Firefox for Android loses one of its most popular extensions as LastPass discontinued their password manager extension on .
The LastPass for Firefox Mobile extension hadn’t been updated in nearly a year, and it stopped working entirely in Firefox 53 (). It’s a shame to see Firefox for Android lose such a great extension as LastPass. Extension support is the number one feature differentiator for Firefox for Android compared to Chromium/WebView based web browsers.
At the end of , Firefox for Android had 0,87 % (up from 0,1 % in ) of the web browser market share on Android worldwide, according to StatCounter. Firefox for Android’s relatively tiny marketshare — despite the great year-over-year growth — combined with less than a stellar development environment probably contributed to LastPass’ decision to deprecate the platform.
LastPass was slow to port their extension for Firefox for desktop from Firefox’s legacy extension platform to the new WebExtensions API. The updated extension wasn’t ready until days before the release of Firefox 57, the last version that supported the legacy extension platform.
The porting delay is interesting as the WebExtension API is very similar to the Chromium Extension API that have been used by Google Chrome and other web browsers for many years already. LastPass already had working extensions for these browsers, so it shouldn’t have been a huge job to port it. As a trusted password manager, there are stricter security and testing requirements for LastPass than most other types of browser extensions. However, looking in from the outside and impatiently expecting an updated LastPass extension for desktop it didn’t appear like LastPass was on top of the situation.
The differences between the new WebExtension API for Firefox for Android and desktop are smaller than the differences were with the legacy platform. Developing extensions for Firefox for Android can more difficult than developing desktop extensions. Developer tools like source maps aren’t available, debugging is more difficult, and test deployment is unnecessarily complex.
Google Chrome and a few other Chromium based web browsers can LastPass through the LastPass app’s Fill Helper on Android 8 or newer. Firefox for Android users can use the LastPass keyboard feature (enable it as a keyboard through System Settings). Notably, the keyboard feature seems to have been abandoned some years ago, so don’t be surprised if that is deprecated and removed also.
Other popular extensions like 1Password can be installed in Firefox for Android, but the 1Password extension isn’t working on Android either. There are other password manager extensions available to Firefox for Android, but I’ve not tested to see if any of them work because none of them have managed to attracted a significant number of users.
Update (): I’ve personally decided to switch from LastPass to Bitwarden on Android and desktop. I’ll post something about Bitwarden at a later time.
The most practical built-in password manager alternative for Firefox for Android is Firefox’s own built-in password manager combined with Firefox Sync. I personally need a more flexible and portable solution than what is offered by the built-in password manager, and will be looking for a replacement password manager. Again.