A Newbie’s Information to NavigationSplitView in SwiftUI for iOS 16

In iOS 16, aside from introducing the brand new NavigationStack, Apple additionally launched a brand new view container named NavigationSplitView for builders to create two or three column navigation interface. If you wish to construct UI just like the inventory Mail app, it is best to take a look at this break up view element.

Whereas NavigationSplitView is extra appropriate for iPadOS and macOS apps, you may also apply it to apps for iPhone. The view element mechanically adapts itself for iPhone. As a substitute of displaying a multi-column interface, it creates a single-column expertise.

The brand new NavigationSplitView comes with numerous choices so that you can customise its look and operations. You may change the column width and programmatically present/conceal the columns.

On this tutorial, we are going to create a three-column navigation UI utilizing NavigationSplitView.

Let’s get began.

The Fundamental Utilization of NavigationSplitView

The NavigationSplitView helps each two-column and three-column navigation expertise. Their implementations are fairly comparable. To create a two-column navigation UI, you write the code like this:

For 3-column navigation interface, you add the content material parameter in between:

We’ll begin with the two-column navigation UI and ultimately construct the three-column design.

Constructing the 2-Column Navigation Interface

For those who’ve learn my earlier tutorial on the expandable record view, chances are you’ll know that I’m an enormous fan of La Marzocco. In that tutorial, I confirmed you tips on how to create an expandable record view with inset group fashion.

Now let’s flip this expandable record right into a two degree navigation interface just like the screenshot proven beneath:


Earlier than we create the break up view, let’s start with the information mannequin. We create a struct to mannequin a menu merchandise:

To make a nested record, the important thing right here is to incorporate a property that comprises an non-obligatory array of kids (i.e. subMenuItems). Word that the kids are of the identical sort of its mum or dad.

For the highest degree menu gadgets, we will create an array of MenuItem like this:

For every of the menu merchandise, we specify the array of the sub-menu gadgets. In case if there is no such thing as a sub-menu merchandise, you may omit the subMenuItems parameter or go it a nil worth. For the sub-menu gadgets, we will outline them like this:

To higher set up the information mannequin, we create a struct referred to as CoffeeEquipmentModel like this:

The mainMenuItems array holds the pattern menu gadgets. Each subMenuItems and menuItem are helper strategies for trying up a particular class or menu merchandise.

Now that we’ve ready the information mannequin, let’s transfer onto the implementation of the navigation break up view. Create a brand new file named TwoColumnSplitView.swift utilizing the SwiftUI view template. Replace the TwoColumnSplitView struct like this:

The primary closure of NavigationSplitView presents the principle menu merchandise. We use a Checklist view to loop by means of all mainMenuItems within the information mannequin and show every of the menu gadgets utilizing a HStack view.

We even have a state variable named selectedCategoryId, which is used to carry the chosen foremost menu merchandise.

For the element closure, that is the place the submenu merchandise is rendered. If a class is chosen, we name the subMenuItems technique to get the submenu gadgets for that exact class. We then show the submenu gadgets utilizing Checklist view. Conversely, if no class is chosen, we show a textual content message instructing the consumer to decide on a class.

When you made the modifications, it is best to see a two-column navigation UI within the Xcode preview.


Making a Three-Column Navigation Interface

Now that we’ve created a two-column navigation interface, let’s additional improve it to offer customers with a three-column navigation expertise. The additional column is used for displaying the picture of the chosen tools.


To transform the two-column navigation interface to three-column, we have to implement a further parameter (i.e. content material) for the NavigationSplitView. Let’s create a brand new view named ThreeColumnSplitView like this:

Principally, the code within the content material closure needs to be similar to you. The content material parameter is designed for displaying the submenu gadgets. Thus, we use the Checklist view to indicate the submenu gadgets for the chosen class.

When an merchandise is chosen within the submenu, the app exhibits the tools picture. That is achieved by the code written within the element closure.

After the code modifications, the preview pane ought to present you a two-column format.


By default, the primary column is hidden. You might want to faucet the menu button on the top-left nook to disclose it.

To regulate the visibility of the break up view, you may declare a state variable of the kind NavigationSplitViewVisibility and set its worth to .all:

When instantiating the NavigationSplitView, it has an choice parameter named columnVisibility. You may merely go the binding of columnVisibility to manage the visibility of the columns.


The NavigationSplitViewVisibility.all worth tells iPadOS to show all of the three columns. There are different choices together with:

  • .automated – Use the default main column visibility for the present system. That is the default setting.
  • .doubleColumn – Present the content material column and element space of a three-column navigation break up view.
  • .detailOnly – Disguise the main two columns of a three-column break up view. In different phrases, solely the element space exhibits.

Customizing the Fashion of Navigation Break up Views

Have you ever examined the app in iPad Portrait? By default, the element space takes up the entire display screen when the iPad system is in portrait mode. So, while you carry up the principle menu and submenu areas, the element space is hidden behind these two main columns.


For those who don’t like this fashion, you may change it by attaching the .navigationSplitViewStyle modifier to NavigationSplitView:

The default worth is ready to .automated. For those who set the worth to .balanced, it reduces the element space such that the 2 main columns can seem on the identical time.


What’s Subsequent

This tutorial offers you an introduction to NavigationSplitView in iOS 16. It’s very simple to create multi-column navigation expertise for iPad customers. Even if you happen to develop apps for iPhone customers, NavigationSplitView can adapt itself to suit the navigation expertise on narrower screens. For instance, when iPhone 13 Professional Max is in portrait mode, the break up view exhibits a one-column navigation. For those who rotate the system sideway, the break up view modifications to a multi-column format.

Subsequently, take a while to check this break up view element and apply it to your app each time this sort of UI is smart.

For reference, if you wish to study extra about NavigationSplitView, you may take a look at this WWDC video.

For those who take pleasure in this text and wish to dive deeper into SwiftUI, chances are you’ll take a look at our Mastering SwiftUI e book.

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