The DOM MutationObserver() constructor — part of the MutationObserver interface — creates and returns a new observer which invokes a specified callback when DOM events occur. DOM observation does not begin immediately; the observe() method must be called first to establish which portion of the DOM to watch and what kinds of changes to watch for.


var observer = new MutationObserver(callback);


A function which will be called on each DOM change that qualifies given the targeted node or subtree and options. The callback function takes as input two parameters: an array of MutationRecord objects describing each change that occurred and the MutationObserver which invoked the callback. See the example below for more details.

Return value

A new MutationObserver object configured to call the specified callback when DOM mutations occur.


This example simply creates a new MutationObserver configured to watch a node and all of its children for additions and removals of elements to the tree as well as any changes to attributes on any of the elements in the tree.

The callback function

function callback(mutationList, observer) {
  mutationList.forEach((mutation) => {
    switch(mutation.type) {
      case 'childList':
        /* One or more children have been added to and/or removed
           from the tree; see mutation.addedNodes and
           mutation.removedNodes */
      case 'attributes':
        /* An attribute value changed on the element in
 ; the attribute name is in
           mutation.attributeName and its previous value is in
           mutation.oldValue */

The callback() function is invoked when the observer sees changes matching the configuration of the observation request specified when calling observe() to begin watching the DOM.

The kind of change that took place (either a change to the list of children or a change to an attribute) is detected by looking at the mutation.type property.

Creating and starting the observer

This code actually sets up the observation process.

var targetNode = document.querySelector("#someElement");
var observerOptions = {
  childList: true,
  attributes: true,
  subtree: true //Omit or set to false to observe only changes to the parent node.

var observer = new MutationObserver(callback);
observer.observe(targetNode, observerOptions);

The desired subtree is located by finding an element with the ID "someElement". A set of options for the observer is also established in the observerOptions record. In it, we specify values of true for both childList and attributes, so we get the information we want.

Then the observer is instantiated, specifying the callback() function, and we begin observing the DOM nodes of interest by calling observe(), specifying that target node and the options record.

From this point until disconnect() is called, callback() will be called each time an element is added to or removed from the DOM tree rooted at targetNode, or any of those elements' attributes are changed.



Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'MutationObserver()' in that specification.
Living Standard  

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support


18 — 26 Webkit



6 — 7 Webkit

FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support


18 — 26 Webkit


18 — 26 Webkit



6 — 7 Webkit


Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: duncancumming,