Graphics and Animation in iOS

iOS includes an integrated stack of graphics technologies that provide the foundation for building engaging visual experiences. Specialized frameworks — which handle 2D, 3D, and animation — give your app access to the amazing graphics capabilities of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Core Animation

Core Animation lets you build dynamic, animated user experiences using an easy programming model based on compositing independent layers of graphics. Animations are created by defining key steps along a path, describing how the layers of text, images, and OpenGL ES graphics will interact. Core Animation processes the definitions at runtime, smoothly moving the visual elements from one step to the next, filling in the interim frames of animation automatically.

Just like many of the transitions seen in iOS, you can use Core Animation to create dramatic user experiences by smoothly moving user interface elements around the screen, fading them in and out, and adding effects – all with just a few lines of Core Animation code.


Tap into the graphics power of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the hardware-accelerated OpenGL ES API. OpenGL ES has a simpler API than its desktop counterpart but uses the same key concepts, including programmable shaders and extensions to make your 3D app or game stand out. Learn more

Core Image

Create amazing effects in your camera and image editing apps with Core Image. Core Image is a hardware-accelerated framework that provides an easy way to enhance photos and videos. Core Image provides several built-in filters, such as color effects, distortions and transitions. It also includes advanced features such as auto enhance, red-eye reduction and facial recognition. Learn more

Resolution Independence

The high pixel density of the Retina display makes text and graphics look smooth and continuous at any size. With resolution independence in iOS, a few changes to your app icons, graphics, and code will ensure that your app looks its best on any iOS device.

Quartz 2D

Quartz 2D is the powerful 2D graphics API for iOS. It offers professional-strength 2D graphics features such as Bézier curves, transformations, and gradients. Use Quartz 2D for custom interface elements to give a stylized look to your application. Because Quartz 2D is based on the Portable Document Format imaging model, it is a snap to display PDF documents as well.


Enable instant wireless printing from your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch apps. Users can automatically find printers that support AirPrint on their network and immediately print to them without needing to install drivers or download software.

Photo Library

UIKit provides access to the user’s photo library. The photo picker interface provides controls for navigating the user’s photo library and selecting an image to return to your app. You can also enable user editing controls and provide an interface to the camera, so photos taken can be loaded directly into your app.