What is the common/correct term for the "overscroll" feature very prominent in touch interfaces when scrolling a list of items?

Description: When scrolling a list of items, the user can scroll over the end of the list, and after releasing the touch the list just bounces back. The point is to convey that the application "succesfully" reached the bottom - that the touch event got interpreted correctly as "scroll down", but there's just no more items to display.

  • +1: Good of you to ask. Now I know how to tell people how much I dislike the bounce scroll feature. Oct 26, 2011 at 7:25
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    @BernhardHofmann :D I just love it, personally! Though it always does feel a bit like I'm about physically break the list if I pull it too far. Who knows, maybe that will happen one day. :) Oct 26, 2011 at 8:14
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    @Bernhard Hofmann" why do you dislike it? Do you have an alternative to let the user feel that he is at the end of a list without having him think his touch gesture is ignored? Oct 26, 2011 at 8:48
  • Ps.: Note that the bounce effect is patented. thisismynext.com/2011/04/19/apple-sues-samsung-analysis Oct 26, 2011 at 8:51
  • In Android's API it's called just overscroll. @BaGi: I made an image scroller that makes the phone vibrate when you reach the bounds. If anyone wants to try it... The only thing is that I couldn't get the vibration to be proportional to the force (phone limits). That would be great.
    – bigstones
    Oct 26, 2011 at 10:50

3 Answers 3


Well, if the way Apple describes this effect means anything to you, then they simply call it "bouncing"..

Here's the documentation for their basic UIScrollView control that implements this behavior:

A Boolean value that controls whether the scroll view bounces past the edge of content and back again.

And I do recall a story about Steve Jobs playing around with the earliest prototypes of the touch interface of the iPhone and being really impressed by the "physics" of scrolling and the bounce effect. Although I can't find it online now.

  • Worth noting that in the OS X equivalent NSScrollView, the setting is called NSScrollElasticity (with the allowed values being NSScrollElasticityAutomatic, NSScrollElasticityNone and NSScrollElasticityAllowed).
    – Kit Grose
    Sep 11, 2014 at 3:35
  • They also have a global defaults write command for disabling/enabling the mode called NSScrollViewRubberbanding (so it looks like Apple has no real standard naming convention for it).
    – Kit Grose
    Sep 11, 2014 at 3:56

Android API, since 2.3, supports overscrolling and calls it that way. See Android 2.3 Platform - API overview, section UI Framework.

Actually "overscroll" is just the name given to the event of trying to scroll over limits. The API offers means to define how to react to overscrolling, and specifically calls the effect of "bouncing back" as springback, which actually sounds more technical to me.


For what it's worth, Steve Jobs called it the "rubber banding" in his presentation revealing the original iPhone.

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