Look, the whole point of Chrome OS is…Chrome. But if you’re a rebel and a fighter, you can step outside that box and do the unthinkable: Install Firefox on your Chromebook. Here’s how it’s done.
Why You Might Want to Do This
Really, there isn’t a whole lot of practical reasoning behind installing Firefox on a Chromebook. Maybe you just love Firefox, or maybe you just like doing things because you can—you know, for fun. Sure, if you need to check something in Firefox and all you have is a Chromebook, then that can be a good enough reason, but let’s be honest here: you didn’t buy a Chromebook to use Firefox on.
So really, it’s just for the sake of it. It’s a hoot.
The Easy Way: Install Firefox for Android
While this might be considered cheating, if you’re really looking for a quick and dirty Firefox experience, just use the Android app. You can use the stable app, the beta app, and even Firefox Focus if you’re into that.
Just fire up the Play Store on your Chromebook with Android app support, search for Firefox, and install away. It’s that simple.
But like I said, that’s the easy way. And if it’s the full Firefox desktop experience you’re looking for, there is a way.
The Harder Way: Install the Linux App
This is where the fun really starts. If your Chromebook supports Linux apps (currently just the Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook Plus do, but more are in the works), you can natively install the Linux app.
Currently, the easiest way to go about this is to install Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release), since it’s just a command away. Just fire up a terminal and type the following command:
sudo apt install firefox-esr
Give it a few seconds, and Firefox will be ready to go.
Alternatively, if you’re into more security, you can also install Iceweasel directly from the terminal:
sudo apt install iceweasel
And that’s all there is to it.
The Hardest Way: Set Up Crouton
If you simply must have Firefox on your Chromebook, your device doesn’t have Linux support, and the Android app just won’t cut it, you’re left with only one option: use Crouton.
Crouton offers a way to run a Linux distribution alongside Chrome OS—you can even run it in a dedicated browser tab—so you get the best of both worlds. We have a full tutorial on installing and using Crouton to get you started.
Once installed, you can install Firefox in your Crouton installation through the terminal—you can even use the above-listed commands to install Firefox ESR or Iceweasel.