Android: my 5 essential Firefox extensions (and why I use them) – ZDNET

Firefox is a great choice for your default Android browser. It is more secure than Chrome. And it offers a number of functions. One of them is the principle of extension. Firefox is actually one of the few mobile browsers that includes extensions, and for anyone used to them, it’s a real breath of fresh air.

Extensions improve browser functionality and improve security, efficiency and ease of use.

That’s why I wanted to share with you the extensions that I think are essential for anyone using Firefox on Android.

Install the extension

Before we get started, I wanted to mention how to install the extension. It’s quite simple.

  • Press the menu button (at the top-right corner of the Firefox window) and click Extensions.
  • In the Extensions Manager, find the extensions you want.
  • Then press the appropriate + button to install what you need
  • Confirm the installation by pressing the Add button (when prompted)

Each of these extensions is available and free to use. And that’s it for installing the extension on mobile Firefox. And here is the list.

1. ClearURLs

ClearURLs remove tracking elements from URLs. This is one of the first extensions I recommend because it helps protect your privacy while browsing the internet.

Part of the ClearURLs configuration page.

Tap the gear icon to open more settings. Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ClearURLs also makes it easy to share URLs with others without having to remove tracking elements from the address.

The extension can also:

  • Enable normal and private browsing
  • Enable domain blocking
  • Skip cleaning on local hosts
  • Prevent embedding of tracking via the History API
  • Show the item in the context menu
  • Block auditing of hyperlinks
  • Filter request headers and tags
  • You can also enable badges and stats and even see how many items have been blocked

2. NoScript Security Suite

NoScript Security Suite is one of the best security extensions for Firefox mobile. This extension protects against:

  • Cross-site scripting attacks
  • Interzone DNS twists and turns
  • CSRF attacks and ClickJacking attempts.

NoScript Security Suite settings page.NoScript Security Suite settings page.

Here you can add NoScript specific pages. Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

NoScript Security Suite can be run in normal or private mode and has per-site permission settings, appearance and advanced settings such as sanitizing suspicious cross-site requests and cross-tab identity leak protection.

You can even add individual sites to NoScript Security Suite and adjust their permissions. You can also allow certain websites to run JavaScript, Flash, and other types of executable content.

3. Dark Reader

If you’re a fan of dark mode, you’ll want this extension. Dark Reader works on most websites – although Android’s dark mode doesn’t – it inverts bright colors on websites.

If you’re in the habit of reaching for your smartphone in the middle of the night, you’ve probably come across sites that don’t behave properly with Android’s dark mode. This extension solves this problem.

Configuring Dark Reader for ZDNET.Configuring Dark Reader for ZDNET.

You can configure Dark Reader for each site. Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In terms of settings, you can customize Dark Reader per site or globally. To access the Dark Reader settings, tap the menu button in the upper right corner > Extensions > Dark Reader. On this page, you can customize the extension according to your needs.

4. Fix background video playback

Do you find yourself opening a video stream and listening to its audio while doing something else on your smartphone? Without fixing the background video playback, the playback stops when you try to do something else.

With this extension, you can listen to background audio while doing something else in another window. The video continues to play and you’ll always hear the sound, no matter what you’re doing on your smartphone.

As an added bonus, background playback on YouTube is a paid feature. But it’s free here. As with Dark Reader, there isn’t much to edit (except for permissions and enabling extensions in private browsing).

5. Spiritual

Nobody likes things that slow down a website’s performance, like ads and tracking cookies. With Ghostery, these elements are blocked. Ghostery also automatically removes annoying pop-ups and does not consent to online tracking.

Tracking attempts are blocked by Ghostery.Tracking attempts are blocked by Ghostery.

Ghostery automatically blocks a large number of tracking attempts. Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

With this extension, you can easily manage ad blocking, anti-tracking and cookie deletion with a single tap. You don’t have to worry about setting up Ghostery because it just works.

There are no settings to manage (apart from enabling private mode and the usual permissions), so there’s no learning curve. Add the extension to Firefox and it will work in the background to protect you.

Here it is done. These five extensions make your Firefox mobile browser safer, more private, and easier to use. Consider these extensions a must-have for every instance of Firefox for Android you use.

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