SF Symbols in SwiftUI

Description: Discover how you can incorporate SF Symbols into your SwiftUI app. We’ll explore basic techniques for presenting symbols, customizing their size, and showing different variants. We’ll also take you through the latest updates to symbol colorization and help you pick the right tool for your app’s needs.

How to use them

  • via Images, e.g. Image(systemName: "heart")
  • via Labels, e.g. Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    • a Label is a general description of this text + image pairing and will adapt its behavior to the context where it's shown: sometimes the image will be shown first, sometimes second, sometimes the text is hidden
    • via Text string interpolation:
Text("""
    Thalia, Paul, and
    3 others \(Image(systemName: "chevron.forward"))
""")

Accessibility

  • Label is great for accessibility, as the Label's text will be read
  • for Images:
    • sometimes SwiftUI provides a label based on a system symbol's content
    • you can use accessibilityLabel("description") to provide that information
    • for custom symbols, you can provide a localization string for the symbol name (or use the accessibilityLabel modifier above)

Style

  • By default SwiftUI uses the Monochrome rendering, which default to black or white in light mode or dark mode.
  • You can set the foregroundStyle(_:) to a specific color, or to more semantic values, like the current tint or secondary style:
Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .foregroundStyle(.red)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .foregroundStyle(.tint)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .foregroundStyle(.secondary)
  • You can change both text and font size
    • if you use text style, like .body or .caption then the text and symbol will scale with dynamic type
    • if you choose a fixed size, then they stay constant
Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .font(.body)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .font(.caption)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .font(.system(size: 10))
  • you can change just he Label image by using the imageScale(_:) view modifier:
Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .imageScale(.large)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .imageScale(.medium)

Label("Heart", systemImage: "heart")
    .imageScale(.small)
  • variants (NEW) - if we use the base symbol, Label will automatically pick the right variant, like outlined or fill, based on the context (e.g. a TabView)
  • new symbolVariant(_:) view modifier to set the variant to use
List {
    Label("Ace of Hearts", systemImage: "suit.heart")
    Label("Ace of Spades", systemImage: "suit.spade")
    Label("Ace of Diamonds", systemImage: "suit.diamond")
    Label("Ace of Clubs", systemImage: "suit.club")
    Label("Queen of Hearts", image: "queen.heart")
}
.symbolVariant(.fill)
  • rendering modes
    • monochrome - to have a constant tint on the whole symbol
    • multicolor - to show colors for what each symbol represents
      • If a symbol doesn't have a multicolor representation, it will fall back to the monochrome rendering mode
    • hierarchical - uses the current foreground style to apply a single color to the symbol, but also adds multiple levels of opacity, to emphasize the key elements of the symbol
    • palette - allows maximum control over the coloring of the layers of a symbol
  • new symbolRenderingMode(_:) to pick which rendering our symbols should use
  • use foregroundStyle(_:) to use the palette rendering
    • you can specify up to three styles to control each level of the symbol (one for each level of the hierarchy)
    • when you declare only two styles, e.g. .foregroundStyle(.white, .black), the second color will be applied to both secondary and tertiary levels
    • you can apply any ShapeStyle with foregroundStyle(_:), not just color: e.g. .regularMaterial to blur the background behind a symbol, .secondary to get a vibrant effect in front of blurs ...)
Button(action: {}) {
    Image(systemName: "arrow.uturn.backward")
}
.symbolVariant(.circle.fill)
.foregroundStyle(.white, .yellow, .red)

Button(action: {}) {
    Image(systemName: "arrow.uturn.backward")
}
.symbolVariant(.circle.fill)
.foregroundStyle(.white, .red)

Button(action: {}) {
    Image(systemName: "arrow.uturn.backward")
}
.symbolVariant(.circle.fill)
.foregroundStyle(.white, .secondary)

Button(action: {}) {
    Image(systemName: "arrow.uturn.backward")
}
.symbolVariant(.circle.fill)
.foregroundStyle(.red, .regularMaterial)
  • Use the SF Symbols app to preview your SF Symbols customization

Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃

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Written by

Federico Zanetello

Federico Zanetello

iOS Engineer with strong passion for Swift, minimalism, and design. When he’s not busy automating things, he can be found writing at FIVE STARS and/or playing with the latest shiny toys.