Mozilla is working to make installing add-ons on the Android version of its Firefox browser a little easier, especially for people familiar with the browser’s desktop variant.
In a blog post, Mozilla explained that Firefox version 85 would allow users to install supported add-ons and extensions from the ‘addons.mozilla.org‘ website. Currently, Firefox Mobile only allows users to install extensions from its built-in Add-ons Manager.
Starting January 21st, Mozilla says it will update the add-ons website to allow Firefox 85 to install extensions directly from the site. However, the capability will only work on Firefox Beta and Nightly builds, which are already on version 85 or newer. The stable release of Firefox for Android 85 is set to roll out on January 25th, and it will bring the ability to install extensions from the add-ons site.
The existing built-in add-on manager will remain available as an option as well. To access that, tap the three-dot menu button in Firefox for Android > Tap ‘Add-ons’ > Tap ‘Add-ons Manager.’ From that screen, you can view a list of available add-ons and select ones to install, as well as manage installed add-ons.
Although some users may welcome the change, which will make the process of adding extensions similar to the experience of using Firefox on a PC, it’s overall a minor adjustment that doesn’t do much to improve the overall add-on situation.
Mozilla is working to optimize add-on performance
Shortly after Mozilla released its refreshed Firefox for Android browser, the company shared a blog post explaining that it decided to focus on building support for commonly-used extensions. That decision meant Firefox for Android only had access to a few curated options chosen by Mozilla. While the number has grown — as of writing, there are 18 add-ons available — many popular extensions are still missing.
Mozilla says it will “continue to work on optimizing add-on performance on mobile.” Although the new blog post seems to suggest Mozilla is pausing work on extension support in Firefox for Android, it’s worth noting that Mozilla is referencing the completion of its first milestone, which sought to bring several popular extensions to the browser. With that done, Mozilla is shifting focus to integrating and expanding support for other extensions.
In short, that means we’ll only have the current 18 add-ons for the foreseeable future. Granted, those 18 cover quite a few use cases (and are also 18 more than you’d get using most other popular Android browsers). Mozilla pointed out at the end of its blog post that users needing access to more extensions can use Firefox for Android Nightly, enable an ‘override setting‘ and install other extensions listed on Mozilla’s add-ons website.