Can You Install Firefox on Chromebook?

Yes, but it's hard. Here are three ways to do it

What to Know

  • There's no official Firefox app for Chromebooks, but you can install the Android version from the Play Store.
  • You can install Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) on models that support Linux.
  • If your Chromebook doesn't support Linux, you can install it using Crouton.

This article covers three ways to get Firefox on a Chromebook, though you'll have to make some a compromises.

Method 1: Install the Play Store App

Most Chromebooks these days come with built-in Android app support. That means you can install Android apps from the Google Play store and Firefox has an app that will probably work on your Chromebook. 

  1. Open the Google Play Store.

  2. Search for Firefox.

  3. Tap Install.

    Searching and installing Firefox on a Chromebook.

That's it! But there is a compromise here. The Firefox that will install is the mobile version that is generally intended for Android phones. Key differences include the address bar on the bottom of the screen and websites with mobile sites will deliver those sites instead of the desktop sites.

You can request the desktop version of a website by tapping the hamburger button (three dots) in the bottom right corner and toggling Desktop site in the menu.

Method 2: Install Firefox ESR

If you prefer to have a desktop version of Firefox, you may be able to install the ESR (Extended Support Release) version. To do that, your Chromebook needs to have Linux support. You can check for that in Settings.

  1. Tap the Time in the bottom right corner of the Chromebook, then tap Settings.

    The Settings button on a Chromebook.
  2. Search for "Linux". You should find a result called "Linux (beta)." If you do not, that means Linux is not supported on your Chromebook. If you do, and you want to go ahead with the installation, click Turn On.

    Turning on and installing Linux setting on a Chromebook.
  3. Enter a username and choose Disk size. Click Install.

    The installation screen of Linux on a Chromebook.
  4. When the installation is done, a terminal window should open. Type sudo apt install firefox-esr then press Enter.

  5. Type Y then press Enter. After a while, you'll see some text on the screen and it'll return you to the command line.

  6. Type Exit and press Enter to close the terminal window.

If you run into trouble during the installation, try a reboot, then run the Linux app again and repeat the command.

What Is FireFox ESR?

Firefox ESR is the extended support release of Firefox that Mozilla develops for larger businesses and corporations. The development cycle for Firefox ESR is slower than the consumer product. That means this is an older version of the browser. Features coming to the latest version of Firefox will take a much longer time to come to this version, but it is a full desktop-class browser.

Method 3: Install Linux on your Chromebook Using Crouton

If your Chromebook does not support Linux, but you absolutely must have Firefox installed on your Chromebook, you can use an app called Crouton which then allows you to install Linux on your Chromebook. This is quite a bit more complicated. Once you've installed Crouton, you can use the same command listed above to install Firefox ESR.

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