Open extensions on Firefox for Android will be available from December 14

Nov 29, 2023

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.

Firefox open extensions on Android

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.

Explore Firefox for Android open extensions collection

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.

Open extensions on Firefox for Android will be available from December 14
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Open extensions on Firefox for Android will be available from December 14
Mozilla says users will be able to install open extensions on Firefox for Android from December 14.

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  1. NoFox said on December 2, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Everyone better migrate to Cromite, which has ZERO telemetry/phoning home behaviour unlike Mozilla Firefox. Also it can disable JavaScript and has functionality like Adblock Plus and UserScript.

    Why bother with Fatfox which is so bloated with telemetry which is baked in deeply?

    1. YesFox said on December 3, 2023 at 10:37 am

      Because not everyone wants to use Chrom* stuff, with or without patches. In Firefox telemetry is easily disabled via config anyway, it’s much easier to harden and doesn’t have a long history of critical security vulnerabilities unlike Chrome. In short, Cromite has its uses as an alternative browser but Firefox is eons better. So long, Google fanboy!

  2. ZF said on November 30, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    Only Mull Browser, which is based on the Firefox.
    The purest browser ever.

    1. NeonRobot said on December 1, 2023 at 6:12 am

      I’m with you. Who needs default telemetry software when we have Mull and IceRaven?

  3. zed said on November 30, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Good! And I hope someday Mozilla will let us import/export bookmarks to filesystem without sync/cloud/whatever:

  4. Steve said on November 30, 2023 at 5:59 am

    It will be interesting to see how many extensions of the userscript category are included. Meaning, Violentmonkey, Tampermonkey, Greasemonkey, etc. because IMHO if it won’t change much otherwise.

  5. Potato said on November 29, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    Too late, most of us already moved on to other browsers. Firefox these days is one step forward, ten behind. And google bullying them with chrome policies and slowdowns while keeping them on a leash made out of anticompetitive insurance cash doesn’t help either.

    1. bruh said on November 30, 2023 at 10:51 am

      I use firefox exclusively and never got the slow-down bug, and regarding “10 steps behind”: I’d actually prefer a browser that doesn’t change a dozen things every update, does it still render web pages? Does it use RAM well? That’s my biggest criteria, lol, Firefox doing alright in these regards.

      Sounds like someone is just crapping on firefox for the sake of crapping on firefox

      1. Potato said on November 30, 2023 at 10:48 pm

        Brave, vivaldi, edge and even opera feel better to me than firefox in all platforms. And now that we have the superlight DDG browser on windows too I would never main Firefox for heavy browsing.

        I guess it still has a spot to handle more personal and sensitive data compared to other browsers and I just noticed Brave is missing the pop-out video feature that I recently started using heavily for multitasking. But other than that, it really is losing the race in terms of speed and features.

        I really hoped Firefox remained great but since they had that fubar with the extensions on version 90 or so its been downhill for me personally, the iOS\ipad one suffers greatly from relying so much on extensions.

  6. bruh said on November 29, 2023 at 10:26 am

    I don’t do phone browsers, but do any other browsers have something like this? Genuinely curious, seems like this is a cool thing?

    1. Rex said on November 30, 2023 at 2:30 am

      Iceraven is a Firefox mobile fork minus their crappy tracking and telemetry, it already supports more extensions than mobile Firefox. And in Chrome land, Kiwi Browser for Android supports extensions.

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