This module provides information about your extension and the environment it's running in.

It also provides messaging APIs enabling you to:

  • Communicate between different parts of your extension.
  • Communicate with other extensions.
  • Communicate with native applications.

Types

runtime.Port
Represents one end of a connection between two specific contexts, which can be used to exchange messages.
runtime.MessageSender

Contains information about the sender of a message or connection request.

runtime.PlatformOs
Identifies the browser's operating system.
runtime.PlatformArch
Identifies the browser's processor architecture.
runtime.PlatformInfo
Contains information about the platform the browser is running on.
runtime.RequestUpdateCheckStatus
Result of a call to runtime.requestUpdateCheck().
runtime.OnInstalledReason
The reason that the runtime.onInstalled event is being dispatched.
runtime.OnRestartRequiredReason
The reason that the runtime.onRestartRequired event is being dispatched.

Properties

runtime.lastError
This value is set when an asynchronous function has an error condition that it needs to report to its caller.
runtime.id
The ID of the extension.

Functions

runtime.getBackgroundPage()
Retrieves the Window object for the background page running inside the current extension.
runtime.openOptionsPage()

Opens your extension's options page.

runtime.getManifest()
Gets the complete manifest.json file, serialized as an object.
runtime.getURL()
Given a relative path from the manifest.json to a resource packaged with the extension, returns a fully-qualified URL.
runtime.setUninstallURL()
Sets a URL to be visited when the extension is uninstalled.
runtime.reload()
Reloads the extension.
runtime.requestUpdateCheck()
Checks for updates to this extension.
runtime.connect()
Establishes a connection from a content script to the main extension process, or from one extension to a different extension.
runtime.connectNative()
Connects the extension to a native application on the user's computer.
runtime.sendMessage()
Sends a single message to event listeners within your extension or a different extension. Similar to runtime.connect but only sends a single message, with an optional response.
runtime.sendNativeMessage()
Sends a single message from an extension to a native application.
runtime.getPlatformInfo()
Returns information about the current platform.
runtime.getBrowserInfo()
Returns information about the browser in which this extension is installed.
runtime.getPackageDirectoryEntry()
Returns a DirectoryEntry for the package directory.

Events

runtime.onStartup
Fired when a profile that has this extension installed first starts up. This event is not fired when an incognito profile is started.
runtime.onInstalled
Fired when the extension is first installed, when the extension is updated to a new version, and when the browser is updated to a new version.
runtime.onSuspend
Sent to the event page just before the extension is unloaded. This gives the extension an opportunity to do some cleanup.
runtime.onSuspendCanceled
Sent after runtime.onSuspend to indicate that the extension won't be unloaded after all.
runtime.onUpdateAvailable
Fired when an update is available, but isn't installed immediately because the extension is currently running.
runtime.onBrowserUpdateAvailable
Fired when an update for the browser is available, but isn't installed immediately because a browser restart is required.
runtime.onConnect
Fired when a connection is made with either an extension process or a content script.
runtime.onConnectExternal
Fired when a connection is made with another extension.
runtime.onMessage
Fired when a message is sent from either an extension process or a content script.
runtime.onMessageExternal
Fired when a message is sent from another extension. Cannot be used in a content script.
runtime.onRestartRequired
Fired when the device needs to be restarted.

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxOperaFirefox for Android
MessageSenderChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45
Notes
Full support 45
Notes
Notes Before version 54, 'id' was the add-on's internal UUID, not the add-on ID.
Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
Notes
Full support 48
Notes
Notes Before version 54, 'id' was the add-on's internal UUID, not the add-on ID.
OnInstalledReasonChrome Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes Uses 'chrome_update' instead of 'browser_update'.
Edge Full support 14
Notes
Full support 14
Notes
Notes Only supports 'install' and 'update'.
Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes Uses 'chrome_update' instead of 'browser_update'.
Firefox Android Full support 48
OnRestartRequiredReasonChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 48
PlatformArchChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 48
PlatformInfoChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 48
PlatformNaclArchChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 48
PlatformOsChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 48
PortChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
RequestUpdateCheckStatusChrome Full support YesEdge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support YesFirefox Android No support No
connectChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
connectNativeChrome Full support 29Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 50Opera Full support 16Firefox Android No support No
getBackgroundPageChrome Full support 22Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45
Notes
Full support 45
Notes
Notes If this is called from a page that is part of a private browsing window, such as a sidebar in a private window or a popup opened from a private window, then it will always return null.
Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
Notes
Full support 48
Notes
Notes If this is called from a page that is part of a private browsing window, such as a sidebar in a private window or a popup opened from a private window, then it will always return null.
getBrowserInfoChrome No support NoEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 51Opera No support NoFirefox Android Full support 51
getManifestChrome Full support 22Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
getPackageDirectoryEntryChrome Full support 29Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 16Firefox Android No support No
getPlatformInfoChrome Full support 29Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 45Opera Full support 16Firefox Android Full support 48
getURLChrome Full support 22Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
idChrome Full support 22Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
lastErrorChrome Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes lastError is not an Error object. Instead, it is a plain Object with the error text as the string value of the 'message' property.
Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 47Opera Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes lastError is not an Error object. Instead, it is a plain Object with the error text as the string value of the 'message' property.
Firefox Android Full support 48
onBrowserUpdateAvailable
DeprecatedNon-standard
Chrome Full support 27Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 15Firefox Android No support No
onConnectChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
onConnectExternalChrome Full support 26Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 54Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 54
onInstalledChrome Full support 22Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 52
Notes
Full support 52
Notes
Notes Before version 55, this event is not triggered for temporarily installed add-ons.
Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 52
Notes
Full support 52
Notes
Notes Before version 55, this event is not triggered for temporarily installed add-ons.
onMessageChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 14Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
onMessageExternalChrome Full support 26Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 54Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 54
onRestartRequiredChrome Full support 29Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 16Firefox Android No support No
onStartupChrome Full support 23Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 52Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 52
onSuspendChrome Full support 22Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 15Firefox Android No support No
onSuspendCanceledChrome Full support 22Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 15Firefox Android No support No
onUpdateAvailableChrome Full support 25Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 51Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 51
openOptionsPageChrome Full support 42Edge No support NoFirefox Full support 48Opera Full support 29Firefox Android Full support 57
reloadChrome Full support 25Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 51Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 51
requestUpdateCheckChrome Full support 25Edge No support NoFirefox No support NoOpera Full support 15Firefox Android No support No
sendMessageChrome Full support 26Edge Full support 14
Notes
Full support 14
Notes
Notes `runtime.onMessage` listeners in extension views receive the messages they sent.
Firefox Full support 45Opera Full support 15Firefox Android Full support 48
sendNativeMessageChrome Full support 29Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 50Opera Full support 16Firefox Android No support No
setUninstallURLChrome Full support 41Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 47Opera Full support 28Firefox Android Full support 48

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
Deprecated. Not for use in new websites.
Deprecated. Not for use in new websites.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.

Acknowledgements

This API is based on Chromium's chrome.runtime API. This documentation is derived from runtime.json in the Chromium code.

Microsoft Edge compatibility data is supplied by Microsoft Corporation and is included here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: wbamberg,