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

How to use SFSafariViewController to show web pages in your app

Written by Paul Hudson    @twostraws

If a user clicks a web link in your app, you used to have two options before iOS 9.0 came along: exit your app and launch the web page in Safari, or bring up a new web view controller that you've designed, along with various user interface controls. Exiting your app is rarely what users want, so unsurprisingly lots of app ended up creating mini-Safari experiences to browse inside their app.

As of iOS 9.0, Apple allows you to embed Safari right into your app, which means you get its great user interface, you get its access to stored user data, and you even get Reader Mode right out of the box. To get started, import the SafariServices framework into your view controller, like this:

import SafariServices

Now make your view controller conform to the SFSafariViewControllerDelegate protocol, then give it a try:

let urlString = ""

if let url = URL(string: urlString) {
    let vc = SFSafariViewController(url: url, entersReaderIfAvailable: true)
    vc.delegate = self

    present(vc, animated: true)

That's all it takes to launch Safari inside your app now – cool, huh? We need to assign ourselves as the delegate of the Safari view controller because when the user taps "Done" inside Safari we should dismiss it and take any other appropriate action.

To do that, add this method to your view controller:

func safariViewControllerDidFinish(_ controller: SFSafariViewController) {
    dismiss(animated: true)

Available from iOS 9.0 – see Hacking with Swift tutorial 32

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 premium

The Hacking with Swift guide book helps you learn faster, plus get an Xcode tips and tricks video and Swift wall chart.

Click here to visit the Hacking with Swift store >>