How to install Chrome desktop extensions on Android.
If you’re a Chrome user on a PC or Mac, you’re probably already using a number of great Chrome extensions to extend its functionality. Unfortunately, Chrome users on Android don’t have that luxury as extensions are only available on the desktop version of Chrome.
However, if you want to install Chrome desktop extensions on Android, there is a way to do it. You will need to change your browser, but using Chrome extensions on Android is possible thanks to the Chromium-based Kiwi browser. Here’s what you need to do to start using Kiwi.
What Is Kiwi Browser and Is It Safe?
Kiwi Browser is an open source alternative to the main Chrome browser. It uses the same core technology based on the Chromium project that powers Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and several other browsers. As for the interface, it is not too different from the standard Chrome interface, but with some additional features.
Kiwi Browser not only allows you to install Chrome extensions on Android, but it also blocks ads and pop-ups, protects against browser cryptojacking, and automatically accepts certain browser warnings (like GDPR acceptance) for a better overall browsing experience.
It also has some extra privacy features with a built-in tracking blocker to stop tracking your online activity. There are also some speed improvements over the standard Chrome browser thanks to the removal of some Google-specific features.
Overall Kiwi is very similar to Chrome, but without the Google tag. It doesn’t support syncing Google accounts, but it’s probably a good thing as it provides more privacy for your data. Kiwi Browser is completely safe to use, and thanks to its extension support, you can further expand its functionality.
How to Install Kiwi Browser on Android
If you want to install Kiwi Browser on Android, the easiest way is to use the Google Play Store.
- To install Kiwi Browser using the Play Store, open the Play Store app on your Android device and search for Kiwi Browser using the search bar. Once you find Kiwi, click the “Install” button to install the application on your device.
- After installing Kiwi, click the “Open” button. Alternatively, find the app in your device’s app drawer and then tap the Kiwi icon to launch it.
The Kiwi browser is regularly updated, but if you wish, you can compile it yourself on your PC using the Kiwi GitHub repository and install the browser manually using the compiled APK file. This code is the same as in the Play Store version of Kiwi browser and should work exactly the same.
Installing or Removing Chrome Extensions in Kiwi Browser
After you have installed Kiwi and opened it for the first time, you will see an initial tab menu. This is similar to the first tab menu in the official Chrome browser on Android, allowing you to customize the listed shortcuts and news.
- To install Chrome extensions in Kiwi, select the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
- From the menu, select the Extensions option.
- The extensions menu will be similar to the Chrome extensions menu. From here, you can manually download the extension files (in crx, zip or user.js format) that you have saved locally on your Android device. However, most users would prefer to add them to the Chrome Web Store. To do this, click on the Google link.
- A Google link will take you to a Google search for Chrome extensions. Select a result in the Chrome Web Store to open the store.
- The Chrome Web Store is designed for desktop users, making it difficult to navigate Android devices (especially smartphones). You can switch to landscape mode on your device first to make navigating the menus easier. Use the search bar to find the extensions you want to install, or click on one of the recommended suggestions.
- When you find the extension you want to install, select the Add to Chrome option for it on the page.
- Kiwi will ask you to confirm that you want to install the extension. To do this, select OK. You may receive a “Download failed” error message – ignore this as the extension must still be installed.
- You can check if an extension is installed by returning to the Extensions menu by selecting the three-dot menu icon> Extensions. The extensions you have to install should activate automatically, but if they didn’t, select the slider icon next to the extension entry so that it turns blue. Or, if you want to disable the extension, tap the slider toggle it to the off position.
- If you want to customize the extension, select the Details option. It will list additional information about the extension, including version, size, required permissions, and more. You can also customize the extension settings by selecting the extension options menu item. Settings for installed extensions can also be accessed as an entry in the Kiwi menu by clicking the three-dot menu icon, although this is not the case for every extension.
- To remove an extension at any time, select the Remove option from the Extensions main menu.
- Kiwi will ask you to confirm if you want to delete it. Click “OK” to confirm.
Finding the Best Chrome Extensions for Android
Kiwi browser supports Chrome extensions, but that doesn’t mean extensions support Kiwi. Most Chrome extensions are designed to be viewed on the desktop. This means that even if you can install some Chrome extensions on Android using Kiwi, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to check if this is the case without first installing it. You will need to test each extension to ensure that it works as expected and does not cause your browser to become unstable or stop working.
However, some Chrome extensions on Android are known to work well. These include Evernote, Bitmoji, uBlock Origin, and Google Hangouts. If any extensions don’t work, remove them by following the steps above and find alternatives.
You may also find that some extensions (like Google Hangouts) have their own independent Android apps available. If any of the apps you are trying to use don’t work, check to see if they have a similar app in the Google Play Store.
Better Web Browsing on Android
Thanks to Kiwi, you are free to use some of your favorite Chrome extensions on Android to enhance your web experience. However, there are alternatives: the Brave browser and the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, offering Android users a great experience (albeit without extension support).
If you are thinking about changing browsers, you might want to consider changing devices. Switching from Android to iPhone is easy enough, although switching from iPhone to Android is a little more difficult. Whatever device or browser you use, be sure to check your online privacy settings to protect your data from strangers.
How to install Chrome desktop extensions on Android
How to install Chrome desktop extensions on Android