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How to let users select text

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 13.0

New in iOS 15

Swift’s Text views represent static, unselectable text by default, but you can change that using the .textSelection() modifier with the .enabled value.

For example, this makes some text the user can select, and some the user cannot:

VStack(spacing: 50) {
    Text("You can't touch this")

    Text("Break it down!")
        .textSelection(.enabled)
}

Download this as an Xcode project

The line “You can't touch this” above the line “Break it down!”. A selection menu hovers over the second line.

When text is selected, the user automatically gains access to the regular text actions such as Copy and Share. However, right now at least the whole text area is copied – you don’t get a text selection loupe, so you can’t select just a few words.

Setting textSelection() on any kind of group of views will automatically make all text inside that group selectable. For example, we could make both text views in our previous example selectable by moving the modifier up to the stack:

VStack(spacing: 50) {
    Text("You can't touch this")
    Text("Break it down!")
}
.textSelection(.enabled)

Download this as an Xcode project

The line “You can't touch this” above the line “Break it down!”. A selection menu hovers over the first line.

You can even apply textSelection() to a list, in which case the text rows in the list become selectable:

List(0..<100) { index in
    Text("Row \(index)")
}
.textSelection(.enabled)

Download this as an Xcode project

A list consisting of rows of text. The first row has a selection menu hovering beneath it.

Tip: You need to press and hold directly on the text in a row rather than anywhere else.

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