In November, with the release of Chrome 108, Chrome will make some changes to how the Layout Viewport behaves when the on-screen keyboard (OSK) gets shown. With this change, Chrome on Android will no longer resize the Layout Viewport, and instead resize only the Visual Viewport. This will bring Chrome on Android’s behavior up to par with that of Chrome on iOS and Safari on iOS.
Here's some background on what's happening, why Chrome is making this change, and what you can do to prepare.
The Layout Viewport and the Visual Viewport
When visiting a website, you don’t get to see the entire page's contents after it has loaded. Instead, the browser offers you a viewport through which you get to see a portion of the page. This viewport is also known as the Layout Viewport. When the content of a page grows too large, the browser offers a scrolling mechanism.
When positioning elements using
position: fixed, these will be laid out against that Layout Viewport. As the Layout Viewport remains in place as you scroll down a page, so will elements that use
In addition to this Layout Viewport, the browser also offers a Visual Viewport. It represents the portion of the viewport that is currently visible. At zoom level 1 this Visual Viewport is as large as the Layout Viewport.
When pinch-zooming in, you shrink the size of the Visual Viewport in relation to the Layout Viewport.
Viewport resize behavior
When focussing an input or any other editable area, devices–mostly touchscreen devices–can show an on-screen keyboard. This keyboard, often referred to as a virtual keyboard,allows users to enter content into the editable area.
When doing so, browsers respond in one of the following ways in relation to the various viewports:
- Resize only the Visual Viewport and offset the Layout Viewport.
- Resize both the Visual Viewport and Layout Viewport.
- Do not resize any of the Layout Viewport or Visual Viewport, overlaying the virtual keyboard on top of both.
These three behaviors are visualized as follows:
Depending on which browser and OS combination a visitor uses, one of the behaviors is used, beyond your control.
Mapping the various resize behaviors
One of the tested aspects is the resize behavior when the OSK is shown. This led to the following classification:
Browsers that resize the Visual Viewport, leaving Layout Viewport untouched.
- Safari on iOS
- Safari on iPadOS
- Chrome on Chrome OS
- Chrome on iOS
- Chrome on iPadOS
- Edge on iOS
- Edge on iPadOS
Browsers that resize both the Visual Viewport and Layout Viewport.
- Chrome on Android
- Firefox on Android
- Edge on Android
- Firefox on iOS
Browsers that resize none of the viewports:
- None by default – In Chrome on Android you can opt in to this behavior by means of the VirtualKeyboard API
Side-effects of each behavior
This difference in how the various viewports get resized when the OSK is shown leads to a non-interoperable layout and sizing behavior of websites.
In the browsers from group 1, with the OSK shown:
- The computed values for viewport-relative units remain the same.
- Elements that were designed to take up the full visual space keep their size.
- Elements that use
position: fixedremain in place and can be obscured by the OSK.
In the browsers from group 2, with the OSK shown:
- The computed values for viewport-relative units shrink.
- Elements that were designed to take up the full visual space shrink.
- Elements that use
position: fixedcan end up elsewhere in the layout.
Unless you resort to User-Agent sniffing or rely on extensive scripting, you cannot know which behavior is used. You also cannot change the behavior, as it is determined by the browser and OS combination the user is visiting from.
Changing the default behavior in Chrome 108
As of Chrome 108, Chrome on Android will adjust its viewport resize behavior to no longer resize the Layout Viewport when the on-screen keyboard is shown.
This will align the behavior of Chrome on Android with that of Chrome on iOS, iPadOS, Windows, and CrOS, Safari on iOS and iPadOS, and Edge on iOS, iPadOS, and Windows.
Thanks to this change, authors can know which behavior will be used, no matter which OS Chrome is running on. Furthermore it allows for stable viewport-relative units: showing or hiding the OSK does not affect these units.
Opting in to a different behavior
If you want your website to use the pre-108 resize behavior, fear not. Also shipping in Chrome 108 is an extension to the viewport meta tag.
interactive-widget key, you can tell Chrome which resize behavior you want.
Accepted values for
resizes-visual: Resize only the Visual Viewport but not the Layout Viewport.
resizes-content: Resize both the Visual Viewport and Layout Viewport.
overlays-content: Do not resize any viewport.
To opt back in to the “old” Chrome on Android behavior, set the viewport meta tag to this:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, interactive-widget=resizes-content">
If you don’t include
interactive-widget in the viewport meta tag, Chrome will use the default behavior, which is
Visualized, the settings have this effect on the various viewports:
You can try out the effect of each value in your browser on this demo website.
Testing and feedback
We expect some minor differences to existing sites, but expect these to be non-blocking as Chrome 108 on Android will now behave similarly to Safari on iOS. Therefore, websites that work fine on Safari on iOS should also work fine on Chrome 108 on Android.
However, we do encourage website authors to actively test their websites in Chrome 108, which is in beta from October 27th 2022. Specifically look out for elements that use
position: fixed and/or rely on Viewport-relative units.
Feedback can be reported over at crbug.com. Be sure to include “on-screen keyboard” in the report’s title.