Explore WKWebView additions

Description: Explore the latest updates to WKWebView. We’ll show you how to use APIs to manipulate web content without JavaScript, explore delegates that can help with WebRTC and Downloads, and share how you can easily create a richer web experience within your app.

What's new in SFSafariViewController

  • New API to bring one of your app extensions to a customized button on SFSafariViewController.
  • Tapping that button will run your app extensions directly from SFSafariViewController's toolbar, including running JavaScript on the page
import UIKit
import SafariServices

class ViewController: UIViewController {
  func showSafariViewController (pageURL: URL) {
    let configuration = SFSafariViewController.Configuration()
    configuration.activityButton = SFSafariViewController.ActivityButton(
      templateImage: UlImage(named: "example_image")!,
      extensionIdentifier: "com.example.extension"
    let safariViewController = SFSafariViewController(url: pageURL, configuration: configuration)
    present(safariViewController, animated: true)

For anything more than this, you will need to use WKWebView.

What's new in WKWebView

  • new APIs to allow you to easily interact with the content in your web view without having to deal with injecting JavaScript:
    • access theme and related colors for a website
    • manage text interaction
    • control media playback
  • new browser-level APIs, previously only available to Safari.app:
    • disable HTTPS upgrade
    • control media capture (getUserMedia)
    • manage downloads

Access colors

Get themeColor:

class ViewController : UIViewController {
  var headerView: UIView
  var webView: WKWebView
  var observations: [NSKevValueObservation] = []

  override func viewDidLoad() {
    let observation = webView.observe(\.themeColor) { // 👈🏻
      [unowned self] webView, _ in
    observations.append (observation)

If themeColor isn't set, there's an alternate calculated background color exposed as underPageBackgroundColor:

class ViewController : UIViewController {
  var headerView: UIView
  var webView: WKWebView
  var observations: [NSKeyValueObservation] = []
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    let observation = webView.observe(\.underPageBackgroundColor) { // 👈🏻
      [unowned self] webView,_ in
      self.headerView.backgroundColor = webView.underPageBackgroundColor
    observations.append (observation)

Text interaction

Disable/enable text interaction:

override func loadView(){
  let preferences = WKPreferences()
  preferences.textInteractionEnabled = false
  let webConfiguration = WKWebViewConfiguration()
  configuration.preferences = preferences

  webView = WKWebView(frame: .zero, configuration: preferences)


Media playback

Pause all media:

await webView.pauseAllMediaPlayback()

Close all media windows:

await webView.closeAllMediaPresentations()

Request media state:

let playbackState = await webView.requestMediaPlaybackState()

Set Media Playback Suspended State

await webView.setAllMediaPlaybackSuspended(true)

Disable HTTPS upgrade

override func loadView(){
  let webConfiguration = WKWebViewConfiguration()
  webConfiguration.upgradeknownHostsToHTTPS = false
  webView = WKWebView(frame: .zero, configuration: webConfiguration)

Control media capture (getUserMedia)

  • WKWebView supports getUserMedia from iOS 14.3; which allows WebRTC functions to work inside your app
  • From iOS 15, you can load your web content from a custom scheme handler; the user request prompt will show your app as the origin of the request, rather than show a request from the website URL
  • New api to prompt user for camera and microphone permissions when working with web content
// Prompt for microphone access only
class ViewController: UIViewController, WKUIDelegate{
  var webView: WKWebView
  override func viewDidLoad() { 
    webView.uiDelegate = self
    webView.load(URLRequest (url: URL(string: "https://recordMyMic.example.org")!))

  func webView(
    _ webView: WKWebView,
    decideMediaCapturePermissionFor origin: WKSecurityOrigin,
    initiatedByFrame frame: WKFrameInfo,
    type: WKMediaCaptureType
  ) async -> WKPermissionDecision {
    return type == .microphone? .prompt: .deny

Manage downloads

Three ways to initiate a download from the web:

  1. The Web Content can initiate a download via Javascript:
let a = document.createElement('a'):
let b = new Blob([1,2,3]);
a.href = URL.createObjectURL (b);
a.download = "filename.dat":
  1. The server can initiate a download by responding like this, after calling a loadRequest on your web view
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="filename.dat"
Content-Length: 100
  1. App via new API
class ViewController : UIViewController, WKDownloadDelegate {
  @IBOutlet var textField: UITextField!
  @IBOutlet var webView: WKWebView!
  @IBAction func downloadFile() {
    guard let url = URL(string: textField.text ??"') else { return }
    async {
      let download = await webView.startDownload(using: URLRequest (url: url))
      download.delegate = self
  • Whatever method you use, when you get the WKDownload object, you need to set the delegate property on that object to be able to tell it where to write the bytes to disk. If you do not, the download will automatically be cancelled

Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃


Written by

Federico Zanetello

Federico Zanetello

Software engineer with a strong passion for well-written code, thought-out composable architectures, automation, tests, and more.