Scrolling Changes Coming to Mobile Safari in Future Update

Apple is planning to make some changes to scrolling behavior in mobile Safari in a future update, making for a more unified scrolling experience.

The news comes courtesy of a Hacker News thread discussing Apple's default scrolling behavior vs. the scrolling behavior of webpages that use Google AMP, a discussion inspired by a Daring Fireball post on the subject.

Google AMP (or Accelerated Mobile Pages), for those unfamiliar, is an online publishing format created by Google that's optimized for mobile web browsing and rapid page loading. It is used by multiple news sites, including CNN, ABC, and The Washington Post. On mobile Safari, AMP uses its own scrolling behavior, making AMP pages stand out from non-AMP pages.

In the Hacker News discussion, Malte Ubl, who created Google AMP, says the AMP team filed a bug report about the scrolling discrepancy, and as a result, Apple is going to implement a change that makes all webpages scroll like AMP pages.

With respect to scrolling: We (AMP team) filed a bug with Apple about that (we didn't implement scrolling ourselves, just use a div with overflow). We asked to make the scroll inertia for that case the same as the normal scrolling.

Apple's response was (surprisingly) to make the default scrolling like the overflow scrolling. So, with the next Safari release all pages will scroll like AMP pages.

Another Hacker News responder, "Om2," who appears to work on WebKit, explains that Safari webpage scrolling is inconsistent from all other scrolling, an intentional decision implemented several years ago. Following a review of scrolling rates, Apple has decided to implement a change to introduce a more consistent scrolling experience.

In current iOS Safari, webpage scrolling is inconsistent from all other scrolling on the system. This was an intentional decision made long ago. In addition, overflow areas are consistent with the rest of the system, and thus inconsistent with top-level webpage scrolling. This is semi-accidental. In reviewing scroll rates, we concluded that the original reason was no longer a good tradeoff. Thus this change, which removed all the inconsistencies: https://trac.webkit.org/changeset/211197/webkit

Having all scrolling be consistent feels good once you get used to it.

At the current time, the difference between scrolling on an AMP page and a standard webpage is noticeable, with the AMP pages scrolling faster and more smoothly. It's not entirely clear when the scrolling change will be implemented in mobile Safari, as the new scrolling behavior is not available in the current iOS 10.3.3 beta.

Tag: Safari

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
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45 months ago
Just make it stop jumping the page all over the place because images are loading off-screen, both on iOS and in Mac OS.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
How about Google AMP just go away? Links never work and I always accidentally scroll sideways and get a totally different page. Stop Google from trying to make itself the internet.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
AMP should be destroyed. I think Google has done it intentionally to cripple the browsing experience on iOS phones. Now Google is pointing fingers at Apple for AMP being buggy!

Well Google, stop shoving your crap down our throats.

I have actually stopped browsing on macrumours from my iPhone. The comments were not loading on articles.
AMP scrolling reminds me of the terrible Android scrolling experience. You are either at the top or bottom of the page. No in-between.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

I just want "Request Desktop Mode" to be a permanent option that sticks for my iPad Pro 12.9.

All iPads should have desktop browser ID's. What the heck is the point of displaying the mobile or "responsive tablet" site on a 1024x768 HiDPI or larger screen? Especially on the 1366x1024 HiDPI screen of the 12.9" - it was a major factor in me going back to my iPad mini. If I'm going to lug around the 12.9" iPad Pro, it should at least offer the same web experience as my 12" rMB, which has a lower default HiDPI resolution of 1280x800, but fits more on the screen and gets a proper desktop layout?!? What's the point of 12.9" of screen then???
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
So Safari will FINALLY become more snappy!

I used to use a jailbreak tweak that allowed for faster scrolling. I never realized how slow scrolling was in Safari by default, until I installed this tweak. I'm surprised that Apple doesn't allow scrolling speed customization.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
I HATE the scrolling in AMP pages and tap the chain icon to load full page just for Apple's awesome scrolling. But it would be damn funny to know that Apple wants to regress in this area and join the ranks of Android for inaccurate and uncontrolled web-page scrolling.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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