Firefox Nightly for Android lets you install add-ons from files
Last week, Mozilla added support for over 450 add-ons for Firefox for Android. Now, the experimental version of the mobile browser has gained a new feature, to install add-ons from files.
It is worth mentioning that you can switch to the desktop view when browsing the add-ons repo, and download any extension on your Android phone, even if the add-on is not compatible with mobile devices. But what about those that are not available on Mozilla's add-ons repository, aka the AMO? This is when the new feature might come in handy. You may also find it useful, if the official add-ons repo is banned (due to censorship) in your region, you can just download the extension's XPI from the developer's website, or a trusted third-party store and use the add-on. Here is a related discussion on the Firefox subreddit.
Remember when Bypass Paywalls Clean was delisted from the AMO, after being hit by a DMCA? Well, the add-on is still maintained, i.e. updated by the author. As a matter of fact, this is a signed add-on, it is still the only catch is that you need to install it from a file. So let's use that as an example in the following tutorial.
Before we proceed, you will need to enable a Secret Settings menu in the app. Why is that? Well, the option to install add-ons from files, is not available by default. Mozilla has hidden it, you will need to unlock the Secret Settings menu to access the feature. To do this, open Firefox Nightly on your Android phone. Tap on the Firefox Nightly logo 5 times, and it will display a message that says "Debug menu enabled". Now you have access to the Secret Settings menu and the new feature.
How to install add-ons from file on Firefox Nightly for Android
1. Download the .XPI file for any Firefox add-on. Let's use Bypass Paywalls Clean, which you can download from this page.
2. Tap on the Menu button in Firefox Nightly and select Settings.
3. Now, tap on the option that says "Install add-on from file". The file picker should open.
4. Select the XPI file that you downloaded, and it will be installed in Firefox Nightly.
5. You can access the extension from the browser's menu > add-ons.
You will probably have to update the add-on manually, on the bright side, at least you can use them now.
The ability to install add-ons from files is pretty cool, but you should be aware that you can't use it to install unsigned add-ons. Mozilla believes they are security risks, which is kind of restrictive, but that's a different issue. Anyway, extensions that are not signed are kind of rare, I mean most developers who have created a Firefox add-on will publish it on the AMO. Not doing so, is a waste of their efforts.
Mozilla will be looking to gather feedback from users in the Nightly channel and implement bug fixes, before bringing the feature to users in the Beta group. So, it may take a few months before Mozilla officially enables the option to install add-ons from files to the stable version of Firefox for Android.
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