Fixing a weird Bug: Cannot type in Safari's Input Fields

Armno's avatar image
Published on November 26th, 2020
By Armno P.

I’m working on a mobile web project. Today I found a strange bug that input fields were not working. When tap/click on an input field, it receives :focus state but I cannot type anything - no text shows up. It happens only in Safari and Mobile Safari on iOS.

I’ve never found this bug before. So I did a search with keywords Safari cannot type in input. I found a StackOverflow thread (of course ..) Input field iOS Safari bug — Can’t type in any text

The accepted answer suggests putting -webkit-user-select: text to the input field. So I did just that. And it worked. I can type in the input field and the text shows up.

The mobile web project I’m working on needs to provide a native-app-like experience. I have this rule applies globally since the beginning of the project:

* {
  -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent;
  -webkit-touch-callout: none;
  user-select: none;

user-select: none prevents iOS’s text selection UI to show up when users long-press on text content. For example, when long-press on a button, this could happen.

callout menu on mobile Safari
Unwanted callout menu when long press on a UI element

user-select: none was added to prevent this issue.

Since I have the rule with * selector, it applies to everything, including the input fields.

And it causes a side effect — on Safari, users are not able to type in the input fields when there is user-select: none applied to them. That’s why the default behavior of input fields is broken.

I should have done it differently. Instead of setting user-select: none to everything, set it to only elements that need this behavior.
Setting user-select: none can raise some usability and accessibility concerns. Read more on Is “user-select: none” bad UX?

Today I learned 2 things:

  1. Never put user-select: none to input elements
  2. Try not to break the browser’s defaults

Related posts