Connects the extension to a native application on the user's computer.
This takes the name of a native application as a parameter. It starts the native application and returns a runtime.Port object to the caller.
The caller can then use the Port to exchange messages with the native application using Port.postMessage() and port.onMessage.
The native application will run until it exits itself, or the caller calls Port.disconnect(), or the page that created the Port is destroyed. Once the Port is disconnected the browser will give the process a few seconds to exit gracefully, and then kill it if it has not exited.

For more information, see Native messaging.


var port = browser.runtime.connectNative(
  application // string


string. The name of the native application to connect to. This must match the "name" property in the native application's manifest file.

Return value

A runtime.Port object. The port which the caller can use to exchange messages with the native application.

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
ChromeEdgeFirefoxOperaSafariFirefox for Android
connectNativeChrome Full support 29Edge Full support 15Firefox Full support 50Opera Full support 16Safari Full support 14
Full support 14
Notes See the documentation on about native messaging in Safari.
Firefox Android No support No


Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.


This example connects to the native application "ping_pong" and starts listening for messages from it. It also sends the native application a message when the user clicks a browser action icon:

On startup, connect to the "ping_pong" app.
var port = browser.runtime.connectNative("ping_pong");

Listen for messages from the app.
port.onMessage.addListener((response) => {
  console.log("Received: " + response);

On a click on the browser action, send the app a message.
browser.browserAction.onClicked.addListener(() => {
  console.log("Sending:  ping");

Example extensions


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.