Open extensions on Firefox for Android will be available from December 14
Mozilla has announced that it will allow Open extensions on Firefox for Android from December 14. Users will finally be able to break free from Firefox's limited collection of extensions, and install add-ons of their choice.
What are open extensions anyway? If a developer marks their add-on as compatible with Android devices, Mozilla will list the extension as openly available for Firefox for Android, hence the name, open extensions.
Firefox users have long been frustrated with the state of the Android browser, since Mozilla debuted a redesigned version of Firefox in 2019. It required web extension developers to create a separate version of their add-on compatible with mobile devices, this nearly killed support for add-ons as very few developers made their plugins compatible with Firefox for Android. Most add-ons are designed for desktops, which has the largest user base among Firefox fans.
This resulted in Firefox for Android being limited to around 22 add-ons, as opposed to over 35,000 extensions on desktop. The main problem with this was the collection curated by Mozilla was not necessarily accurate. Many extensions were indeed compatible with the mobile browser, but Mozilla did not allow users to install them. You could bypass this restriction by using Firefox Beta or Firefox Nightly, to create a custom add-on collection and install the ones that you wanted. This isn't exactly a user-friendly process, besides it also impacted the discoverability of add-ons.
Things changed for the better in August 2023, when the browser maker revealed its plans to extend support for all extensions, providing a breath of relief for developers and users alike. The add-ons were tested in the beta channel of Firefox version 119. At that time, the open extensions library boasted over 250 add-ons, which was quite impressive considering the official collection had less than 2 dozen plugins.
Mozilla to allow open extensions on Firefox for Android from December 14
Mozilla had originally planned to introduce Open extensions on Firefox for Android on December 19, 2023, which would coincide with the release of Firefox 121. According to a new announcement on Mozilla Add-ons Community Blog, the browser maker will enable open extensions 5 days earlier, i.e. on December 14th.
You don't have to wait until then to see what's in store for us. Check out the new "Explore All Android Extensions" section on the AMO today to get a sneak peek of the upcoming collection. When you browse the page using the stable version of Firefox on your Android phone, you will only be able to view 47 extensions. But if you access it via the Firefox Beta or Firefox Nightly versions, you will be able to browse a much larger catalog that comprises over 400 extensions.
This will allow Firefox for Android users to install various extensions including the likes of SponsorBlock, SteamDB, SingleFile, Old Reddit Redirect, Simple Translate, Keepa, and more. This could improve the browsing experience greatly on mobile devices.
The availability of more extensions on Firefox for Android could give Mozilla's browser a much-needed edge over the competition. Most of its rivals are Chromium-based, and do not support add-ons. And it could not arrive at a better time, users have been frustrated by Google's anti-ad blocker practices on YouTube. You could already bypass these issues with uBlock Origin, but if you throw in SponsorBlock into the mix, it can basically replace the YouTube app to deliver a distraction-free experience. Perhaps this is the time for Firefox to set the mobile web ablaze.Advertisement