How to Install Firefox in Chromebook

Chromebook Install Firefox Featured

Chromebook runs Chrome OS, which is essentially the Google Chrome browser. When you power on your Chromebook, the Chrome browser will launch automatically so you can surf the Web immediately. What if you are not a fan of Google Chrome? Or perhaps you are paranoid about the data Google is collecting behind your back when you are using its browser. Luckily, there are several ways you can install Firefox on Chromebook. Here is how you can do so.

Install Firefox Android app

Most of the newer Chromebook comes with support for Android apps, which means you can easily install Firefox from the Play Store.

1. Open up Play Store on your Chromebook.

2. Do a search for Firefox.

Install Firefox Chromebook Android App

There are several Firefox browsers that you can choose from, namely the standard Firefox, Firefox Focus and Firefox Preview. Firefox Focus is a minimal privacy browser that blocks a wide range of online trackers. Firefox Preview is an experimental browser by Mozilla. If you are looking for a browser with the most features, installing the standard Firefox browser is your best bet.

3. After the installation, you will be able the use the Android version of the Firefox browser.

Firefox for Android supportsĀ extensions, too, though the choices are pretty limited. Since it is a mobile browser at its core, you won’t get a good desktop user experience.

Install Firefox as Linux app

If your Chromebook supports Linux apps, then you can install the Linux version of desktop Firefox.

To check if your Chromebook supports the Linux app, open the menu drawer and open Settings.

Install Firefox Chromebook Open Settings

In the Settings, search for “linux.”

If you see the “Linux (beta)” option, then your Chromebook can install the Linux app. Click on it to enable it (if you have not done so).

Install Firefox Chromebook Linux Beta Option

Install Firefox ESR

The underlying Linux container is running Debian, and only Firefox ESR is available in its repository. Open the terminal in the menu drawer. Type the following command to install Firefox-ESR.

Once the installation is completed, you should see a Firefox icon in the dock. You can start to use Firefox in Chromebook.

Firefox-ESR stands for Firefox Extended Support Release, which is a long-term support release. It is a stable release meant for enterprise use. Releases will be maintained for more than a year, with point releases containing security updates coinciding with regular Firefox releases. New features in the regular Firefox releases will only be made available in the ESR at the next major release, after the end of the current release’s cycle.

Install the standard Firefox

If you want to use the regular Firefox release instead of Firefox ESR, here is one simple way to install it in Chromebook.

1. First install Firefox-ESR. This will install the dependency files required by Firefox.

2. Next, remove Firefox-ESR without removing its dependencies:

3. Go to theĀ Mozilla website and download Firefox to your Linux home folder. (Your Linux Home folder is the “Linux files” directory in the Files app.)

Install Firefox Chromebook Download Firefox

4. Extract the tar file to your Home folder with the following command in the Terminal. (Change the Firefox filename in the command below.)

Install Firefox Chromebook Extract Firefox

You should now see a Firefox folder.

5. Lastly, we are going to create a Firefox desktop icon. In the terminal, type the following:

In the editor, paste the following:

Change “USERNAME” to your username in the Linux terminal. Your username is the name in the terminal before “@penguin.” In my case my username is “damienohwj.”

Chromeos Linux Terminal Username

Save (Ctrl + o) and exit (Ctrl + x) the nano editor.

6. You should now see a Firefox icon in the menu drawer. (If not, restart your Chromebook.) Click on it and the Firefox browser will launch. It will also auto-update itself in the future.

Conclusion

While the Chrome browser is the default browser in Chromebook, that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with it. With support for Android and Linux apps, you now have options to install the browser of your choice, including Firefox. If you like Opera or Vivaldi, you can install those as well.

16 comments

  1. Loved the article, but I can’t seem to get the icon to show up (the Firefox icon, I mean. I can get the penguin icon)

    Any tips?

    1. I’m in the same situation. Don’t know if your app opens, but when I click on the penguin icon, it just sits there spinning and never opens.

  2. Hi, I’m not currently in the Chromebook,
    but, reading the article, I noted the two references to “firefox-esr” in the firefox.desktop file;
    I suppose they are bad and maybe the source of problems with the icon, having now installed the firefox normal version.
    So you should probably check them and try to change to the correct name.

  3. Unfortunately none of those work for older Chromebooks which don’t run Linux nor Android apps :-(
    I wish Firefox had a ChromeOS version,.
    Or at least provided a way to sync bookmarks between FireFox and Chrome browsers.
    Or provide a good, browser independent bookmarking solution.

  4. I’ve found that uninstalling Firefox ESR after installing regular Firefox fixes the icon problem and actually shows the icon correctly and not the generic penguin icon.

  5. Running into this problem: sudo nano /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop opens message “sudo: unable to execute /usr/bin/nano: No such file or directory.” Looking in usr/bin shows nano listed. Any help is very appreciated.

      1. Hi, I tried sudo apt install nano and received this message: nano is already the newest version (2.7.4-1). This error confuses me because when I drill down to /usr/bin I see nano listed.

  6. well the icon isn’t correct, how do I fix it from the penguin one?
    and firefox doesnt have the flash plugin, how do i fix this? I literally just got fox BECAUSE they said it worked better with flash than chrome

    1. Stupid question, maybe, but I just got a chromebook and this is all new to me. I’ve gotten as far as step 5 part 1, now wondering where I find the editor that I am supposed to type the bit with my username in.

  7. Also, after the last step, where I had to install nano with the suggestion above in the comments-section, the terminal has changed ever so much, I don’t even know if I’m still in the terminal…

  8. The downside to this is you can’t put the release version of Firefox into fullscreen mode (aka removing the extra Linux app title bar) but you can do that on the ESR version.

  9. Hi ! Thanks for this article. I successfully installed Firefox this way, but now I’d like to uninstall it. How do I do that?

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