Tech notes for mobile-web



  1. Mobile web: Basic HTML template
  2. Mobile web: Record from the microphone with an input tag
  3. Mobile web: Long click on elements / disable browser popups
  4. Mobile web: pointer x and y position in touchdown, touchup, etc
  5. Mobile web: Scale website viewport for mobile
  6. Mobile web: Disable text select on iPhone (i.e. safari)
  7. Mobile web: Turn off double tap to zoom on iPhone (i.e. safari)
  8. Mobile web: Safari iPhone gray touch shadow

Mobile web: Basic HTML template

This fixes a few things on the iPhone.

  • -webkit-tap-highlight-color removes the iPhone's element touch highlight.
  • -webkit-overflow-scrolling gives us momentum based scrolling
  • meta viewport gives us nicer scaling for mobile
  • touch-action: manipulation prevents double tap to zoom
  • position: fixed means we don't scroll the entire page but elements within it can be
  • input font-size: 16px means we don't zoom in on the iPhone
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, user-scalable=0">
      * {
        touch-action: manipulation;
        -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0,0,0,0);
        box-sizing: border-box;
      input {
        font-size: 16px;
      html, body {
        padding: 10px;
        margin: 0px;
        overflow: hidden;
        -webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        position: fixed;
        height: 100%;
        width: 100%;
        background-color: yellowgreen;
      body > .content {
        display: flex; 
        flex-flow: column; 
        height: 100%;
      .content > .items {
        background-color: olivedrab;
        padding: 4px;
        overflow: auto;
        border-radius: 6px;
      .content > .items > div {
        font-size: 60px;
        color: white;
    <div class="content">
       i am a mobile friendly page
      <input placeholder="with input">
      <button>and a button</button>
      <div class="items">
mobile-web html css

Mobile web: Record from the microphone with an input tag

There's the web audio API... which of course safari refuses to support.

You can make an <input> element have the type="file". And give it some relevant capture and accept attributes to look for audio.

  <input type="file" name="audio" accept="audio/*" capture=""
  • On an iPhone, that will open up the camera... And you can record a video... You'll have to remove the video and keep the audio server-side.
  • On Android, it will open up the audio recorder and all will be well.
  • On the desktop, we just get a file chooser.

And you'll get this video from element's this.files[0] in the onchange event.

The input file element is ugly to look at. You can hide it in a div. And pass through a button click.

  <input type="file" name="audio" accept="audio/*" capture=""
    style="display: none;"
    onchange="alert('hooray something new', this.files[0])">

The above should open a normal dialogue on the desktop and the camera on an iPhone.

javascript mobile-web html

Mobile web: Long click on elements / disable browser popups

On the iPhone and others, if you long click on a button, or another element, the browser may offer a popup.

This popup does things like offer to copy text, search for the selected text. And often -webkit-user-select: none and similar don't help--it selects other text nearby.

You can disable this by hooking onto the touchdown event and running event.preventDefault() to prevent the browser's default action.

element.addEventListener("touchstart", e => {

A potential problem: if you run e.preventDefault() in touchstart then any click listeners on the element will also not run.

mobile-web javascript css

Mobile web: pointer x and y position in touchdown, touchup, etc

You normally get the cursor x and y position with event.clientX and event.clientY in an mousedown event. (and click, mouseup, etc)

But in a touchdown event those properties don't exist to support multiple finger touch.

Instead the event.changedTouches array exists. Then you get the clientX from the first array item.

The following function is passed an Event, and it returns the clientX and clientY from either a normal mouse event or a touch event.

function get_client_x_y(e) { 
  var x, y = 0 
  if(e.type.startsWith("touch")) {
    x = e.changedTouches[0].clientX
    y = e.changedTouches[0].clientY
  } else {
    x = e.clientX
    y = e.clientY
  return {x, y}

As an aside, clientY is the position from the top of the screen. pageY is the position from the top of the, possibility scrolled, document.

mobile-web javascript

Mobile web: Scale website viewport for mobile

You can make the width of your website better fit a mobile screen.

The viewport meta tag does this. In its content you set the width of the screen to be device-width. And the initial-scale to be 1.0.

  <meta name="viewport" 
        content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
mobile-web html

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