iOS Safari window.scrollTo / getBoundingClientRect bug

This is a weird one, and not something you will stumble into every day. But it is a bug nonetheless.

On iOS safari, if you use window.scrollTo(0, y) and y is larger than document's maximum scroll, any immediate call to getBoundingClientRect will return incorrect top value. (Same will happen for horizontal scroll and left value.)

What happens is that browser thinks it actually scrolled to y and calculates element's position based on that scroll position. This happens only if scrollTo and getBoundingClientRect are executed one right after the other.

Not even requestAnimationFrame will save you. Adding a small timeout will, but that is not a viable solution.

Check the demo to see it yourself. (Unfortunately I couldn't include the iframe with the demo, because of the other bug. Today's your lucky day, you got two bugs by the price of one!)

I've tested it only on iOS 11, but I guess other versions are affected as well.


Solution is easy, we need to determine maximum possible scroll and to cap our y value.

Helper method:

function getPageMaxScroll() {
  // Cross browser page height detection is ugly
  return Math.max(
  ) - window.innerHeight; // Subtract viewport height


let top = 1000000; // Value larger than maximum scroll
const maxScroll = getPageMaxScroll();

// Fix for bug on iOS devices
// When top was larger than maximum page scroll
// "getBoundingClientRect" would take that value into calculations
if (top > maxScroll) {
  top = maxScroll;

// Scroll the window to the new position
window.scrollTo(0, top);

// Get the new position
const rect = this.contentWrapperElement.getBoundingClientRect();

Hope that helps!

P.S. There is another bug on iOS Safari with getBoundingClientRect and position: fixed, but that one is documented and tracked.

Comments (1)

24. Aug 2018, 02:50

I do get the same bug when using <canvas> making a signature board. I get a almost random from getBoundingClientRect(), each time when I open my web page. I guess safari has some magic while runing js after rendering HTML. Because when I use window.onload, bugfixed and dont know why.