Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Tim Wells
Firefox users have had to sideload a mobile version of their favorite browser on their Android TVs for years.
Sure, it worked, but it was clunky trying to browse the web on a streaming device. The Android version was designed for a touchscreen, not a remote control. You really needed an air mouse to make it workable.
In late-2018, Mozilla released a version of Firefox specifically for the Amazon Fire TV.
Let’s be honest. It wasn’t great.
But it got a lot better since then.
Firefox TV is an excellent solution for Android TV users who want an alternative to Puffin TV or Google Chrome.
Unfortunately, most people still don’t know it’s an option.
It flies under the radar since it’s unavailable through the Google Play Store. But in this article, I will take you through two ways to sideload Firefox on your Android TV & NVIDIA Shield.
I’ll also review some cool new features and explain why this web browser is worth a look.
Firefox vs. Firefox for Android TV
Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 is a version of the Firefox web browser designed for Android TV operating system devices, such as Amazon Fire TV and Nvidia Shield.
It was released on April 9, 2021, allowing users to watch videos from popular sites, search the web, and control the playback with their remote or app.
However, it is no longer officially supported by Mozilla. Unfortunately, there will not be any updates after version 4.8.
Users who want to install Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 can download the APK file from third-party sources like APKCombo or APKMirror. However, they should be aware of the potential security and compatibility risks.
Some of the differences between Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 and the desktop Firefox browser are:
- Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 has a simplified user interface that follows the design guidelines set by Google for Android TV apps. It has a home screen with quick access to popular video sites and some of the web’s best content and ideas. A menu button also opens a sidebar with options to access bookmarks, history, settings, and add-ons.
- Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 does not support all the WebExtensions APIs that the desktop Firefox browser does. Some APIs are unavailable due to the nature of the Android environment and the features that Firefox can implement. In contrast, others are not yet implemented on Firefox for Android. For example, Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 does not support the tabs, windows, or sidebarAction APIs.
- Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 has some features that are specific to the Android TV platform, such as:
- The ability to enable the desktop mode for better compatibility with some websites that do not recognize the Android TV user agent.
- The ability to use the Turbo mode for faster loading of web pages by reducing data usage and blocking some trackers and ads.
- The ability to change the user agent to access different versions of websites, such as YouTube or Netflix1.
Some of the security and compatibility risks of installing Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 are:
- Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 is no longer supported by Mozilla. It may not receive security updates or bug fixes that could protect users from malicious websites or hackers.
- Since Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 is not available on the Google Play Store, users have to download it from third-party sources that may not be trustworthy or verified.
- Since Firefox (Android TV) 4.8 is not optimized for all Android TV devices, users may encounter compatibility or performance issues that could affect their browsing experience or cause crashes or errors.
How to Install FireFox on Android TV [NVIDIA Shield]
Before we get to the installation, you’ll need to decide which version of Firefox you want to install. Both the regular desktop application and the older Firefox 4.8 for Android TV will work.
At the time I’m writing this, the older Firefox 4.8 for Android TV is no longer available on the Aptoide TV app store.
I prefer installing APK files from Aptoide TV because it typically creates a Leanback shortcut. Sideloading an APK file through most other methods requires manually creating a shortcut or using a sideload launcher.
Alternatively, you can find both versions of Firefox on APKMirror. APKMirror is harder no navigate, especially on your Android TV device, but they have a bigger selection of apps available.
I wrote a step-by-step article to walk you through creating a Leanback shortcut that you can add to your Android TV home screen. Check out that article if you decide to install Firefox from APKMirror.
Install FireFox TV on NVIDIA Shield from Aptoide TV
Installing Firefox TV through the Aptoide TV app store is super easy.
Just be sure you’re downloading the version you want!
Open Aptoide TV and search for Firefox.
As you can see, there are several versions of Firefox available.
The one we want is Firefox: Fast & Private Browser. Click on it to go to its app page.
Once you have the correct version, click Install to continue.
Once it’s finished downloading, Aptoide TV will start the installation process automatically.
Since Firefox TV doesn’t require special permissions, click the Install button to continue.
Once the installation process finishes, it’ll automatically create a shortcut in the App tab of your Android TV.
Install & Update FireFox TV using APKMirror
Aptoide TV may be the easiest way to sideload apps on an Android TV, but if I’m looking for a specific version, my first stop is APKMirror.
You can get to APKMirror two ways: either directly through apkmirror.com or through their official app. I will show you how to install it from their app in this example.
To start, open the Downloader app and search for ‘apkmirror.com.’
Next, search for Firefox TV.
If you just search for Firefox, it will also return all of the pure Android versions. Searching for Firefox TV will make things a lot easier.
As you can see here, they’ve got version 4.8 of Firefox TV, which is the final version that Mozilla developed.
Click on it to go to the app page.
Scroll down until you see a button that says See Available Downloads.
Click on it to continue.
Unless you’re looking for a specific version, click on the latest version to go to the APK detail page.
Scroll down until you see the Download APK button, and click on it.
Since the APK for Firefox TV is so small, it should only take a few seconds to download.
Once it’s finished, Downloader will immediately start the installation process.
Click Install to continue.
Once complete, you can open Firefox directly or through a Sideload launcher.
Using FireFox TV
What I like most about Firefox TV is its simplicity. Like Puffin TV, this browser keeps things very simple for TV users.
The top row is a simple set of icons for Navigate Back and Forward, Reload the current page, Pin (bookmark) the current webpage, and turning Turbo Mode off and on.
Underneath are several rows of pinned tiles you can customize to fit your browsing habits.
For example, if you don’t want to see Rotten Tomatoes (for reasons which should be obvious), all you need to do is long-press on the icon. A pop-up menu will appear asking if you want to remove it from Pinned sites.
Turbo Mode is a really cool feature that blocks third-party trackers so you can browse without being tracked. It also speeds up the web pages slightly, which is nice.
Finally, you can sign in to your Mozilla account and share tabs between your desktop and your Television.
Wrapping It Up
Firefox TV is easily one of the best web browsers for Android TV. It’s a fast, streamlined app that’s super-easy to use.
With Puffin TV adopting a paid subscription model, this is an alternative that you should definitely check out.
For more great articles like this, visit my NVIDIA Shield TV resource page. You’ll find all of my tips, tricks, reviews, and tutorials to help you get the most out of your NVIDIA Shield.
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