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Scrolling to a location that hasn't been rendered using FlatList or SectionList

Calling scrollViewRef.current.scrollToLocation() on a React Native FlatList or SectionList will fail on occasion because it can't scroll to a location that hasn't been rendered yet.

The solution to this is implementing onScrollToIndexFailed with some sort of recovery functionality to keep trying the scroll. This is a Higher Order Component (HOC) for SectionList that handles this for us.

This component basically tries over and over to scroll to the requested location until it gets it right and no longer calls onScrollToIndexFailed.

import * as React from 'react';
import { SectionList, SectionListProps, SectionListScrollParams } from 'react-native';

interface SectionListHandle {
scrollToLocation: (params: SectionListScrollParams) => void;

* This is a wrapper around react-native's SectionList that adds protection against scrolling to an
* unknown (not rendered yet) location. This is useful for cases where the user wants to scroll to a
* position very far down the list but we haven't rendered that far yet.
* This adds onScrollToIndexFailed property to SectionList so that if the scroll fails, we calculate the approximate
* scroll position, scroll there, and then try again to get the exact position requested.
* Essentially, it's a "guess the position and retry the operation" strategy until the list is scrolled to the
* correct location.
export const ScrollProtectedSectionList = React.forwardRef<
SectionListProps<any, any>
>((props, forwardedRef) => {
const internalRef = React.useRef<SectionList>(null);
const [lastScrollRequest, setLastScrollRequest] = React.useState<SectionListScrollParams>();
const timeout = React.useRef<ReturnType<typeof setTimeout>>();

const onScrollToIndexFailed = (info: {
index: number;
highestMeasuredFrameIndex: number;
averageItemLength: number;
}) => {
console.log('ScrollProtectedSectionList.onScrollToIndexFailed', info);

// Calculate the possible position of the item and scroll there using the internal scroll responder.
const offset = info.averageItemLength * info.index;
internalRef.current?.getScrollResponder()?.scrollTo({ x: 0, y: offset, animated: false });

// If we know exactly where we want to scroll to, we can just scroll now since the item is likely visible.
// Otherwise it'll call this function recursively again.
if (lastScrollRequest) {
timeout.current = setTimeout(() => {
}, 100);

// Clear the timeout if it still exists when the component unmounts.
React.useEffect(() => {
return () => timeout.current && clearTimeout(timeout.current);
}, []);

() => ({
scrollToLocation: (params: SectionListScrollParams) => {

return <SectionList {...props} ref={internalRef} onScrollToIndexFailed={onScrollToIndexFailed} />;