Storage Access API

The Storage Access API provides a way for embedded, cross-origin content to gain unrestricted access to storage that it would normally only have access to in a first-party context (we refer to this as an origin’s first-party storage). The API provides methods that allow embedded resources to check whether they currently have access to their first-party storage, and to request access to their first-party storage from the user agent.

Concepts and usage

Most browsers implement a number of storage access policies that restrict access to cookies and site data for embedded, cross-origin resources. These restrictions range from giving embedded resources under each top-level origin a unique storage space to outright blocking of storage access when resources are loaded in a third-party context.

The semantics around third-party cookie blocking policies in particular differ from browser to browser, but the core functionality is similar: cross-origin resources embedded in a third-party context are not given access to the same cookies and site storage that they would have access to when loaded in a first-party context.

These cookie blocking policies are known to break embedded cross-origin content that requires access to its first-party storage. As an example, federated logins often require access to authentication cookies stored in first-party storage, and will require the user to sign in on each site separately (or completely break) if those cookies are not available. In the case of breakage, site owners have often encouraged users to add their site as an exception or to disable the policy entirely. As a consequence, users who wish to continue to interact with embedded content are forced to greatly relax their blocking policy for resources loaded from all embedded origins and possibly across all websites.

The Storage Access API is intended to solve this problem; embedded cross-origin content can request unrestricted access to its first-party storage on a site-by-site basis via the Document.requestStorageAccess() method, and check whether it already has access via the Document.hasStorageAccess() method.

In addition, sandboxed <iframe>s cannot be granted storage access by default for security reasons. The API therefore also adds the allow-storage-access-by-user-activation sandbox token. The embedding website needs to add this to allow storage access requests to be successful, along with allow-scripts and allow-same-origin to allow it to call the API, and execute in an origin that can have cookies:

<iframe sandbox="allow-storage-access-by-user-activation
                 allow-scripts
                 allow-same-origin">
  ...
</iframe>

The API is designed to limit the potential storage exceptions to origins for which the user has shown an intent to interact. This is enforced through the following constraints:

  • Access requests are automatically denied unless the embedded content is currently processing a user gesture such as a tap or click. This also prevents embedded content on the page from spamming the browser or user with excessive access requests.
  • Origins that have never been interacted with as a first party do not have a notion of first-party storage. From the user’s perspective, they only have a third-party relationship with that origin. Access requests are automatically denied if the browser detects that the user hasn’t interacted with the embedded content in a first-party context recently (in Firefox, "recently" is "within 30 days").

The browser may decide to involve the user in the decision of whether to grant an incoming storage access request. Specifics regarding the lifetime of a storage grant and the circumstances under which the browser may decide to inform the user are currently being worked through and will be announced once ready.

User prompts

When requestStorageAccess() is called by an embedded, cross-origin document, the user agent may choose to involve the user in the decision of whether to grant storage access to the requesting origin. Prompting heuristics currently vary across the two implementers of the Storage Access API — Safari shows prompts for all embedded tracking content that has not previously received storage access, while Firefox only prompts users after a tracking origin has requested storage access on more than a threshold number of sites. See Document.requestStorageAccess() for more details.

Safari implementation differences

Although the API surface is the same, websites using the Storage Access API should expect differences in the level and extent of storage access they receive between Firefox and Safari. This is caused by differences in the storage access policies implemented in the two browsers. Design properties unique to Firefox are summarized here:

  • If the embedded origin tracker.example has already obtained first-party storage access on the top-level origin foo.example, and the user visits a page from foo.example embedding a page from tracker.example again in less than 30 days, the embedded origin will have storage access immediately when loading.
  • If a page from top-level origin foo.example embeds more than one <iframe> from tracker.example, and one of those <iframe>s uses the Storage Access API in order to obtain storage access successfully, all other iframes from tracker.example on foo.example top-level origins will immediately gain storage access as well, without needing to call requestStorageAccess() separately.
  • If an embedded page from tracker.example has previously successfully obtained storage access on top-level origin foo.example, all embedded subresources from tracker.example on foo.example (e.g. scripts, images, stylesheets, etc.) will load with access to their first-party storage, which means they may send Cookie headers and honor incoming Set-Cookie headers.
  • In Firefox, when the promise returned from requestStorageAccess() is resolved, the embedded page will gain access to its entire first-party storage, not just cookies.  This includes access to APIs such as Web Storage, IndexedDB, DOM Cache, and so on.
  • In Firefox, the storage access grants are phased out after a number of days passing, whereas in Safari the storage access grants are phased out after a number of days of browser usage passed. This is currently a limitation of the Firefox implementation, which we may address in a future version.

Documentation for Firefox's new storage access policy for blocking tracking cookies includes a detailed description of the scope of storage access grants.

Storage Access API methods

The storage API methods are implemented on the Document interface:

Document.hasStorageAccess()
Returns a Promise that resolves with a boolean value indicating whether the document has access to its first-party storage.
Document.requestStorageAccess()
Returns a Promise that resolves if the access to first-party storage was granted, and rejects if access was denied.

Note: User interaction propagates to the Promise returned by both of these methods, allowing the callers to take actions that require user interaction without requiring a second click from the user. For example, a caller could open a pop-up window from the resolved Promise without triggering Firefox’s pop-up blocker.

Extensions to <iframe> sandbox

The <iframe> element's sandbox attribute has a new token, allow-storage-access-by-user-activation, which permits sandboxed <iframe>s to use the Storage Access API to request storage access.

Specifications

The API is currently only at the proposal stage — the standardization process has yet to begin. You can currently find specification details of the API at Apple's Introducing Storage Access API blog post, and WHATWG HTML issue 338 — Proposal: Storage Access API.

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
Basic support
ExperimentalNon-standard
Chrome No support NoEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 65IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari Full support 11.1
Notes
Full support 11.1
Notes
Notes Currently only available on macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 beta, and in Safari Technology Preview 47+.
WebView Android No support NoChrome Android No support NoEdge Mobile No support NoFirefox Android Full support 65
Disabled
Full support 65
Disabled
Disabled From version 65: this feature is behind the dom.storage_access.enabled preference (needs to be set to true). To change preferences in Firefox, visit about:config.
Opera Android No support NoSafari iOS Full support 11.1
Notes
Full support 11.1
Notes
Notes Currently only available on iOS 11.3 beta.
Samsung Internet Android ?

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
User must explicitly enable this feature.
User must explicitly enable this feature.

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
Basic support
ExperimentalNon-standard
Chrome No support NoEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 65IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari Full support 11.1
Notes
Full support 11.1
Notes
Notes Currently only available on macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 beta, and in Safari Technology Preview 47+.
WebView Android No support NoChrome Android No support NoEdge Mobile No support NoFirefox Android Full support 65
Disabled
Full support 65
Disabled
Disabled From version 65: this feature is behind the dom.storage_access.enabled preference (needs to be set to true). To change preferences in Firefox, visit about:config.
Opera Android No support NoSafari iOS Full support 11.1
Notes
Full support 11.1
Notes
Notes Currently only available on iOS 11.3 beta.
Samsung Internet Android ?

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
Non-standard. Expect poor cross-browser support.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
User must explicitly enable this feature.
User must explicitly enable this feature.

See also

Using the Storage Access API

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: Sheppy, chrisdavidmills, englehardt
Last updated by: Sheppy,