An item in a tab bar.


@interface UITabBarItem : UIBarItem


A tab bar operates strictly in radio mode, where one item is selected at a time—tapping a tab bar item toggles the view above the tab bar. You can also specify a badge value on the tab bar item for adding additional visual information—for example, the Messages app uses a badge on the item to show the number of new messages. This class also provides a number of system defaults for creating items.

Use the initWithTabBarSystemItem:tag: method to create one of the system items. Use the initWithTitle:image:tag: method to create a custom item with the specified title and image, which is used as both the unselected and selected image. Use the initWithTitle:image:selectedImage: method to create a custom item with the specified title, unselected image, and selected image.

Customizing Appearance

In iOS v5.0 and later, you can customize the appearance of tab bars by setting item label text attributes using appearance selectors declared by UIBarItem. You can also use the methods listed in Customizing the Item's Appearance. You can customize the appearance of all tab bar items using the appearance proxy (for example, [UITabBarItem appearance]), or just of a single tab bar item.

By default, unselected and selected images are automatically created from the alpha values in the source images. To prevent system coloring, provide images with UIImageRenderingModeAlwaysOriginal.

For more information about appearance and behavior configuration, see Tab Bars.


Initializing an Item

- initWithTabBarSystemItem:tag:

Creates and returns a new item containing the specified system item.

- initWithTitle:image:tag:

Creates and returns a new item using the specified properties.

- initWithTitle:image:selectedImage:

Creates and returns a new item with the specified title, unselected image, and selected image.

- init

Initializes the tab bar item to its default state.


System items that can be used on a tab bar.

Customizing the Item's Appearance


The appearance settings for this specific tab bar item.

Legacy Customizations

Customize appearance information directly on the tab bar item object.

Managing the Finished Selected Image

- finishedSelectedImage

Returns the finished selected image.

- finishedUnselectedImage

Returns the finished unselected image.

- setFinishedSelectedImage:withFinishedUnselectedImage:

Sets the finished selected and unselected images.



Inherits From

See Also

Tab View Interface


A container view controller that manages a radio-style selection interface, where the selection determines which child view controller to display.


A control that displays one or more buttons in a tab bar for selecting between different subtasks, views, or modes in an app.

Beta Software

This documentation contains preliminary information about an API or technology in development. This information is subject to change, and software implemented according to this documentation should be tested with final operating system software.

Learn more about using Apple's beta software