How to add a custom search engine to Firefox mobile

You can make searching your favorite sites from the mobile version of Firefox much more efficient by adding custom search engines.

How to add a custom search engine to Firefox mobile You can make searching your favorite sites, from the mobile version of Firefox, much more efficient, by adding custom search engines.

If you've opted to shrug off the trappings of either the Android or iOS default browsers, and adopt Firefox as your de facto standard, you might have found the open source browser a bit more flexible. Because of this, the Firefox browser (for Android or iOS) can serve as an outstanding drop-in replacement for either Chrome or Safari.

And with Firefox, you get a number of handy tricks you can pull off. One such trick is adding custom search engines. This feature allows you to include your favorite, search-enabled, web sites such that you can search them directly from the Firefox address bar. The process of adding and using custom search engines is actually quite easy, once you know how it's done.

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That's where I come in. I'm going to demonstrate how to add a custom search engine to the mobile version of Firefox. I'll demonstrate on the Nightly version of the browser on Android (as the regular version still does not open on Android Q Beta 2). The process, however, is the same on the standard version or the Nightly version of Firefox.

With that said, let's add.

Adding the search engine

The first thing to do is to add the custom search engine. I'll demonstrate by adding the TechRepublic search engine. This process is actually quite simple. Here's how:

  1. Open Firefox on your mobile device.
  2. Go to the TechRepublic site.
  3. Tap on the Search icon to open the search feature.
  4. Long press the search bar and tap Add Search Engine (Figure A).
Figure A

Figure A: Adding the search engine.

  1. Give the search engine a name and tap OK (Figure B).
Figure B

Figure B: Naming the search engine.

That's all there is to adding the search engine.

Using the search engine

Now it's time to use that newly added search engine. This is where it gets a bit less than intuitive. On many browsers (that allow custom search engines), you'd use the search engine by typing the nickname (or name) of the search engine, followed by a space, and then the search string. So if you want to search TechRepublic for articles written by yours truly, you type something like:

techrepublic "jack wallen"

The above query would display the results in the TechRepublic site.

But how do you do this in the mobile version? It's simple. Here's how:

  1. Open the Firefox app on your mobile device.
  2. Type the string you want to search for in the address bar.
  3. At the bottom of the screen, swipe to the right or left until you see the favicon for the TechRepublic site (Figure C).
  4. Tap the TechRepublic favicon.
Figure C

Figure C: Searching for jack wallen on TechRepublic.

Your results will then appear in the Firefox browser. That's all there is to adding a new search engine. It's a simple task that results in a much more efficient search experience (especially for sites you find yourself working with frequently).

Keep adding

Add as many search engines as needed, so to remove a step out of your daily searching needs. If you spend a good amount of time searching on your mobile device, you'll be glad you added these custom search engines to Firefox.

Also see

firefoxhero.jpg
Image: Mozilla

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.