Chromebooks run Chrome OS, an operating system built around Google Chrome. But what if you want to use another browser like Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge? The answer to that question is not as simple as you might think.
Naturally, you’d assume a Chromebook—which runs Chrome OS—can only use the Chrome browser. After all, many people consider Chrome OS to be just a glorified browser anyway.
For a long time, this was true. Chrome was the only browser you could use. However, things have changed in recent years—if you’re creative. There are two methods you can use to install a third-party browser on a Chromebook.
Install Linux Browsers on a Chromebook
If you’re looking for a full-blown desktop-class browser to replace Chrome on a Chromebook, you’re going to need to use Linux. This will allow you to install pretty much any browser that works on Linux. That includes Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
Of course, you’ll need a Chromebook that supports Linux apps for this to work. If your device does support it, you’ll see “Linux” in the Chromebook settings. We have a full walkthrough for enabling Linux apps on a Chromebook.
Once you’re done with that, you can install apps through the command line or from developer websites. Check out our guides on installing Firefox and Edge on Chrome OS. It’s surprisingly simple to do this if your Chromebook supports it.
Run Android Browsers on Chrome OS
The second method won’t get you a desktop-class browser, but it’s an option if you don’t feel like messing with Linux. Chromebooks include access to the Google Play Store. And what can you find in the Play Store? Browsers.
Since the Play Store is built for Android apps, these browsers are mostly intended for phones. However, some include tablet support that makes them look nicer on laptops and other computers.
The other thing to note is not all developers make their Android browsers available on Chrome OS. For example, the Android version of Microsoft Edge is not available on Chromebooks, but you can find several versions of Firefox.
The installation process for browsers from the Play Store is the same as any other app or game on Chrome OS. It’s a much simpler solution than Linux, but you are hampered by the limitations of a mobile browser.
Yes, You Can Install Other Browsers
So, back to the original question—can you use other browsers on a Chromebook? The answer is yes! There are, in fact, several different ways to do it.
If you find yourself using a Chromebook for some reason and you don’t like Chrome, there are options. It just depends on how much of a browser you need.