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How to create expanding lists

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 14.0 beta 1

New in iOS 14

SwiftUI’s List view has an enhanced initializer that lets us create expanding sections with child elements – they will be rendered with tappable arrows that open out to reveal children when tapped.

To use this form of List you need to have data in a precise form: your data model should have an optional array of children that are of the same type, so you can create a tree. Normally you’re likely to load this kind of stuff from JSON or similar, but to keep things simple here I’ll just paste in some hard-coded data so you can see what it ought to look like.

Once you have your data in place, you can load it into a list by passing in your array of data plus a keypath to where the children are, which in our case will be \.items. You’ll then get a regular closure where you can provide your row data, just like normal.

Here’s the code:

struct Bookmark: Identifiable {
    let id = UUID()
    let name: String
    let icon: String
    var items: [Bookmark]?

    // some example websites
    static let apple = Bookmark(name: "Apple", icon: "1.circle")
    static let bbc = Bookmark(name: "BBC", icon: "square.and.pencil")
    static let swift = Bookmark(name: "Swift", icon: "bolt.fill")
    static let twitter = Bookmark(name: "Twitter", icon: "mic")

    // some example groups
    static let example1 = Bookmark(name: "Favorites", icon: "star", items: [Bookmark.apple, Bookmark.bbc, Bookmark.swift, Bookmark.twitter])
    static let example2 = Bookmark(name: "Recent", icon: "timer", items: [Bookmark.apple, Bookmark.bbc, Bookmark.swift, Bookmark.twitter])
    static let example3 = Bookmark(name: "Recommended", icon: "hand.thumbsup", items: [Bookmark.apple, Bookmark.bbc, Bookmark.swift, Bookmark.twitter])

struct ContentView: View {
    let items: [Bookmark] = [.example1, .example2, .example3]

    var body: some View {
        List(items, children: \.items) { row in
            Image(systemName: row.icon)

Download this as an Xcode project

Tip: That’s just placeholder data so I’ve repeated the same bookmarks several times, but hopefully you get the point.

When that code runs you’ll see three rows for our groups, plus disclosure indicators that fold out to reveal their children.

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