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The beforeunload event is fired when the window, the document and its resources are about to be unloaded.

When a non-empty string is assigned to the returnValue Event property, a dialog box appears, asking the users for confirmation to leave the page (see example below). When no value is provided, the event is processed silently. Some implementations only show the dialog box if the frame or any embedded frame receives a user gesture or user interaction. See Browser compatibility for more information.

Bubbles No
Cancelable Yes
Target objects defaultView
Interface Event

Examples

window.addEventListener("beforeunload", function( event ) {
  event.returnValue = "\o/";
});

//is equivalent to
window.addEventListener("beforeunload", function( event ) {
  event.preventDefault();
});

Webkit-based browsers don't follow the spec for the dialog box. An almost cross-browser working example would be close to the below example.

window.addEventListener("beforeunload", function (e) {
  var confirmationMessage = "\o/";

  (e || window.event).returnValue = confirmationMessage;     //Gecko + IE
  return confirmationMessage;                                //Webkit, Safari, Chrome etc.
});

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes
User interaction required for dialog box60 ? ? ?47 ?
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ?
User interaction required for dialog box6060 ? ?47 ? ?

See also

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