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array.shift

The shift() method removes the first element from an array and returns that removed element. This method changes the length of the array.

Syntax

arr.shift()

Return value

The removed element from the array; undefined if the array is empty.

Description

The shift method removes the element at the zeroeth index and shifts the values at consecutive indexes down, then returns the removed value. If the length property is 0, undefined is returned.

shift is intentionally generic; this method can be called or applied to objects resembling arrays. Objects which do not contain a length property reflecting the last in a series of consecutive, zero-based numerical properties may not behave in any meaningful manner.

Array.prototype.pop() has similar behavior to shift, but applied to the last element in an array.

Examples

Removing an element from an array

The following code displays the myFish array before and after removing its first element. It also displays the removed element:

var myFish = ['angel', 'clown', 'mandarin', 'surgeon'];

console.log('myFish before:', JSON.stringify(myFish));
// myFish before: ['angel', 'clown', 'mandarin', 'surgeon']

var shifted = myFish.shift();

console.log('myFish after:', myFish); 
// myFish after: ['clown', 'mandarin', 'surgeon']

console.log('Removed this element:', shifted); 
// Removed this element: angel

Using shift() method in while loop

The shift() method is often used in condition inside while loop. In the following example every iteration will remove the next element from an array, until it is empty:

var names = ["Andrew", "Edward", "Paul", "Chris" ,"John"];

while( (i = names.shift()) !== undefined ) {
    console.log(i);
}
// Andrew, Edward, Paul, Chris, John

Specifications

Browser compatibilityUpdate compatibility data on GitHub

Desktop
Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
shift 1 12 1 5.5 4 1
Mobile
Android webview Chrome for Android Firefox for Android Opera for Android Safari on iOS Samsung Internet
shift 1 18 4 10.1 1 1.0
Server
Node.js
shift 0.1.100

See also

© 2005–2018 Mozilla Developer Network and individual contributors.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License v2.5 or later.
https://wiki.developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Global_Objects/Array/shift