How to remove Chrome extensions
Chrome browser extensions can add extra security or other tools to the out-of-the-box functionality of the browser. They’re useful and easy-to-install. Sometimes too easy. In reality, people often install Google Chrome extensions then forget about them. The extension quickly becomes a useless piece of software taking up space on your device. And opening a potential security risk.
You should periodically review the extensions you’ve installed on Chrome, and uninstall the ones you’re no longer using. This will both improve your device performance and help safeguard your data. In this short article, we’ll show you how to uninstall extensions, find ones that might be hidden on your device, and cover some basic best practices.
How to uninstall an extension on Chrome
To remove (or uninstall) Chrome extensions, follow the steps below:
- Open Chrome, and click / tap the menu button “…”
- Click / tap More Tools.
- Click / tap Extensions.
- You’ll see a page of all your downloaded extensions. From here, you can remove or disable the extension, or read more details about it.
- If you’ve decided to remove or disable extensions, be sure to restart Chrome to ensure your changes take effect.
How to remove “hidden” Chrome extensions
While removing extensions from Chrome is helpful, you may also need to take extra steps to ensure they’re completely removed from your computer hard drive. Here’s how:
Remove hidden extensions on Windows
- Navigate to the Chrome install location. Most likely it’s in this directory: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\UserData\Default
- Open the extensions folder to see which extensions remain in their folders.
- Delete the folder for any extensions you want to remove.
- Once done, open Chrome and check the extensions list in your preferences. You should no longer see the extensions you permanently removed.
How to remove hidden extensions on macOS
- Navigate extensions install location. Most likely it’s in this directory: ~/Library/ApplicationSupport/Google/Chrome/Default/Extensions
- If there are multiple Google accounts within your Mac user account, they’ll look like this: /Library/ApplicationSupport/Google/Chrome/[Google user ID]/Extensions. (Note that [Google user ID] is your Google account username in the above directory.)
- Once you find the list of extensions, you’ll notice they’re listed as lengthy, 32-character identifiers.
- Now, go back and open your Chrome browser, and visit chrome://extensions/.
- On the extensions page, toggle Developer mode to the On position so you can find the corresponding identifiers for each extension.
- Now, go back to the folder on your hard drive and delete the extensions based on these 32-character identifiers you’ve found.
Best practices when using extensions
In most cases, removing an extension can help improve your device performance and reduce security threats. But there are also some preventative steps you can take to avoid having to remove extensions later.
Research before you install
Before you install extensions, you should do a little research about them. Even if the extension comes from an “approved” source like the Chrome Web Store. Reading reviews and ratings, seeing how often an extension has been downloaded, and researching the maker of that extension are all best practices.
Keep extensions up to date
In addition to researching extensions before you install, it’s essential to remember that extensions—just like any other software—require maintenance updates. In some cases, extensions are sold to a third party after reaching the Chrome Web store, meaning the original developers stop rolling out security patches. In others, a patch or update might have failed to auto-update. Visit the Chrome Web Store often to ensure you’re using the latest version of an extension.
Keep your browser light
Again, extensions are just little pieces of software. As with any other software, the more you have on your device (or in your browser) the more likely you are to see slowdowns or other performance issues. Removing unused extensions can improve your browser speed and computer processor (especially if the extension is constantly running in the background).
How Brave makes extensions simple
Although many reputable, helpful, and secure extensions are available, they still function as third-party add-ons to your browser and your device. This means they all have inherent security risks. In addition to the security hygiene steps detailed in this article, there’s another way to maximize your browser performance, keep your favorite extensions, and protect your privacy and security: Download the Brave browser.
Brave is built on the open-source Chromium codebase, meaning it looks and performs very much like Chrome. Extensions from the Chrome Web Store will also work on Brave. But Brave issues alerts during the download process to protect you from malicious apps.
But most important of all, Brave automatically blocks third-party ads & trackers, fingerprinting and phishing attempts, and tons of other creepy things. With Brave, these protections are built-in, meaning you don’t need as many third-party extensions in the first place. Brave optimizes speed, privacy, security, performance, and battery life. And it does so out-of-the-box.
Ready to Brave the new internet?
Brave is built by a team of privacy focused, performance oriented pioneers of the web. Help us fix browsing together.Download Brave