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How to move to the next UITextField when the user presses return

Paul Hudson       @twostraws

If you’re in a situation where your iOS app has multiple UITextField instances lined up, users expect to be able to move between them by pressing Next/Return on their on-screen keyboard. There is no built-in way of making this happen, so we need to write code ourselves using one of several approaches.

The easiest approach is using view tags: give your text fields incrementing tag numbers, then make them all point to a common delegate – it might be your view controller, but it doesn’t need to be.

Once that’s done you can use the becomeFirstResponder() and resignFirstResponder() methods to manipulate which view is in control like this:

func textFieldShouldReturn(_ textField: UITextField) -> Bool {
    let nextTag = textField.tag + 1

    if let nextResponder = textField.superview?.viewWithTag(nextTag) {
        nextResponder.becomeFirstResponder()
    } else {
        textField.resignFirstResponder()
    }

    return true
}

If you’re desperately opposed to using tags, the other solution is to place your labels in an array, find the position of the text field that triggered the event, then move one down in the array.

Note: If you ever need to force the first responder to resign itself and aren’t sure which text field is in control, it’s easier to use view.endEditing(true).

Available from iOS 2.0

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

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