This page contains various technical guides for plugin development.

Info.json Structure

Info.json can contain the following fields.

These fields are required:

  • name: The name of the plugin. It will be displayed in the plugin list in IINA's preferences.
  • version: The version of the plugin. It should be in the format of major.minor.patch, such as 1.0.0.
  • identifier: The unique identifier of the plugin. It should be in the format of reverse domain name, such as com.example.myplugin.
  • author: The author of the plugin. It contains three fields:
    • name: The name of the author.
    • email: Optional. The email address of the author.
    • url: Optional. The homepage of the author.
  • entry: The path to the main entry file, relative to the plugin folder.

The following fields are optional:

  • description: A short description of the plugin.
  • globalEntry: The path to the global entry file, relative to the plugin folder.
  • preferencesPage The path to the preferences page file, relative to the plugin folder. This HTML page will be displayed in IINA's preferences. See Plugin Preferences for more details.
  • preferenceDefaults: The default values of the preferences. See Plugin Preferences for more details.
  • helpPage: The path to a help webpage, can be an HTML file in the plugin folder or an external URL. This page will be displayed in IINA's preferences.
  • subProviders: An array of subtitle providers to register. See Subtitle Providers for more details.
  • sidebarTab: A dictionary containing the information of the sidebar tab. It may have the following fields:
    • name: The title of the tab.
  • permissions: An array of permissions required by the plugin. See the Plugin Permissions section below for more details.
  • allowedDomains An array of domains that the plugin can access. This will be displayed in IINA's preferences and when installing the plugin. Typically, you can put ["*"] here to allow the plugin to access all domains.
  • ghRepo: The GitHub repository of the plugin, in the format of username/repo. If specified, IINA will check for updates on GitHub automatically.
  • ghVersion: An integer that should be incremented every time you publish a new version to GitHub. When checking for updates, IINA will compare this number with the latest code on GitHub.

Plugin Permissions

Plugins should declare the permissions they need in Info.json. When installing a plugin, IINA will display the permissions required by it to the user. The permissions are listed below:

  • show-osd: The plugin can show OSD messages. This permission is required if the plugin uses the iina.core.osd() method.
  • show-alert: The plugin can show native alert dialogs. This permission is required if the plugin uses related methods in the iina.utils module.
  • video-overlay: The plugin can draw on the video overlay. This permission is required if the plugin uses the iina.overlay module.
  • network-request: The plugin can access the network. This permission is required if the plugin uses the iina.http module.
  • file-system: The plugin can access the file system. This permission is required if the plugin uses the iina.file module or executes external programs using iina.utils.exec().

Type Definitions

(Note: If you are using the iina-plugin CLI tool to create a plugin, the type definitions will be automatically installed for you.)

IINA provides type definitions for TypeScript and JavaScript users. Add the iina-plugin-definition package to your project to get the type definitions.

npm install --save-dev iina-plugin-definition

Sometimes, you may need to update your tsconfig.json file to make sure the type definitions are loaded correctly. If you don't have a tsconfig.json file, create one in the root of your project. Here is an example:

"compilerOptions": {
"lib": ["es6", "es7", "esnext"],
"sourceMap": false,
"target": "es6",
"module": "es6",
"typeRoots": [
"compileOnSave": false

Note that we added the iina-plugin-definition package to the typeRoots field, and we didn't include "DOM" in the lib field, because IINA doesn't provide a browser environment.

After doing so, you should be able to see autocomplete suggestions for IINA APIs in your editor.

Equivalents of Common Browser APIs

Since the plugin code doesn't run in a browser, there is no window object, which is the global context you may be familiar with if you have experience with web development. As a result, some useful global methods are not available, sush ad fetch, prompt, and localStorage.

For the following important timer methods, IINA provides equivalents, so you can use them directly:

  • setTimeout() and clearTimeout()
  • setInterval() and clearInterval()

IINA usually provides alternatives for other browser APIs as well, such as:

  • fetch(): Use the iina.http module instead
  • prompt(): Use iina.utils.ask() instead
  • localStorage: Use the iina.file module to access the file system
  • console: Use the iina.console module instead.

JavaScript Module System

When your entry file gets bigger and more complex, you may want to split it into multiple files. Therefore, you will need a way to import code from other files. This is usually done by using a module system, such as CommonJS or ES6 modules. ES6 modules (the import and export keywords) are not fully supported by JavaScriptCore, especially on early macOS versions. Therefore, IINA provides a node-flavor JavaScript module system to help you organize your code.

In your entry file, you can use the require() function to import other files:

const { foo } = require("./foo.js");

While in other files, you can use the module.exports object to export values:

module.exports = {
foo: "bar",

However, this module system is very basic and doesn't support any more features. If you need more flexibility, especially ES6 modules, you can use a bundler, as described below.

Using Bundlers

You may want to use a bundler to bundle your plugin code into a single file. Although it requires more work, it can bring you many benefits, such as:

  • Using ES6 modules and modern JavaScript features
  • Using third-party libraries
  • Using the full tech stack of web development to develop ustom user interfaces, such as React, Vue, and TypeScript

IINA recommends using Parcel to bundle your plugin code. Our plugin templates are already configured to work with Parcel, so you may start using it right away.

(Note: If you are using the iina-plugin CLI tool to create a plugin, it will automatically install Parcel for you, if you choose to use it.)

Common Workflow

In parcel, you can add targets to your package.json file.

"targets": {
"entry": {
"distDir": "./dist/",
"source": "src/index.ts",
"isLibrary": false

In the above example, all contents in src/index.ts (and all files imported by it) will be bundled into dist/index.js. You can therefore use dist/index.js as the entry file of your plugin.

You can also add more targets for custom user interfaces. For example, you may want to use React to build a custom UI for your plugin. In this case, you can add a new target to your package.json file:

"targets": {
"ui": {
"distDir": "./dist/ui/",
"source": "src/ui/index.html"

Where in src/ui/index.html, you can import JavaScript files containing your React code. Then you can load dist/ui/index.html to display your custom UI.


Debugging is a critical part of plugin development. IINA provides a few tools to help you debug your plugin.


When developing a plugin, you may want to reload it without installing it again. To do so, you can symlink a plugin folder to ~/Library/Application Support/IINA/Plugins/. The destination must have a .iinaplugin-dev suffix. For example:

ln -s /path/to/myplugin ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.colliderli.iina/plugins/myplugin.iinaplugin-dev

(Note: If you are using the iina-plugin CLI tool to create a plugin, you can use iina-plugin link <dir> to create the symlink.)

Then you can modify your code (or build your code using a bundler), then restart IINA to reload the plugin.

For webviews, you may be able to reload the webview by selecting Reload in the context menu without restarting IINA.

Log Viewer

Starting from IINA 1.3.2, you can use Window > Log Viewer to view the logs from all IINA log subsystems. Upon launch, IINA loads all plugins in the plugin folder, so you may see a line like Loading JS plugin from /path/to/plugin in the log viewer. Any errors occurred during the loading process will also be displayed here.

Once your plugin is loaded, you should be able to select the log subsystems for your plugin. The subsystem's name would be global - <plugin name> for the global instance and player<id> - <plugin name> for the player instances. Any logs printed using the iina.console module will be displayed in the log viewer.

JS Dev Tool

Starting from IINA 1.4.0, you can use Plugin > Developer Tool to run a JavaScript console in the context of any plugin. This console is similar to the JavaScript console in web browsers. In this console, you can access all IINA APIs and the global variables in your plugin. You can also inspect the return values of IINA APIs and test your code in this console.

Safari Web Inspector

If you need more advanced debugging features, you can use the Safari Web Inspector. To do so, you need to enable the Develop menu in Safari Preferences > Advanced. Then after launching IINA, you can select Develop > (your computer name) and select the JavaScript context you want to debug. This will open a new window with the Web Inspector. You will able to add breakpoints, inspect variables, and use the console in this window.

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