If you have browser extensions you're not using, they can slow down your Mac and sluggish web browsing. Moreover, you can have extensions and plugins you never installed. They just appeared in your browser at some point and you would be lucky if they’re not malware or bloatware. How did it happen? When you browse the web and download stuff from unknown websites, some of them get paid to add extensions to their download items. That’s how you end up with weird add-ons, search bars, ad stripes, trackers, and other useless additions.
Add-ons, extensions, and plugins - what is the difference
While often used interchangeably, these terms are quite different. Let’s make clear what they are first. All of them are pieces of software created to extend the functionality of your browsers. All of them are installed onto a browser and run with it, providing you with additional tools. And all of them don’t come as part of the browser initially because they’re not essential. Now, let’s assess the differences.
Plug-ins or plugins can only change something in the web pages you’re seeing. They cannot install toolbars or provide additional menus in the browser itself.
Extensions are the same as add-ons and they can do all sorts of things, like add stuff into the browser, process and change web pages, etc.
To make it even clearer: an extension can have a plugin inside of it, but not vice versa.
For the most part, extensions (or addons) do a good job of enhancing your browsers or apps in the way you need them to. However, when there’s a too much of them, they are poorly mare or even malicious, you can have troubles.
Why it’s vital to steer clear from extra or unknown add-ons
- They slow down your browsers.
- They slow down your Mac.
- Plugins can alter your browser’s behavior.
- Plugins can alter the way websites look for you.
- Some extensions insert additional advertisement into websites.
- Tracking extensions send info about your web behavior to corporations.
- They can be harmful and contain malicious code (malware).
How to add and remove Chrome extensions manually
- Open Chrome.
- Click a small three-dot burger icon in the top-right corner.
- More tools > Extensions.
- You see a list of Chrome addons you have installed.
- You can disable (turn off) or completely remove any of them. To add new extensions, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Get more extensions.
How to add and remove plugins in Firefox manually
- Open Firefox.
- Click on the burger menu in the top-right corner.
- Choose Add-ons.
- You can see Extensions and Plugins tabs on the left.
- There you can remove or disable them.
- To get new extensions, click on Get Add-ons tab.
- Scroll to the bottom and choose See more add-ons!
You can also upload an add-on from file. To do this:
- Go to Extensions tab.
- Click on the gear icon > Install Add-on From File
How to add and remove Safari extensions manually
- Open Safari.
- Choose Safari > Preferences in the top menu.
- Open Extensions tab.
- You can now manage your extensions.
- To install another one, click on More extensions.
How to remove adware web browser extensions
This is a tricky business. Adware is not as straightforward and simple as the rest of extensions. It's a piece of malicious code that was created with the sole purpose of showing you advertisement and misleading you to harmful websites. So sometimes it does help to just find the odd-named extension on your list in the browser in question and delete it, but not always.
What can you do if the ads keep popping up or redirecting your every move to some website? How to you remove adware web browser extensions for good? You can try Adblock. It's a free plugin that works on all browsers and you can access its settings and set a specific website to be blocked from opening in your browser. So the adware won't be able to redirect you to that place anymore.
Now you know everything there is to know about extensions on Mac and how to deal with them. We hope this guide has been of help.
These might also interest you
- How to Delete Junk Files on Mac
- How to Clean Out System Log Files on Mac OS X
- How to Clear Disk Space on Mac