Firefox Web Browser has had an Android port since Firefox 4.0. Until recently, the predominant opinion among Android users claimed that Firefox was always one step behind Google’s Chrome Browser on Android, in terms of both speed and features. However, during the years Firefox for Android has grown into a fully capable Web Browser and, with version 57.0 which was released a couple of weeks ago, it gives Chrome a run for its money.
What many users aren’t aware of, is that Firefox for Android has support for Add-Ons, just like its desktop equivalent. Many of the already available desktop Add-Ons have ports on the Android version of Firefox too. Today, we will discuss probably the most downloaded type of Add-Ons for Firefox: Ad-Blockers.
While there are plenty of Ad-Blockers available for Firefox on Android, three are the most notable among them:
AdBlock Plus is a popular choice for Ad-blockers. It is Open Source software (GPL v3) and has been ported to Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Opera, and Safari. There is even an Android App available, which however is not as effective as browser versions of the tool. In 2011, AdBlock Plus attracted great controversy from its users, after enabling a feature known as ‘Acceptable Ads’, which would allow certain Ads that were considered non-intrusive to show their content. This feature can be disabled through the extension’s settings though.
AdBlock is the most downloaded extension of Google Chrome. It was created the same day that support for extensions was added on Chrome. AdBlock’s developer was inspired by AdBlock Plus for Firefox and, generally, AdBlock provides the same features as AdBlock Plus. In 2015, the project was sold to an anonymous buyer and AdBlock began participating in Acceptable Ads program. For some time now, it has been available on Firefox too, both on desktop and Android. Like AdBlock Plus, AdBlock is Open Source software and is licensed under GPLv3. While it enjoys a huge user base on Chrome, it still falls behind AdBlock Plus on Firefox platform.
This is probably the most powerful of all Ad-Blocker Add-ons for Firefox. In fact, it is not just an Ad-Blocker, but a content-blocker: It is capable of blocking Ads, Malware Websites, and Trackers. Its filter lists include those of Adblock Plus, as well as EasyList and EasyPrivacy, Peter Lowe’s ad/tracking/malware servers and Origin’s own filter lists. uBlock Origin is also the most resource-friendly Ad-blocker Add-on. Some performance comparisons are available on the project’s Github Repository.
How to Install and Enable Add-Ons in Firefox for Android
Installing Add-Ons on Firefox for Android is quite easy. The full process can be carried out inside the browser. All you need to do is enter the following in the URL bar of Firefox:
You will be introduced to something like this:
By clicking “Browse all Firefox Add-ons”, Firefox will navigate you to the official Firefox Add-ons Site. There, you can use the search bar to find the required plugin. To install an Add-on, you need to click “Add to Firefox”, just like on desktop versions of the browser. Firefox will download the Add-On and display a dialog box notifying about the package’s required permissions:
Using the about:addons page, you can configure an Add-On’s Options:
Through the about:addons page, you can also disable or uninstall Add-Ons.
By using an Ad-Blocker Add-On on your browser, you can effectively remove Advertisements from most websites. This, however, will not disable Ads displayed inside Android Apps. You will need an Ad-Blocker App for that purpose. Keep in mind that Ad-blocking browser Add-Ons operate in a different way than Ad-blocking Apps. The latter requires redirecting network activity through a Virtual Private Network to filter out Ads. In contrast, browser Add-Ons operate by checking a website’s scripts against a database of known advertising scripts.
If you are only interested in blocking Ads in your browser and you use Firefox, an Add-On will get the job done with lower resources usage. If you need a full Ad-Blocking solution, you should use an Ad-Blocking App instead.
Are you using any other interesting Firefox Add-On on Android? Let us know in the comments section below.