Model your schema with SwiftData

Written by Cihat Gündüz

Description: Learn how to use schema macros and migration plans with SwiftData to build more complex features for your app. We'll show you how to fine-tune your persistence with @Attribute and @Relationship options. Learn how to exclude properties from your data model with @Transient and migrate from one version of your schema to the next with ease. To get the most out of this session, we recommend first watching "Meet SwiftData" and "Build an app with SwiftData" from WWDC23.

Utilizing schema macros

  • import SwiftData and mark class with @Model to create schema
  • Use @Attribute(.unique) to make field unique, if already exists, then "upsert" will happen, updating existing data (insert -> update)
  • Uniqueness available for primitive value types: Numeric, String, UUID – can also decorate relationships
  • Renaming variables without any attributes generates new properties and deletes old
  • To keep data but rename field, specify @Attribute(originalName: "oldName") to map data
  • @Attribute also supports storing large data externally, supplying support for Transformables, integrate with Spotlight, modify hash
  • SwiftData implicitly discoveres (inverse) relationships between models for fields like var bucketList: [BucketListItem]? = []
  • The default deletion strategy for relationships when no annotations provided is "nil out"
  • To delete relationships alongside, specify attribute @Relationship(.cascade) explicitly
  • @Relationship modifier also supports originalName and constraints on toMany for min/max count constraints, plus modifying hash
  • To exclude a stored property from the schema, annotate it with @Transient – a default value is required

Evolving schemas

  • Define an enum conforming to VersionedSchema and put your models inside the enum (used as a namespace)
  • Order versions with SchemaMigrationPlan
  • Define migration stage: Lightweight (no code required), Custom (code needed)
  • Provide migrationPlan to ModelContainer

Example for VersionedSchema:

enum SampleTripsSchemaV2: VersionedSchema {
  static var models: [any PersistentModel.Type] {
    [Trip.self, BucketListItem.self, LivingAccommodation.self]
  final class Trip {
    var name: String

    var destination: String
    var start_date: Date
    var end_date: Date
    var bucketList: [BucketListItem]? = []
    var livingAccommodation: LivingAccommodation?
  // other models

Example for SchemaMigrationPlan:

enum SampleTripsMigrationPlan: SchemaMigrationPlan {
  static var schemas: [any VersionedSchema.Type] {
    [SampleTripsSchemaV1.self, SampleTripsSchemaV2.self, SampleTripsSchemaV3.self]

  static var stages: [MigrationStage] { [migrateV1toV2] }

  static let migrateVltoV2 = MigrationStage.custom(
    fromVersion: SampleTripsSchemaV1.self, 
    toVersion: SampleTripsSchemaV2.self,
    willMigrate: { context in
      let trips = try? context.fetch(FetchDescriptor<SampleTripsSchemaV1.Trip> ())
      // De-duplicate Trip instances here..
      try? ()
    didMigrate: nil

Example for passing migration plan to model container:

struct TripsApp: App {
  let container = ModelContainer(for: Trip.self, migrationPlan: SampleTripsMigrationPlan.self)
  var body: some Scene {
    WindowGroup {

Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃


Written by

Cihat Gündüz

Cihat Gündüz

📱Indie iOS Developer, 🎬Content Creator for 👨🏻‍💻Developers. 👾Twitch-Streamer & ▶️YouTuber.