Chrome Desktop Extensions are powerful tools that let you customize your browser experience to your taste. You can add and install custom addons to your browser from Chrome Web Store.
While these have historically only been absent on android, a recent update to the Kiwi Browser brings support for desktop extensions to Android.
What is Kiwi Browser?
Kiwi is an open-source browser for Android devices based on Chromium and the WebKit rendering engine. Since it uses the Chromium source, it has a very familiar look and feel, but it also packs its own features to make it unique and useful.
Right out of the box, Kiwi browser blocks annoying ads by default, blocks pop-ups, and has protection against cryptojackers. It can also block site notifications, as well as block AMP pages for users who prefer to go directly to the site. Mostly, I will refer to it as privacy-focused version of Chrome with various speed improvements.
Since it’s just based on Chromium and not actually Chrome, you won’t enjoy certain services like account syncing between devices, which means you’ll have to manually bring your bookmarks and stuff like that to Kiwi if coming from Chrome.
All that aside, there’s one primary feature that’s relatively new to Kiwi that we’re going to focus on today: desktop extension support. We’re talking about all your favorite extensions from Chrome on the desktop, just on your phone. It’s pretty radical. Let’s see how it work.
Chrome Desktop Extensions on Mobile
Before we go to the business of the day, we should probably talk about why Google hasn’t brought Chrome extensions to Chrome on Android. To be sincere, because the experience basically is not so cool.
Chrome extensions are mostly or should I say entirely? designed with the desktop in mind, so it’s no surprise that many of them don’t offer a lot of benefit on mobile. In fact, only few of the extensions I use in Chrome desktop were worth a flip on mobile.
Your experience will vary from extension to extension. Some may work well, some may only partially function. Some may not work at all. The only way to really know is to test it out.
But you may be able to guess which extensions will work based on your experience with them. For example, the LastPass Chrome extension is great on Chrome desktop, but it doesn’t work at all on mobile. But other, more simplistic extensions, like OneTab, work fine. Like I said, you will need to experiment.
Now, all that said, we still have to commend the developers of Kiwi for doing something extraordinary here by enabling this feature. It works about as well as it possibly can, given the state of Chrome extensions right now. The installation and removal of chrome desktop extensions is very easy. Let see how.
How to Install And Use Chrome Desktop Extensions on Android
First things first, you’ll need to install Kiwi from the Play Store (if you haven’t already).
Once installed, fire it up. There’s no setup process here. You just jump straight into browsing. Feel free to poke around and get comfortable with Kiwi’s specific bells and whistles if you want, but it should feel pretty familiar especially for Chrome users.
If you already know what you want to install, jump over to Chrome Web Store to get started. Since the Web Store doesn’t have a mobile-friendly page, you’ll need to pinch and zoom your way around the page for the best experience. Unless you’re one of those massive-phoned users, in which case you may be able to fly around the Web Store with little-to-no zooming.
Once you’ve targeted an extension, it installs just like on the desktop: tap the “Add to Chrome” button.
Accept the permission, then give it a few seconds. Your extension will be ready to rock n roll.
It’s ready for set up and use, let assume it works correctly, of course.
How to Remove an Extension from Kiwi
If you realize an extension isn’t what you thought it would be (or just want to remove it), tap the menu button in the upper corner and then select “Extensions.”
From there, find the extension you want to remove and then tap the “Remove” button.
A confirmation dialog will appear, so accept that to finish removing the extension. Easy right?
We now have the power of chrome desktop extensions on our mobile device. Please comment your experience as you explore these wonderful features on your mobile device.