Mobility

How to add extensions to desktop Chrome from Android Chrome

If you're on the go and find a Chrome extension you need to install on your desktop browser, here's how to make it happen.

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Our busy lives mean we are on the go much of our days. Whether you are supporting a client at a remote location, traveling for business, or stuck in meetings, you spend a lot of time away from your desktop. That doesn't have to mean you can't work efficiently. There are plenty of ways to give yourself a leg up while mobile. One such means of efficiency comes by way of the Chrome browser on Android and allows you to easily install Chrome extensions on your desktop. The process is incredibly simple — it's just slightly obfuscated.

If you open up the Chrome Web Store with Chrome on your Android device, you'll see a notice that the store isn't available to browse or search on your mobile device (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Visiting the Chrome Web Store on a OnePlus 3.

There is no way of tricking the Chrome Web Store into thinking you're visiting with a non-mobile browser. So how do you pull off this trick?

With a direct link.

Someone sends you a link to a Chrome Extension saying "This is a must have extension for what you do!"; or corporate HQ sends out word (for whatever reason) that everyone needs to install a particular extension on Chrome. If you happen to have the direct link for that extension, you're in luck. Tap on the link and allow Chrome (on Android) to open it and you'll see a button clearly labeled Add to Desktop (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Adding the extension to your desktop with a tap.

A popup window will appear, giving you the option to either Cancel or Add to Desktop. Tap the new Add to Desktop button and the extension will be added to your desktop Chrome instance. When you next open your Chrome browser on your desktop (so long as it is logged into the same Google account as is your mobile device), you will be prompted to enable the extension that was added remotely (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Enabling the remotely added Chrome extension on a Chromebook Pixel 2.

Once you've enabled the extension, it'll be ready for use.

One caveat

I did discover that this process does not work on every iteration of Chrome. For instance, Chrome on Linux will not allow the enabling of remote extensions, via this method. You can, however, get around that by enabling Extensions within Settings | Advanced Sync Settings. Make sure that Extensions is checked (Figure D) and the newly added extension will sync to your desktop Chrome on Linux.

Figure D

Figure D

Enabling extension sync through Advance sync settings in Chrome.

Extensions made a bit more efficient

And there you have it, working with extensions on your desktop Chrome browser just became a bit more efficient. Never miss out on the installation of an extension when you're on the go — even when the only version of Chrome you have on you is the mobile version.

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About 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.

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