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How to use @ObservedObject to manage state from external objects

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 12.0

When using observed objects there are three key things we need to work with: the ObservableObject protocol is used with some sort of class that can store data, the @ObservedObject property wrapper is used inside a view to store an observable object instance, and the @Published property wrapper is added to any properties inside an observed object that should cause views to update when they change.

As an example, here’s a UserSettings class that conforms to ObservableObject:

class UserSettings: ObservableObject {
    @Published var score = 0

I know that doesn’t look like much code, but that’s because SwiftUI is doing a remarkable amount on our behalf! There are two things that matter in there:

  1. The ObservableObject conformance allows instances of this class to be used inside views, so that when important changes happen the view will reload.
  2. The @Published property wrapper tells SwiftUI that changes to score should trigger view reloads.

We can use that UserSettings class inside a view like this:

struct ContentView: View {
    @ObservedObject var settings = UserSettings()

    var body: some View {
        VStack {
            Text("Your score is \(settings.score)")
            Button(action: {
                self.settings.score += 1
            }) {
                Text("Increase Score")

As you can see, other than using the @ObservedObject property wrapper with settings, everything else more or less looks the same – SwiftUI takes care of all the implementation details for us.

There is one important difference, though: the settings property isn’t declared as private. This is because bound objects can be used by more than one view, so it’s common to share it openly.

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