How to detect idle time in JavaScript elegantly?

How to detect idle time in JavaScript elegantly?

Is it possible to detect “idle” time in JavaScript?
My primary use case probably would be to pre-fetch or preload content.
Idle time: Period of user inactivity or without any CPU usage


Solution 1:

Here is a simple script using JQuery that handles mousemove and keypress events.
If the time expires, the page reload.

<script type="text/javascript">
var idleTime = 0;
$(document).ready(function () {
    //Increment the idle time counter every minute.
    var idleInterval = setInterval(timerIncrement, 60000); // 1 minute

    //Zero the idle timer on mouse movement.
    $(this).mousemove(function (e) {
        idleTime = 0;
    $(this).keypress(function (e) {
        idleTime = 0;

function timerIncrement() {
    idleTime = idleTime + 1;
    if (idleTime > 19) { // 20 minutes

Solution 2:

Without using jQuery, only JavaScript:

var inactivityTime = function () {
    var time;
    window.onload = resetTimer;
    // DOM Events
    document.onmousemove = resetTimer;
    document.onkeypress = resetTimer;

    function logout() {
        alert("You are now logged out.")
        //location.href = 'logout.html'

    function resetTimer() {
        time = setTimeout(logout, 3000)
        // 1000 milliseconds = 1 second
/*call the function*/


You can add more DOM events if you need to. Most used are:

document.onload = resetTimer;
document.onmousemove = resetTimer;
document.onmousedown = resetTimer; // touchscreen presses
document.ontouchstart = resetTimer;
document.onclick = resetTimer;     // touchpad clicks
document.onscroll = resetTimer;    // scrolling with arrow keys
document.onkeypress = resetTimer;

Or register desired events using an array

window.addEventListener('load', resetTimer, true);
var events = ['mousedown', 'mousemove', 'keypress', 'scroll', 'touchstart'];
events.forEach(function(name) {
 document.addEventListener(name, resetTimer, true); 

DOM Events list:

Remember use window, or document according your needs. Here you can see the differences between them: What is the difference between window, screen, and document in Javascript?

Solution 3:

Improving on Equiman’s answer:

function idleLogout() {
    var t;
    window.onload = resetTimer;
    window.onmousemove = resetTimer;
    window.onmousedown = resetTimer;  // catches touchscreen presses as well      
    window.ontouchstart = resetTimer; // catches touchscreen swipes as well 
    window.onclick = resetTimer;      // catches touchpad clicks as well
    window.onkeypress = resetTimer;   
    window.addEventListener('scroll', resetTimer, true); // improved; see comments

    function yourFunction() {
        // your function for too long inactivity goes here
        // e.g. window.location.href = 'logout.php';

    function resetTimer() {
        t = setTimeout(yourFunction, 10000);  // time is in milliseconds

Apart from the improvements regarding activity detection, and the change from document to window, this script actually calls the function, rather than letting it sit idle by.

It doesn’t catch zero CPU usage directly, but that is impossible, because executing a function causes CPU usage. And user inactivity eventually leads to zero CPU usage, so indirectly it does catch zero CPU usage.

Solution 4:

I have created a small lib that does this a year ago:


Tiny javascript library to report activity of user in the browser
(away, idle, not looking at webpage, in a different tab, etc). that is independent of any
other javascript libraries such as jquery.

Visual Studio users can get it from NuGet by: PM> Install-Package Idle.js

Solution 5:

Here is a rough jQuery implementation of tvanfosson’s idea:


   idleTime = 0;

   //Increment the idle time counter every second.
   var idleInterval = setInterval(timerIncrement, 1000);

   function timerIncrement()
     if (idleTime > 2)

   //Zero the idle timer on mouse movement.
      idleTime = 0;

   function doPreload()
     //Preload images, etc.


Solution 6:

Similar to Iconic’s solution above (with jQuery custom event)…

// use jquery-idle-detect.js script below
$(window).on('idle:start', function(){
  //start your prefetch etc here...

$(window).on('idle:stop', function(){
  //stop your prefetch etc here...

  // expose configuration option
  // idle is triggered when no events for 2 seconds
  $.idleTimeout = 2000;

  // currently in idle state
  var idle = false;

  // handle to idle timer for detection
  var idleTimer = null;

  //start idle timer and bind events on load (not dom-ready)
  $w.on('load', function(){
    $w.on('focus resize mousemove keyup', startIdleTimer)
      .on('blur',idleStart) //force idle when in a different tab/window

  function startIdleTimer() {
    clearTimeout(idleTimer); //clear prior timer

    if (idle) $w.trigger('idle:stop'); //if idle, send stop event
    idle = false; //not idle

    var timeout = ~~$.idleTimeout; // option to integer
    if (timeout <= 100) timeout = 100; // min 100ms
    if (timeout > 300000) timeout = 300000; // max 5 minutes

    idleTimer = setTimeout(idleStart, timeout); //new timer

  function idleStart() {
    if (!idle) $w.trigger('idle:start');
    idle = true;

}(window.jQuery, window.jQuery(window)))