NEW: Master Swift design patterns with my latest book! >>

How to add blur and vibrancy using UIVisualEffectView

Written by Paul Hudson    @twostraws

As of iOS 8.0, visual effects such as blur and vibrancy are a cinch because Apple provides a built in UIView subclass that does all the hard work: UIVisualEffectView. For example, if you want to blur an image, you would use this code:

let imageView = UIImageView(image: UIImage(named: "example"))
imageView.frame = view.bounds
imageView.contentMode = .scaleToFill

let blurEffect = UIBlurEffect(style: .dark)
let blurredEffectView = UIVisualEffectView(effect: blurEffect)
blurredEffectView.frame = imageView.bounds

As well as blurring content, Apple also lets you add a "vibrancy" effect to your views – this is a translucency effect designed to ensure that text is readable when it's over any kind of blurred background, and it's used to create that soft glow effect you see in the notification center.

We could extend the previous example so that it adds a segmented control in the middle of the view, using a vibrancy effect. This is accomplished by created a second UIVisualEffectView inside the first one, this time using UIVibrancyEffect to create the glow. Note that you need to use the same blur type for both your visual effect views, otherwise the glow effect will be incorrect.

let segmentedControl = UISegmentedControl(items: ["First Item", "Second Item"])
segmentedControl.sizeToFit() =

let vibrancyEffect = UIVibrancyEffect(blurEffect: blurEffect)
let vibrancyEffectView = UIVisualEffectView(effect: vibrancyEffect)
vibrancyEffectView.frame = imageView.bounds


Warning: you need to add child views to the contentView property of a UIVisualEffectView otherwise they will not be drawn correctly.

Available from iOS 8.0

Did this solution work for you? Please pass it on!

Other people are reading…

About the Swift Knowledge Base

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

Upgrade to the premium experience

Get all 40 projects in PDF and ePub, plus exclusive content that will take your Swift learning to the next level – buy the Hacking with Swift book today!

Click here to visit the Hacking with Swift store >>