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The Array.shift() method in vanilla JS

Today, I wanted to talk about the Array.shift() method. This is a quick one.

The Array.shift() method removes the first item from an array and returns it. The array is modified.

let wizards = ['Gandalf', 'Radagast', 'Merlin'];
let first = wizards.shift();

// logs "Gandalf"

// logs ["Radagast", "Merlin"]

Here’s a demo.

If you only need to get the first item in the array, you’re probably better off using bracket notation, like this.

let first = wizards[0];

The Array.shift() method is most useful when you want to actually remove the first item from the original array and modify its length.