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Can You Add Extensions to Chrome On iPhone? (Alternatives?)

As an owner of an iPhone, I was frustrated with my inability to install Chrome extensions directly on my device. After some research and testing, I’m here to share what I learned about adding extensions to Chrome on an iPhone, as well as some alternative solutions. I hope this blog post helps you find the best solution for your needs.

However, on iPhones and iOS devices in general, extensions cannot be installed into the Chrome app. This is due to Apple’s Developer Agreements, which restrict any additional codes from functioning, if they weren’t originally part of the app.

Currently, it just isn’t possible to do it directly from the Chrome app. However, there are methods to get around this problem. So yes, you can add extensions to Chrome on iPhone, though each of these workarounds has limitations.   

How to Use Chrome Remote Desktop App

The first method to do this is to install Chrome Remote Desktop. The Chrome Remote Desktop app is available for free from the App Store. Its primary purpose is that it lets you remotely access your computer from your iPhone, or any other iOS device for that matter.

When you have the app installed, you’ll be able to use all of the extensions that are installed on your personal computer’s Chrome on iPhone as well. To do this, you have to establish remote access between your computer and your iPhone.

Connecting Remote Access

To accomplish that, take the following steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome on your computer
  2. Enter remotedesktop.google.com/access in the address bar on top of the screen
  3. Click Download under Set Up Remote Access
  4. Once you get there, follow the instructions given to set your computer up for remote access
  5. Go to your iPhone and open the Chrome Remote Desktop app
  6. With your Google account, sign into the app
  7. Tap on the computer that you want to connect to

This is merely a stopgap solution that requires you to use two devices. You can’t directly use the Chrome app to download the extensions you need. However, at the very least, it lets you use the majority of extensions out there rather than none at all. 

The other option is to add extensions to Chrome via Safari instead. This is by far the easier choice, though it has more limitations.

How to Use Chrome Extensions Through Safari?

The Safari app, which is the go-to browser for every iOS device, uses almost the same web engine as Google Chrome. This way, you’ll be able to use at least some Chrome extensions on Apple devices through Safari.

Using this Safari feature, however, requires your device’s software to be updated to at least iOS 15. Check your iPhone settings to see if it has the appropriate or a more advanced software update.

Once you have made certain that the software on your iPhone is up to date for Safari extensions, you may start with the steps. Keep in mind that subsequent software updates after iOS 15 may slightly change how the process operates.

As of iOS15, the steps are as follows:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone
  2. Type out Safari Extensions in the search bar. 
  3. There will be numerous options that pop up. Scroll and choose which one you want to use.
  4. When you have found an extension that you like, tap Get, and then tap again to Install.
  5. Once it’s done installing, open the Google Chrome app
  6. Open any webpage
  7. On the right side of the URL bar, tap the share icon
  8. A menu will pop up, showing the extension that you have just installed as you scroll to the side
  9. Tap on the extension and it will begin working

Most extensions that work in Safari also work in Chrome, though with a few exceptions. Ad-blockers and any script codes are unavailable for use, but that still leaves many other options.

As mentioned earlier, subsequent software updates may change the process in one way or another. In the latest iOS 16, step eight will have you scroll downwards to find the installed extension in the pop-up menu instead of horizontally. 

Summary

Read more: Can someone watch me through my iPhone camera?

When it comes to installing Chrome extensions on an iPhone, the options available to you are limited. This is due to the current strictness of Apple’s software, which aims to limit the risks of malware attacks. However, you can still get at least some extensions to work in your Chrome app with the use of these two workarounds.

You can use the Chrome Remote Desktop app to use whatever extensions you have on your computer. Through this method, you can use all of your extensions in your iPhone’s Google Chrome app.

You can also use the iOS 15 feature that allows Safari to use extensions. Most extensions for Safari also work in Chrome, but not all. Nevertheless, there are still thousands of extensions that you can use with either method. It’s simply a matter of choosing which one suits your needs the most.

Read more: Can you improve iPhone battery health?