Launch Screens and the SwiftUI App Life Cycle on iOS 14

I have decided to rewrite Bouncer from scratch using the latest SwiftUI version available in iOS 14. This includes using the new SwiftUI App Lifecycle, which allows you to skip UIKit entirely, alongside the AppDelegate and Storyboards.

As I got closer to finishing the app, I decided to replace the default (white) Splash Screen with something better, but since there was no Storyboard anymore, I had no idea how. After a little digging, I could not find much in the documentation, but after watching the “What’s new on SwiftUI” video from WWDC20 and digging a little into Plist options, found that Apple has provided a new Key in the info.plist to help you create a basic LaunchScreen:  The “Launch Screen” (UILaunchScreen)

The Setting:

By default is empty, but autocomplete helps you figure out what you can do with it. Unfortunately it does not allow much customization and you cannot create your custom design using SwiftUI, which I was expecting, but there’s enough to get by.

Here’s a quick overview of the available options

Background Color

You can use any named color from your Asset Catalog, which allows you to define colors for Both Light and Dark mode. Just set the value to the color name in your Asset Catalog. No quotes or anything extra is needed.

Image Name

This option allows you to add an image from your asset catalog. It will be centered on the screen by default, and you can use scaled (@2x, @3x) versions. The image is displayed on top of the specified background color, and it can include an alpha channel (PNG) for transparency. (See example below)

Image respects safe area insets

In case the image exceeds the device screen size, setting this to NO will allow it to go over safe areas (top and bottom) and cover the entire screen. “NO” is the default behavior.

Show Navigation/Tab Bar/Toolbar options

As you may know, Apple’s recommendation for Launch Screens is to mimic the initial state of your app with an empty view, so the app seems fast and responsive on launch.

These options will allow you to display a mocked, navigation bar, tab bar, or toolbar on the Launch Screen. When enabling them, you will have the option to provide an image from your asset catalog, but if you leave it blank, a default UI empty navigation bar, tab bar, or toolbar is used instead. (See example below)

Here’s an example:

On the left, I’m using background color and a transparent version of the Bouncer logo. Note that the image is not resized or scaled, so you will need to provide the correct dimensions. In this case, I added @1x, @2x, and @3x versions, being the smallest 200x200px.

On the right, I left the background color empty, and just added the default NavigationBar and TabBar options.

That’s it!. Pretty straightforward huh?. Feel free to follow me and reach out on Twitter if you have any questions or feedback.

Update: As of iOS 14.4, and as mentioned in the comments, images sometimes might appear stretched, and the only solution seems to fall back to Storyboards for a while. Adrian Tineo kindly wrote a guest post with a temporary solution.

8 thoughts on “Launch Screens and the SwiftUI App Life Cycle on iOS 14

  1. The launch screen display is very inconsistent for both simulators and devices. The majority of the time, the launch image is stretched.

  2. I could solve the issue of the stretched image by providing the same SVG file as the 1x, 2x, and 3x assets. Hope that helps.

  3. Thank you, Daniel. I’ve been doing this for awhile, but I have so much trouble with it. Using the info.plist instead of storyboard, I compile an app… and sometimes it works as intended, but sometimes the png image is resized and stretch (aspect ratio changed) to fit the entire display. When it works which way appears entirely random. Have you not experienced this? I’m looking for an alternative or a fix…

    1. Hey Anton!.

      I have seen the same issue since the early betas and haven’t found a solution yet. Image seems to stretch after a few launches, usually in the simulator.

      Are you having this issue in production apps?

      1. Hi, I have the exact same issue, in the simulator AND in production app on devices.
        It becomes clear that using a small logo is not following the Apple’s recommandation, and we’d better provide a fullscreen image mimicking the app’s empy interface.

        1. Yes, unfortunately, the issue is still present. However, I haven’t seen it in production apps (downloaded from the app store). Mimicking the empty interface is what Apple recommends, so you’re more than ok with that approach!.

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