Routing Notifications to Combine Subscribers

Deliver notifications to subscribers by using notification centers’ publishers.


Many frameworks deliver asynchronous events to your app with the NotificationCenter API. Your app may already have places where it receives and processes these notifications in callback methods or closures. For example, the following code uses addObserver(forName:object:queue:using:) to print a message every time an iOS device rotates to portrait orientation.

var notificationToken: NSObjectProtocol?
override func viewDidLoad() {
    notificationToken = NotificationCenter.default
        .addObserver(forName: UIDevice.orientationDidChangeNotification,
                     object: nil,
                     queue: nil) { _ in
                        if UIDevice.current.orientation == .portrait {
                            print ("Orientation changed to portrait.")

Migrate Notification-Handling Code to Use Combine

Using notification center callbacks and closures requires you to do all your work inside the callback method or closure. By migrating to Combine, you can use operators to perform common tasks like filtering.

To take advantage of Combine, use the NotificationCenter.Publisher to migrate your NSNotification handling code to the Combine idiom. You create this publisher with the NotificationCenter method publisher(for:object:), passing in the notification name in which you’re interested and a source object, if any.

Rewrite the above code in Combine as shown in the following listing. This code uses the default notification center to create a publisher for the orientationDidChangeNotification notification. When the code receives notifications from this publisher, it applies a filter operator to only act on portrait orientation notifications, and prints a message.

var cancellable: Cancellable?
override func viewDidLoad() {
    cancellable = NotificationCenter.default
        .publisher(for: UIDevice.orientationDidChangeNotification)
        .filter() { _ in UIDevice.current.orientation == .portrait }
        .sink() { _ in print ("Orientation changed to portrait.") }

Note that in this case, the orientationDidChangeNotification doesn’t contain the new orientation in its userInfo dictionary, so the filter(_:) operator queries the UIDevice directly.

See Also

Combine Migration

Replacing Foundation Timers with Timer Publishers

Publish elements periodically by using a timer.

Performing Key-Value Observing with Combine

Expose KVO changes with a Combine publisher.

Using Combine for Your App’s Asynchronous Code

Apply common patterns to migrate your closure-based, event-handling code.