How to Use Chrome to Control Extension Permissions

Change how much of your data your extensions need

What to Know

  • In Chrome, select the three-dot menu. Select More tools > Extensions > Details.
  • In the Permissions section, limit where an extension may be active by choosing On click, On specific sites, or On all sites.
  • Select any of the additional Extension options that apply.

This article explains how to use Chrome to control the browser's extension permissions. It includes information on the purpose of extensions.

How to Review and Restrict Chrome Extension Permissions

Just as mobile operating systems have ways to limit the access each app enjoys, Google Chrome has a straightforward permission control menu to restrict extension access.

Chrome features a menu for viewing and restricting the permissions for all your installed extensions in one place.

  1. Select the three vertical dots in the upper-right of the browser.

    The Settings menu in Chrome.
  2. Hover the mouse over More tools.

    More Tools in Chrome.
  3. Select Extensions.

    Selecting Extensions settings in Chrome.
  4. Select Details for the extension whose permissions you want to modify, and Chrome will pull up a page with all the settings options for the extension.

    Google Chrome extensions menu page
  5. Scroll down to the Permissions section and you'll see a bullet point list of the permissions the extension requires, as well as an extension-specific configuration interface below it. Select the dropdown menu to limit which websites the extension may be active on, then select On click, On specific sites, or On all sites.

    "Details" menu under the Google Chrome "Extensions" menu, for the Dark Theme for Google extension.

    Not all extensions have a bulleted list of their permissions.

  6. Scroll down a little further and select Extension options. Either a pop-up menu will surface, or a new tab will open with the extension’s full settings panel. Regardless, the presented menu will provide options for managing any functionality, UI, and permissions Chrome didn't present on the extension’s Details page.

    Adblock Plus extension settings page open on the Google Chrome browser.
  7. Once the extensions settings are to your liking, that’s it. You’re all done, and you can close both tabs.

How Do Chrome Extension Permissions Work?

Each “permission” is a component in the Chrome API. Each permission only handles one aspect of how Chrome taps into your OS and the data on it. To gain access to all the API elements it needs to function, an extension must ask and receive approval for each permission individually.

Extensions are also required to list all the permissions they need in the “manifest” file, which tells Chrome what to download and set up on installation, and provide a legitimate justification for each one. This lets Chrome easily keep track of all the points of access the extension uses.

Not all of these permissions are visible to the user, since tweaking certain low-level permissions would break the extension completely. However, Chrome exposes many of the ones most pertinent to privacy considerations for users to review.

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