Type Array
Mandatory No
Example
"permissions": [
  "*://developer.mozilla.org/*",
  "webRequest"
]

Use the permissions key to request special powers for your extension. This key is an array of strings, and each string is a request for a permission.

If you request permissions using this key, then the browser may inform the user at install time that the extension is requesting certain privileges, and ask them to confirm that they are happy to grant these privileges. The browser may also allow the user to inspect an extension's privileges after installation.

The key can contain three kinds of permissions:

  • host permissions
  • API permissions
  • the activeTab permission

Host permissions

Host permissions are specified as match patterns, and each pattern identifies a group of URLs for which the extension is requesting extra privileges. For example, a host permission could be "*://developer.mozilla.org/*".

The extra privileges include:

  • XMLHttpRequest and fetch access to those origins without cross-origin restrictions (even for requests made from content scripts)
  • the ability to inject scripts programmatically (using tabs.executeScript) into pages served from those origins
  • the ability to receive events from the webRequest API for these hosts
  • the ability to access cookies for that host using the cookies API, as long as the "cookies" API permission is also included.
  • bypass tracking protection if the host is a full domain without wildcards. Doesn't work with <all_urls>.

In Firefox, from version 56 onwards, extensions automatically get host permissions for their own origin, which is of the form:

moz-extension://60a20a9b-1ad4-af49-9b6c-c64c98c37920/

where 60a20a9b-1ad4-af49-9b6c-c64c98c37920 is the extension's internal ID. The extension can get this URL programmatically by calling extension.getURL():

browser.extension.getURL("");
// moz-extension://60a20a9b-1ad4-af49-9b6c-c64c98c37920/

API permissions

API permissions are specified as keywords, and each keyword names a WebExtension API that the extension would like to use.

The following keywords are currently available:

  • activeTab
  • alarms
  • bookmarks
  • browsingData
  • browserSettings
  • contextMenus
  • contextualIdentities
  • cookies
  • downloads
  • downloads.open
  • find
  • geolocation
  • history
  • identity
  • idle
  • management
  • menus
  • nativeMessaging
  • notifications
  • pkcs11
  • privacy
  • proxy
  • sessions
  • storage
  • tabs
  • theme
  • topSites
  • webNavigation
  • webRequest
  • webRequestBlocking

In most cases the permission just grants access to the API, with the following exceptions:

  •  tabs gives you access to privileged parts of the tabs API: Tab.url, Tab.title, and Tab.faviconUrl. In Firefox, you also need tabs if you want to include url in the queryInfo parameter to  tabs.query(). The rest of the tabs API can be used without requesting any permission.
  • webRequestBlocking enables you to use the "blocking" argument, so you can modify and cancel requests.
  • downloads.open lets you use the downloads.open() API.

activeTab permission

This permission is specified as "activeTab". If an extension has the activeTab permission, then when the user interacts with the extension, the extension is granted extra privileges for the active tab only.

"User interaction" includes:

  • the user clicks the extension's browser action or page action
  • the user selects its context menu item
  • the user activates a keyboard shortcut defined by the extension

The extra privileges are:

  • the ability to inject JavaScript or CSS into the tab programmatically, using browser.tabs.executeScript and browser.tabs.insertCSS
  • access to the privileged parts of the tabs API for the current tab: Tab.url, Tab.title, and Tab.faviconUrl.

The intention of this permission is to enable extensions to fulfill a common use case, without having to give them very powerful permissions. Many extensions want to "do something to the current page when the user asks". For example, consider an extension that wants to run a script in the current page when the user clicks a browser action. If the  activeTab permission did not exist, the extension would need to ask for the host permission <all_urls>. But this gives the extension more power than it needs: it could now execute scripts in any tab, any time it likes, instead of just the active tab and just in response to a user action.

Clipboard access

There are two permissions which enables the extension to interact with the clipboard:

  • clipboardWrite: write to the clipboard using document.execCommand("copy") or document.execCommand("cut")
  • clipboardRead: read from the clipboard using document.execCommand("paste")

See Interact with the clipboard for all the details on this.

Unlimited storage

The unlimitedStorage permission:

  • enables extensions to exceed any quota imposed by the storage.local API
  • in Firefox, enables extensions to create a "persistent" IndexedDB database, without the browser prompting the user for permission at the time the database is created.

Example

 "permissions": ["*://developer.mozilla.org/*"]

Request privileged access to pages under developer.mozilla.org.

  "permissions": ["tabs"]

Request access to the privileged pieces of the tabs API.

  "permissions": ["*://developer.mozilla.org/*", "tabs"]

Request both of the above permissions.

Browser compatibility

ChromeEdgeFirefoxFirefox for AndroidOpera
Basic support Yes Yes4848 Yes
background Yes No No No Yes
unlimitedStorage Yes Yes5656 Yes
geolocation Yes Yes5454 Yes
activeTab Yes No4848 Yes
clipboardRead Yes No5454 Yes
clipboardWrite Yes No5151 Yes

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: JeremyRedhead,