Making a View into a Drop Destination

Adopt drop interaction APIs to selectively consume dragged content.


By implementing a drop interaction delegate (UIDropInteractionDelegate) for a view, you enable that view to accept dropped items.

Enable a View as a Drop Destination

Any instance or subclass of UIView can act as a drop destination. Your first steps to make this happen are:

  1. Create a drop interaction (a UIDropInteraction instance).

  2. Specify the drop interaction’s delegate (an object that conforms to the UIDropInteractionDelegate protocol).

  3. Add the interaction to the view’s interactions property.

Here’s how to do this:

func customEnableDropping(on view: UIView, dropInteractionDelegate: UIDropInteractionDelegate) {
    let dropInteraction = UIDropInteraction(delegate: dropInteractionDelegate)

Consider Accepting the Drag Items

When the user moves the touch point of a drag session over a drop destination, you can immediately refuse it, or you can tell the system to continue its conversation with your delegate object. Provide your response as follows:

func dropInteraction(_ interaction: UIDropInteraction, canHandle session: UIDropSession) -> Bool {
    // Ensure the drop session has an object of the appropriate type
    return session.canLoadObjects(ofClass: UIImage.self)

This example assumes that your drop destination can consume only UIImage objects. The method implementation tests for this type in the return statement. You can also use this method to refuse a drop session based on the state of your app. The drop session is a system-managed object that conforms to the UIDropSession protocol. You can access a drop session for information about the items being dropped.

The dropInteraction(_:canHandle:) method is your app’s only chance to respond to the system’s question about whether your app will consider accepting the items. For example, you might preemptively reject a drop session if it contains no data representations your app can consume, or if consuming dragged items is inappropriate given your app state. Your app’s definitive opportunity to accept or reject dropped items is in your implementation of the dropInteraction(_:sessionDidUpdate:) protocol method.

Provide the Required Drop Proposal

For a view to be eligible to accept the data from a drop session, you must implement the dropInteraction(_:sessionDidUpdate:) protocol method. In your implementation, return a drop proposal—a UIDropProposal object that specifies the drop operation type, a constant from the UIDropOperation enumeration.

Provide a drop proposal like this:

func dropInteraction(_ interaction: UIDropInteraction, sessionDidUpdate session: UIDropSession) -> UIDropProposal {
        // Propose to the system to copy the item from the source app
        return UIDropProposal(operation: .copy)

If your app instead opts to refuse the dropped items, return the UIDropOperation.cancel constant.

The system calls this protocol method when the user has moved the touch point of a drag session over a drop-enabled view—as long as the view did not already reject the drop by returning false in its dropInteraction(_:canHandle:) method (see Consider Accepting the Drag Items).

Consume the Data in the Drag Items

The final step of the conversation between the drop interaction delegate and the system is when your app consumes the data the user has dragged from the source app. Here, your drop interaction delegate asks the drop session to load its drag items:

func dropInteraction(_ interaction: UIDropInteraction, performDrop session: UIDropSession) {
    // Consume drag items (in this example, of type UIImage).
    session.loadObjects(ofClass: UIImage.self) { imageItems in
        let images = imageItems as! [UIImage]
        self.imageView.image = images.first
    // Perform additional UI updates as needed.

The dropInteraction(_:performDrop:) method is a destination app’s only opportunity to request representations of drag items. Receiving the items is potentially time-consuming and proceeds asynchronously. Do not wait within this method to receive items; instead, return from this method quickly.

Understand a Drop Destination in Context

When the touch point for a drop session moves over a view that you’ve configured as a drop destination, the system initiates a conversation with the drop interaction delegate. This conversation gives your app opportunities to accept or reject the drop, to prepare for consuming the drag items, and to update your model and UI, as shown here:

APIs for consuming data from drag items in a drop destination

The figure above depicts the steps for consuming a drag item, in context:

  1. The user moves their finger onscreen so the touch point of a drag session is within a configured view in your app. The system instantiates a drop session (an object that conforms to the UIDropSession protocol, not shown in the figure) for managing the drop activity.

  2. The system calls the drop interaction delegate’s dropInteraction(_:canHandle:) protocol method. Check whether your app can, and opts to, consume the drag items.

  3. The system calls the delegate’s dropInteraction(_:sessionDidEnter:) protocol method. Prepare to consume the drag items.

  4. The system calls the delegate’s dropInteraction(_:sessionDidUpdate:) protocol method. Your implementation must return a UIDropProposal object, or the system ends the session.

  5. If the user confirms their intent to complete the drop, the system calls the delegate’s asynchronous dropInteraction(_:performDrop:) protocol method. This a destination app’s only opportunity to request representations of drag items.

See Also

First Steps

Understanding a Drag Item as a Promise

Use drag items to convey data representation promises between a source app and a destination app.

Making a View into a Drag Source

Adopt drag interaction APIs to provide items for dragging.

Adopting Drag and Drop in a Custom View

Demonstrates how to enable drag and drop for a UIImageView instance.

Adopting Drag and Drop in a Table View

Demonstrates how to enable and implement drag and drop for a table view.