A collection of methods that gives you access to the appearance proxy for a class.


You can customize the appearance of instances of a class by sending appearance modification messages to the class’s appearance proxy.

There are two ways to customize appearance for objects: for all instances, and for instances contained within an instance of a container class.

  • To customize the appearance of all instances of a class, use appearance() to get the appearance proxy for the class. For example, to modify the bar background tint color for all instances of UINavigationBar:

    [[UINavigationBar appearance] setBarTintColor:myNavBarBackgroundColor];
  • To customize the appearances for instances of a class when contained within an instance of a container class, or instances in a hierarchy, use appearanceWhenContainedIn: to get the appearance proxy for the class. For example, to modify the appearance of bar buttons, based on the object that contains the navigation bar:

    [[UIBarButtonItem appearanceWhenContainedIn:[UINavigationBar class], nil]
           setBackgroundImage:myNavBarButtonBackgroundImage forState:state barMetrics:metrics];
    [[UIBarButtonItem appearanceWhenContainedIn:[UINavigationBar class], [UIPopoverController class], nil]
            setBackgroundImage:myPopoverNavBarButtonBackgroundImage forState:state barMetrics:metrics];
    [[UIBarButtonItem appearanceWhenContainedIn:[UIToolbar class], nil]
            setBackgroundImage:myToolbarButtonBackgroundImage forState:state barMetrics:metrics];
    [[UIBarButtonItem appearanceWhenContainedIn:[UIToolbar class], [UIPopoverController class], nil]
            setBackgroundImage:myPopoverToolbarButtonBackgroundImage forState:state barMetrics:metrics];

In any given view hierarchy, the outermost appearance proxy wins. Specificity (depth of the chain) is the tie-breaker. In other words, the containment statement in appearanceWhenContainedIn: is treated as a partial ordering. Given a concrete ordering (actual subview hierarchy), UIKit selects the partial ordering that is the first unique match when reading the actual hierarchy from the window down.

You can further refine which instances of a class will have their appearance customized by specifying a trait collection. Use the appearance(for:) and appearanceForTraitCollection:whenContainedIn: methods to retrieve the proxy for a class with the specified trait collection.

To support appearance customization, a class must conform to the UIAppearanceContainer protocol and relevant accessor methods must be marked with UI_APPEARANCE_SELECTOR.


Appearance Methods

static func appearance()

Returns the appearance proxy for the receiver.


static func appearance(for: UITraitCollection)

Returns the appearance proxy for the receiver that has the passed trait collection.



Inherits From

Adopted By

See Also

Appearance Customization

protocol UIAppearanceContainer

A protocol that a class must adopt to allow appearance customization using the UIAppearance API.