WWDC22 SALE: Save 50% on all my Swift books and bundles! >>

How to use try/catch in Swift to handle exceptions

Swift version: 5.6

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

The try/catch syntax was added in Swift 2.0 to make exception handling clearer and safer. It's made up of three parts: do starts a block of code that might fail, catch is where execution gets transferred if any errors occur, and any function calls that might fail need to be called using try.

Here's a working example that loads an input.txt file from the app bundle into a string:

if let filename = Bundle.main.path(forResource: "input", ofType: "txt") {
    do {
        let str = try String(contentsOfFile: filename)
    } catch {
        print("The file could not be loaded")

There are two other ways of using try, but neither are really recommended. The first is like this:

let filename = "somefile.txt"
let str = try! String(contentsOfFile: filename)

Note the exclamation mark: try!. This means "I realize this call might throw an exception, but trust me: it never, ever will." This is useful only if you're 100% sure the call is safe. In our example we're loading a file from the app bundle, and if that file isn't there it means our app is corrupted, so it's OK to use here. You don't need do/catch when you use try!.

The second option is try? which means "if this call throws an exception, just return nil instead." This is closer to the Objective-C way of handling errors, which was a bit scruffy. If this is your preferred way of handling errors, then go for it! You don't need do/catch when use try?, but you should check and unwrap the result carefully.

Hacking with Swift is sponsored by RevenueCat

SPONSORED You know StoreKit, but you don’t want to do StoreKit. RevenueCat makes it easy to deploy, manage, and analyze in-app subscriptions on iOS and Android so you can focus on building your app.

Explore the docs

Sponsor Hacking with Swift and reach the world's largest Swift community!

Available from iOS 7.0

Similar solutions…

About the Swift Knowledge Base

This is part of the Swift Knowledge Base, a free, searchable collection of solutions for common iOS questions.

Buy Pro Swift Buy Swift Design Patterns Buy Testing Swift Buy Hacking with iOS Buy Swift Coding Challenges Buy Swift on Sundays Volume One Buy Server-Side Swift (Vapor Edition) Buy Advanced iOS Volume One Buy Advanced iOS Volume Two Buy Advanced iOS Volume Three Buy Hacking with watchOS Buy Hacking with tvOS Buy Hacking with macOS Buy Dive Into SpriteKit Buy Swift in Sixty Seconds Buy Objective-C for Swift Developers Buy Server-Side Swift (Kitura Edition) Buy Beyond Code

Was this page useful? Let us know!

Average rating: 4.6/5

Unknown user

You are not logged in

Log in or create account

Link copied to your pasteboard.