Use a web app manifest to integrate a Progressive Web App into the operating system

The web app manifest file governs how your Progressive Web App (PWA) looks and behaves when installed on a device. The web app manifest provides information such as the name of your app, the file location of icons that represent your app in system menus, and the theme colors that the operating system (OS) uses in the title bar.

A web app manifest is a JSON file that must be referenced from your website's HTML page using a manifest link. Insert the following code in between the <head> and </head> tags of your website's HTML page to link to your manifest file:

<link rel="manifest" href="/manifest.json">

Web app manifest file type

The content of your web app manifest must be valid JSON, but the file extension can be either .json or .webmanifest.

If you choose to use the .webmanifest extension, verify that your HTTP server serves it with the application/manifest+json MIME type.

Manifest members

At a minimum, a manifest file should contain the following manifest members:

    "name": "My Sample PWA",
    "lang": "en-US",
    "start_url": "/"

Below is an example of a manifest file that contains more members:

    "name": "My Sample PWA",
    "lang": "en-us",
    "short_name": "SamplePWA",
    "description": "A sample PWA for testing purposes",
    "start_url": "/",
    "scope": "/",
    "display": "standalone",
    "theme_color": "#2f3d58",
    "background_color": "#2f3d58",
    "orientation": "any",
    "icons": [
            "src": "/icon512.png",
            "sizes": "512x512"

A PWA can be customized even further by using other manifest members, such as the following:

Member Description
name The name of the app, used by the operating system to display next to the app's icon.
short_name This can be used to display the name of the app when there isn't enough space for name.
description The description of the app.
categories The list of categories the app belongs to.
icons Array of icon image objects that are used by the OS in different contexts.
screenshots Array of screenshot image objects, also used by the OS in different contexts.
start_url The preferred URL that should be navigated to when the operating system launches your app.
scope Defines the navigation scope for the app. Outside of this scope, the visited page reverts to a normal webpage, not a PWA. This defaults to start_url.
display What the app should look like. This changes how much of the browser UI is shown to the user.
display_override Used to determine the preferred display for the app, depending on what the device supports.
theme_color The default theme color for the app. This affects how the OS displays the site.
background_color The background color of the window where the app is launched, before the stylesheet is applied.
orientation On supporting devices, this defines the default orientation for the app (such as landscape or portrait).
protocol_handlers The list of predefined or custom URI protocol schemes the app is associated with.
shortcuts The list of common tasks users will be able to do by right-clicking or long-pressing on the app icon.
share_target The type of data that the app accepts when content is shared via the OS share dialog.
file_handlers The type of files that the app can be launched with.

To learn more about manifest members, see web app manifests at MDN.

Handle specific protocol schemes

You can register your PWA as a protocol handler. When a user clicks on a link that uses the protocol scheme your app registered to, your app is launched automatically. This enables users to easily share links to specific parts or functionality of your app with each other.

To register as a protocol handler, use the protocol_handlers manifest member:

    "protocol_handlers": [
            "protocol": "mailto",
            "url": "/newEmail?to=%s"

To learn more, see Handle protocols in Progressive Web Apps.

Use shortcuts to provide quick access to features

Most operating systems provide quick access to key app features by using shortcuts on the right-click menu that's connected to the icon of the app. To use shortcuts in your PWA, include the shortcuts member in your web app manifest.

The following code shows how to define a shortcut in a web app manifest.

"shortcuts": [
        "name": "Play Later",
        "description": "View the list of podcasts you saved for later",
        "url": "/play-later",
        "icons": [
                "src": "/icons/play-later.svg",
                "type": "image/svg+xml",
                "purpose": "any"
        "name": "Subscriptions",
        "description": "View the list of podcasts available in your subscription",
        "url": "/subscriptions?sort=desc"

To learn more, see Define app shortcuts.

Identify your app as a Share Target

To enable users to quickly share links and files with native applications, use the share_target object in the web app manifest. An action page is similar to a form. In the share_target object, you define the action page and the parameters that you expect to be passed into the action page.

"share_target": {
    "action": "/share.html",
    "params": {
        "title": "name",
        "text": "description",
        "url": "link"

The above share_target object establishes /share.html as the action page for a share. This example also defines three parameters that would be passed to that action page: title, text, and url.

To learn more about using the Share Target feature, see Share content with other apps.

Associate your app with files

When a PWA is registered as a file handler for certain file types, the operating system can automatically launch the app when those files are opened by the user, similar to how Microsoft Word handles .docx files. PWAs that handle files feel more native to users and better integrated in the operating system.

To handle files, list the file mime types and extensions you want your app to be associated with, and define the URL that your app should be launched with:

    "file_handlers": [
            "action": "/openFile",
            "accept": {
                "text/*": [

Then handle the files by using the window.launchQueue() method:

if ('launchQueue' in window) {
    launchQueue.setConsumer(launchParams => {
        // Do something with launchParams.files ...

To learn more, see Handle files in Progressive Web Apps.