The desktop version of Google Chrome has thousands of extensions to supercharge your browsing, from adblocking to grammar correction. Mobile Chrome users aren’t so lucky – the official mobile Chrome browser doesn’t support them. If you want to install and use Chrome extensions on your Android device, there is a workaround that we detail below.
Install Kiwi Browser
To get started, you’ll need an alternative to the default Chrome browser. Kiwi Browser is based on the Chromium project that Chrome itself is based upon, and it looks a lot like it.
While there are a lot of similarities, there are some differences you’ll need to be aware of. For instance, as it’s based on Chromium and not Chrome, you can’t use your Google account to sync your bookmarks or browser history.
The good news for extension fans is that, unlike Chrome on Android, Kiwi Browser supports the installation of desktop Chrome extensions with ease.
Download Kiwi Browser from the Google Play Store to get started.
Searching for Chrome Extensions
The tricky part about installing Chrome desktop extensions on Android is that there’s no easy portal to download them from. You have to use the Chrome Web Store, with its remarkably mobile-unfriendly design.
Head to the Chrome Web Store and either zoom in with your fingers, or rotate your display for better access. Either way, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s going to be a little fiddly.
From here, the installation process for extensions is pretty much exactly like it is on your desktop. The Chrome Web Store offers a list of recommendations, with sections for the most recently updated and popular at the top. There are also “Editors Picks,” with Google-picked selections for you to install.
If you want to find something specific, search for an extension you want to install using the search bar in the top-left of the page.
Adding Chrome Extensions to Kiwi
Once you’ve found an extension you like in the search, click the “Add to Chrome” button next to it. Alternatively, you can click on the store page for the extension to find out a little more about it first. The “Add to Chrome” button will appear there, too.
If there are any extra permissions required, you’ll be asked to approve it. Just click “OK” and wait for the extension to install. If you want to confirm that the installation is complete, click your settings button (the three vertical dots). From here, click “Extensions.”
You’ll see the extensions page, looking very similar to the extensions page you’ll find on Chrome. Once Kiwi Browser installs the extension, it’ll appear here, pre-enabled for use.
You can also load extensions manually if you have a Chrome extension CRX or ZIP file. To do that, enable “Developer Mode” in the top-right of your extensions page. From here, click “Load” and select your extension, making sure it’s enabled afterward.
Removing Chrome Extensions to Kiwi
If you’re not keen on an extension, you can remove it in much the same way you’d remove an extension on Chrome. Go to your extensions page, locate your extension, and click “Remove.”
Kiwi Browser will ask you to confirm if you want to remove the extension. Just click “OK” to confirm the removal, or click “Cancel.”
Like Chrome, you can also disable extensions in Kiwi Browser. Just click the blue slider, found at the bottom right of each extension on the extensions page, to disable it.
A Desktop Web Experience on Your Phone
It isn’t just extension support that makes Kiwi browser a good, open-source alternative to Google Chrome on your Android device. It comes with a built-in ad block, crypto jacking protection, and lots of customization to make it one of the best mobile browsers for Android.
What are your experiences of Kiwi, and do you have any Chrome extensions that you’d recommend for Android? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Kiwi Browser Logo via Google Play Store