Can you install Chrome extensions on Android? This question pops up all the time both in our mailbox and online. Since Chrome and Android are made by Google, you might think you could use Chrome to its full potential. Unfortunately, Chrome extensions are not compatible with Android's Chrome browser.
That being said, how can you use your favorite extensions on your mobile? Use another browser. There are dozens of browsers that work with Android, so you're not short of choices.
How to Use Chrome Extensions on Android
Chrome uses the open source Chromium platform for its browsers, but so does much of the competition. The easiest way to overcome Chrome's limitation while maintaining familiar operation and being able to use all the extensions you want on a desktop is to use a Chromium-based browser.
One of the most popular browser options is Yandex. This browser is available in the Google Play Store, so there is no need to download any files. Yandex also offers full support for the Chrome Web Store. If you want to use Chrome extensions on your Android device, this is a good place to start.
To access the Chrome Web Store, follow these steps:
- Head to the Google Play Store and download Yandex.
- Once installed, tap on the address bar at the top. Type chrome.google.com/webstore. Of course, you can also click on this link.
- When the Web Store opens, tap the search bar and type in the extension you want to add. Notes: Use two fingers to zoom out, as you'll likely see the desktop version.
- Tap "Install" in the upper right corner.
Your extension will now appear in the web browser for you to use whenever you want. Some users have complained about Yandex because a lot of the content is in Russia. So if that's not the browser you like, we've listed some others in the next section for you to try.
There are many of them and some work with extensions. Here are a few you might like to try.
Brave Browser is a popular browser for desktop and Android users. First of all, this browser does not support extensions, but it does not necessarily need them. It has built-in privacy controls and very effective ad blocking. If you use extensions to stop ads or block autoplaying videos, this browser does that by default.
If you use other extensions, Brave probably isn't the browser you're looking for, but if you care about privacy, it's definitely a browser to consider.
Kiwi Browser is another Chromium-based browser that supports extensions. Kiwi also has built-in ad blocking and works very fast. It is a lightweight download, installs quickly and fires quickly as well. It's a good browser for general use and blocks most ads by default.
Once loaded, select the three-dot menu icon, select Extensions, and you'll see a link to the Kiwi Web Store, which sits across from the Google Play Store. Select your extension from there and you are good to go.
Bromite Browser is a GitHub project with built-in ad blocking. It's based on Chromium but has been stripped down to the bare minimum to speed up browsing and minimize data collection. Since most of the extensions we use are for ad blocking and preventing Google from collecting our data, this is also a browser worth checking out.
Bromite doesn't quite meet the spec of working with extensions, but like Brave, the base offering includes most of the extensions we use daily anyway.
Firefox is well known and for good reason. It's always been a close competitor to Chrome because it's just as fast, more secure, and more privacy-conscious. It doesn't have the backing of the internet giant, but that hasn't stopped it from performing exceptionally well.
Firefox for Android supports its own add-ons and therefore offers a very similar experience on Android and desktop. Most Chrome extensions will have a Firefox equivalent, so if you have a favorite setup on your laptop or desktop, you can mimic it almost exactly on mobile.
Dolphin Browser is another powerful tool for Android that supports add-ons. I've been using it for years and although recent updates haven't taken it as far as I'd like, it's still a solid Android browser that supports add-ons. It also has an ad blocker and also works with Flash. Luckily the internet has moved away from Flash, but if you play legacy games that use it, Dolphin will play them.
Dolphin works fast, blocks most ads by default with just a few ads, and works just like you'd expect a browser to work. Worth checking out.
It's a shame that Chrome doesn't work with extensions in Chrome. Fortunately, you have several good options for alternative browsers that work with extensions or provide basic services without needing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
We've included this section to answer more of your most frequently asked questions.
Where can I get Chrome extensions from?
Generally, you can get extensions for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store. But the mobile version of the Chrome browser does not have one. The search option is not even available for you to search for your favorite extensions. That's why we have to use alternative browsers. Some of the ones listed above don't offer extensions per se, but they do offer a lot of features that you can look for in an extension.
What are Chrome extensions used for?
Chrome extensions are similar to apps on your phone. There's pretty much one for everything. To save money with the Honey extension to perfect your grammar with Grammarly, there are plenty of options available. The Chrome Web Store home page lists some of the most popular options. If you're not sure what you're looking for, start there.
Do you have a suggested alternative to Chrome for Android? Tell us about it below if you do!