revive about:config and sideloaded addons, but the chances of that seem very bleak. Under whatever misguided leadership they are flying, they seem to be quite adamant in their mission of wrecking and drowning Firefox.

  10. pr said on November 10, 2020 at 11:44 am
    Reply

    Hi and thank you for your great help with these add_one
    I really need to download streaming videos and conferences on my android phone , I have tried every thing but the only thing that was useful was using ant video downloade add_on for Firefox , but I cannot add it to my android phone . I wanted to use your method but I did not know the user ID and exact name of this add_,on .
    You have kindly said in your website that we could ask you to add specific add_on.
    I truly appreciate if you could help me with that.
    It is a kind of urgent for me
    Thank you

  11. Jakub said on November 24, 2020 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for documenting this!
    FYI The collection manager only searches addons for the browser specified in the URI. But a collection can contain addons for desktop and Android simultaneously.
    One just has to change the URI path from /firefox to /android.

  12. Puspo said on December 4, 2020 at 9:41 am
    Reply

    Can you ad Tamper Data for FF Quantum? Please

  13. Anonymous said on December 8, 2020 at 10:01 am
    Reply

    Can you add Dark Reader? For some reason it broke when I added the custom app list.

  14. tired anon said on December 16, 2020 at 11:55 am
    Reply

    I hate how each “big-brain” move they made it’s always followed by them selfishly cut support for older version… this time I can’t search any addon on AMO because it always rub me with 0 result when it clearly still there and I must search them from web as workaround, I wonder how long these addon on older version will last before these people just selfishly cut the update for em and make sure you CAN’T get em anymore just like the whole theme mess when they release v65

  15. Franck said on January 22, 2021 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

    Thanks a lot for your efforts Martin!

  16. Daniel said on March 2, 2021 at 6:23 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the article. Enabled me to finally re-install “I don’t care about cookies” in firefox android.

  17. E-Sy said on March 8, 2021 at 4:44 am
    Reply

    Nice ! Could you also please add the addon Web Translate and maybe create a Github site for your open collection ?

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/web_translate/

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