Chrome incompatibilities

The WebExtension APIs aim to provide compatibility across all the main browsers, so extensions should run on any browser with minimal changes.

However, there are significant differences between Chrome (and Chromium-based browsers), Firefox, and Safari. In particular:

  • Support for WebExtension APIs differs across browsers. See Browser support for JavaScript APIs for details.
  • Support for manifest.json keys differs across browsers. See the "Browser compatibility" section on the manifest.json page for more details.
  • Extension API namespace:
    • In Firefox and Safari: Extension APIs are accessed under the browser namespace. The chrome namespace is also supported for compatibility with Chrome.
    • In Chrome: Extension APIs are accessed under the chrome namespace. (cf. Chrome bug 798169)
  • Asynchronous APIs:
    • In Firefox and Safari: Asynchronous APIs are implemented using promises.
    • In Chrome: In Manifest V2, asynchronous APIs are implemented using callbacks. In Manifest V3, support is provided for promises on most appropriate methods. (cf. Chrome bug 328932) Callbacks are supported in Manifest V3 for backward compatibility.

The rest of this page details these and other incompatibilities.

JavaScript APIs

chrome.* and browser.* namespace

  • In Firefox and Safari: The APIs are accessed using the browser namespace.
    browser.browserAction.setIcon({ path: "path/to/icon.png" });
  • In Chrome: The APIs are accessed using the chrome namespace.
    chrome.browserAction.setIcon({ path: "path/to/icon.png" });

Callbacks and promises

  • In Firefox and Safari (all versions), and Chrome (starting from Manifest Version 3): Asynchronous APIs use promises to return values.
    function logCookie(c) {
    function logError(e) {
    let setCookie = browser.cookies.set({
      url: "",
    setCookie.then(logCookie, logError);
  • In Chrome: In Manifest V2, asynchronous APIs use callbacks to return values and runtime.lastError to communicate errors. In Manifest V3, callbacks are supported for backward compatibility, along with support for promises on most appropriate methods.
    function logCookie(c) {
      if (chrome.runtime.lastError) {
      } else {
    chrome.cookies.set({ url: "" }, logCookie);

Firefox supports both the chrome and browser namespaces

As a porting aid, the Firefox implementation of WebExtensions supports chrome using callbacks and browser using promises. This means that many Chrome extensions work in Firefox without changes.

Note: The browser namespace is supported by Firefox and Safari. Chrome does not offer the browser namespace, until Chrome bug 798169 is resolved.

If you choose to write your extension to use browser and promises, Firefox provides a polyfill that should enable it to run in Chrome:

Partially supported APIs

The Browser support for JavaScript APIs page includes compatibility tables for all APIs that have any support in Firefox. Where there are caveats regarding support for an API method, property, type, or event, this is indicated in these tables with an asterisk "*". Selecting the asterisk expands the table to display a note explaining the caveat.

The tables are generated from compatibility data stored as JSON files in GitHub.

The rest of this section describes the main compatibility issues you may need to consider when building a cross-browser extension. Also, remember to check the browser compatibility tables, as they may contain additional compatibility information.

Notifications API

For notifications.create(), with type "basic":

  • In Firefox: iconUrl is optional.
  • In Chrome: iconUrl is required.

When the user clicks on a notification:

  • In Firefox: The notification is cleared immediately.
  • In Chrome: This is not the case.

If you call notifications.create() more than once in rapid succession:

  • In Firefox: The notifications may not display. Waiting to make subsequent calls within the notifications.create() callback function is not a sufficient delay to prevent this.

Proxy API

Firefox and Chrome include a Proxy API. However, the design of these two APIs is incompatible.

Tabs API

When using tabs.executeScript() or tabs.insertCSS():

  • In Firefox: Relative URLs passed are resolved relative to the current page URL.
  • In Chrome: Relative URLs are resolved relative to the extension's base URL.

To work cross-browser, you can specify the path as an absolute URL, starting at the extension's root, like this:


When calling tabs.remove():

  • In Firefox: The tabs.remove() promise is fulfilled after the beforeunload event.
  • In Chrome: The callback does not wait for beforeunload.

WebRequest API

  • In Firefox:
    • Requests can be redirected only if their original URL uses the http: or https: scheme.
    • The activeTab permission does not allow for intercepting network requests in the current tab. (See bug 1617479)
    • Events are not fired for system requests (for example, extension upgrades or search bar suggestions).
    • If an extension wants to redirect a public (e.g., HTTPS) URL to an extension page, the extension's manifest.json file must contain a web_accessible_resources key with the URL of the extension page.

      Note: Any website may link or redirect to that URL, and extensions should treat any input (POST data, for example) as if it came from an untrusted source, as a normal web page should.

    • Some of the browser.webRequest.* APIs allow for returning Promises that resolves webRequest.BlockingResponse asynchronously.
  • In Chrome: Only webRequest.onAuthRequired supports asynchronous webRequest.BlockingResponse by supplying 'asyncBlocking', through a callback instead of a Promise.

Windows API

  • In Firefox: onFocusChanged of the windows API triggers multiple times for a focus change.

Unsupported APIs

DeclarativeContent API

Miscellaneous incompatibilities


  • In Firefox: URLs in injected CSS files are resolved relative to the CSS file.
  • In Chrome: URLs in injected CSS files are resolved relative to the page they are injected into.

Support for dialogs in background pages


  • In Firefox: Resources are assigned a random UUID that changes for every instance of Firefox: moz-extension://«random-UUID»/«path». This randomness can prevent you from doing things, such as adding your extension's URL to another domain's CSP policy.
  • In Chrome: When a resource is listed in web_accessible_resources, it is accessible as chrome-extension://«your-extension-id»/«path». The extension ID is fixed for an extension.

Manifest "key" property

  • In Firefox: As Firefox uses random UUIDs for web_accessible_resources, this property is unsupported. Firefox extensions can fix their extension ID through the manifest key (see browser_specific_settings.gecko).
  • In Chrome: When working with an unpacked extension, the manifest may include a "key" property to pin the extension ID across different machines. This is mainly useful when working with web_accessible_resources.

Content script HTTP(S) requests

  • In Firefox: When a content script makes an HTTP(S) request, you must provide absolute URLs.
  • In Chrome: When a content script makes a request (for example, using fetch()) to a relative URL (like /api), it is sent to

Content script environment

  • In Firefox: The global scope of the content script environment is not strictly equal to window (Firefox bug 1208775). More specifically, the global scope (globalThis) is composed of standard JavaScript features as usual, plus window as the prototype of the global scope. Most DOM APIs are inherited from the page through window, through Xray vision to shield the content script from modifications by the web page. A content script may encounter JavaScript objects from its global scope or Xray-wrapped versions from the web page.
  • In Chrome: The global scope is window, and the available DOM APIs are generally independent of the web page (other than sharing the underlying DOM). Content scripts cannot directly access JavaScript objects from the web page.

Executing code in a web page from content script

  • In Firefox: eval runs code in the context of the content script and window.eval runs code in the context of the page. See Using eval in content scripts.
  • In Chrome: eval and window.eval always runs code in the context of the content script, not in the context of the page.

Sharing variables between content scripts

  • In Firefox: You cannot share variables between content scripts by assigning them to this.{variableName} in one script and then attempting to access them using window.{variableName} in another. This is a limitation created by the sandbox environment in Firefox. This limitation may be removed; see Firefox bug 1208775.

Content script lifecycle during navigation

  • In Firefox: Content scripts remain injected in a web page after the user has navigated away. However, window object properties are destroyed. For example, if a content script sets window.prop1 = "prop" and the user then navigates away and returns to the page window.prop1 is undefined. This issue is tracked in Firefox bug 1525400. To mimic the behavior of Chrome, listen for the pageshow and pagehide events. Then simulate the injection or destruction of the content script.
  • In Chrome: Content scripts are destroyed when the user navigates away from a web page. If the user clicks the back button to return to the page through history, the content script is injected into the web page.

"per-tab" zoom behavior

  • In Firefox: The zoom level persists across page loads and navigation within the tab.
  • In Chrome: Zoom changes are reset on navigation; navigating a tab always loads pages with their per-origin zoom factors.

See tabs.ZoomSettingsScope.

manifest.json keys

The main manifest.json page includes a table describing browser support for manifest.json keys. Where there are caveats around support for a given key, this is indicated in the table with an asterisk "*". Selecting the asterisk expands the table to display a note explaining the caveat.

The tables are generated from compatibility data stored as JSON files in GitHub.

Native messaging

Connection-based messaging arguments

On Linux and Mac: Chrome passes one argument to the native app, which is the origin of the extension that started it, in the form of chrome-extension://«extensionID/» (trailing slash required). This enables the app to identify the extension.

On Windows: Chrome passes two arguments:

  1. The origin of the extension
  2. A handle to the Chrome native window that started the app


  • In Firefox: The manifest key is called allowed_extensions.
  • In Chrome: The manifest key is called allowed_origins.

App manifest location

App persistence

  • In Firefox: When a native messaging connection is closed, Firefox kills the subprocesses if they do not break away. On Windows, the browser puts the native application's process into a Job object and kills the job. Suppose the native application launches other processes and wants them to remain open after the native application is killed. In that case, the native application must use CreateProcess, instead of ShellExecute, to launch the additional process with the CREATE_BREAKAWAY_FROM_JOB flag.

Data cloning algorithm

Some extension APIs allow an extension to send data from one part of the extension to another, such as runtime.sendMessage(), tabs.sendMessage(), runtime.onMessage, the postMessage() method of runtime.port, and tabs.executeScript().

The Structured clone algorithm supports more types than the JSON serialization algorithm. A notable exception are (DOM) objects with a toJSON method. DOM objects are not cloneable nor JSON-serializable by default, but with a toJSON() method, these can be JSON-serialized (but still not cloned with the structured cloning algorithm). Examples of JSON-serializable objects that are not structured cloneable include instances of URL and PerformanceEntry.

Extensions that rely on the toJSON() method of the JSON serialization algorithm can use JSON.stringify() followed by JSON.parse() to ensure that a message can be exchanged because a parsed JSON value is always structurally cloneable.