The BeforeUnloadEvent interface represents the event object for the beforeunload event, which is fired when the current window, contained document, and associated resources are about to be unloaded.

See the beforeunload event reference for detailed guidance on using this event.

Event BeforeUnloadEvent

Instance properties

Inherits properties from its parent, Event.

returnValue Deprecated

When set to a truthy value, triggers a browser-controlled confirmation dialog asking users to confirm if they want to leave the page when they try to close or reload it. This is a legacy feature, and best practice is to trigger the dialog by invoking event.preventDefault(), while also setting returnValue to support legacy cases.

Instance methods

Inherits methods from its parent, Event.


In the following example we have an HTML text <input> to represent some data that could be changed and require saving:

  <input type="text" name="name" id="name" />

Our JavaScript attaches an input event listener to the <input> element that listens for changes in the inputted value. When the value is updated to a non-empty value, a beforeunload event listener is attached to the Window object.

If the value becomes an empty string again (i.e. the value is deleted), the beforeunload event listener is removed again — as mentioned above in the Usage notes, the listener should be removed when there is no unsaved data to warn about.

The beforeunload event handler function invokes event.preventDefault() to trigger the warning dialog when the user closes or navigates the tab. We have also included event.returnValue = true in the handler function so that any browsers that don't support the event.preventDefault() mechanism will still run the demo correctly.

const beforeUnloadHandler = (event) => {
  // Recommended

  // Included for legacy support, e.g. Chrome/Edge < 119
  event.returnValue = true;

const nameInput = document.querySelector("#name");

nameInput.addEventListener("input", (event) => {
  if ( !== "") {
    window.addEventListener("beforeunload", beforeUnloadHandler);
  } else {
    window.removeEventListener("beforeunload", beforeUnloadHandler);

When the <input> value is non-empty, if you try to close, navigate, or reload the page the browser displays the warning dialog. Try it out:


HTML Standard
# the-beforeunloadevent-interface

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also