For most people that use browsers with extensions, they have become closely intertwined with their workflow. So much so that using browsers without your favorite extensions can feel odd. This is why extensions compatibility is a sought out feature on mobile browsers. But Chrome developers have not made any efforts to bring extensions to the chrome android ecosystem. As a typical open-source approach, developers have the ability to fork chromium to make their own variations. And extensions compatibility on Android is where some of these Chromium forks are heading.
Kiwi Browser is the first Chromium based android browser to support extension. It is also the easiest way to add extension to your chromium browser. However, as of late, the browser development for Kiwi has been slow, and is based in an older version of Chromium. However, they have been back-porting patches for critical vulnerabilities reported on Chromium browser. So there’s still a chance it’ll back to its former glory.
Using an older version of chromium as base has allowed it to be compatible with older Android versions. Chromium builds above version 81 are not compatible with devices lower than Android 5.0 anymore. It also fakes its user-agent to the latest Chromium build for compatibility reasons.
Samsung Internet Browser
Samsung Internet Browser is also based on chromium and also has some extension capability. The extensions are mostly focused on privacy and ad blocking. Adblocking is often the feature users want the most.
With Samsung Internet, you get limited extensions, which are installed as a different app on your launcher. This can be a little cumbersome to some.
Another new fork working towards extension compatibility is a project named Ungoogled-Chromium Extensions. Based on Ungoogled-Chromium it aims to remove any trace of Google proprietary code from the chromium project. This project is focused on the Android operating system with ability to install extensions.
Installing extension on this browser will require you to complete a few steps. First, you have to enable a chrome flag that allows chrome to inspect download and check if it is an extension file. Then it will prompt the user to install it on their browser. Then you have to open the Chrome extension website as a desktop browser to make the “Add to Chromium” button visible. So in conclusion:
- Download the Ungoogled-Chromium Extensions browser
- Enabled the extension-mime-request-handling flag to Always prompt for install
- Visit the Chrome Extension Store and Turn on the “Desktop site” view
- Tap on the “Add to Chromium” button that appears on the right side.
- Install your favorite extension
With Ungoogled-Chromium browser you are getting the latest chromium builds for your Android. The latest builds are more secure and performant. It is also ungoogled–so no google bits for better privacy. But also it also means no more Chrome sync.