iOS 14 Updates in UIKit: ColorPicker, DatePicker, Menus and Actions

Updated on October 6th, 2020

⏱ Reading Time: 2 mins

By the time SwiftUI was announced and given to developers in WWDC 2019, it was made obvious that this was going to be the future for developing applications for all Apple devices. However, even though SwiftUI might be the framework that will dominate on UI creation sooner or later, UIKit is still here, and WWDC 2020 came to prove that with some great additions and improvements announced this year.

Most of those improvements took place for making it easier to port iPadOS apps to macOS and achieve the maximum possible compatibility. That doesn’t mean though that they can’t be used in apps targeted for iOS or iPadOS only. But besides that, I believe there’s a conclusion that everyone ends up with after studying these improvements; they are features that should have been made available years ago. For example, it’s now possible to use a UIAction in order to set the action of a UIButton (and other controls), instead of specifying a separate action method. In projects with lot of code, this could save enough lines and time to developers.

It also seems that special care was given to pickers, with a brand new picker being available starting from iOS 14; the color picker. It resembles the color picker we find on macOS, and it provides a variety of methods for selecting a color. It even has an eyedropper tool in order to pick a color from the displayed content on screen. But that’s not the only one. Date picker has been improved as well, with the traditional wheels becoming optional and two more appearance modes becoming available; compact for limited space areas, and inline for presenting a full calendar within a view.

There’s also another new feature that people will appreciate a lot. That is the capability to present menus either on touch down or by long pressing on UIButtons and UIBarButtonItems. They’re great for providing users with options or secondary actions when interacting with these controls. The cherry on the cake is that menu items can be static, or be loaded asynchronously.

All the above consist of an outline of what we’re going to talk about in this post. To summarize our roadmap, we’ll start with the color picker and then we’ll continue by meeting the new modes of the date picker. After that, we’ll dive into the menus presentation, and we’ll finally close the post with improvements in UIActions and where these can be used.

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