Thinking Out Loud

Adaptability Changes in iOS 8.3

Wed, Apr 08, 2015

I’ve already written about Adaptability a bit, but iOS 8.3 was released today and with it we got a few new additions.

Adaptability Prior to iOS 8.3

Before iOS 8.3, Adaptability was a way to adapt a modal style presentation (-[UIViewController presentViewController:animated:]) from it’s original style to something new when the horizontal size class changed from Regular to Compact. For example, lets say I create a view controller and set its modalPresentationStyle = .Popover. On iPad — which always has a Regular-Regular1 size classe — the view controller would appear in a popover, just like you’d expect. If it were presented on an iPhone 6 Plus in landscape — which has a Regular-Compact environment — we would also get a popover presentation. If we then rotated that iPhone 6 Plus into portrait — Compact-Regular — the popover presentation would adapt into a full screen2 presentation.

What this means is that the system defines Any-Compact as irregular and causes that type of presentation to take on its adaptive presentation style. The documentation for -[UIPresentationController adaptivePresentationStyle] even states:

“Returns the presentation style to use when the presented view controller becomes horizontally compact.”

New in iOS 8.3

iOS 8.3 thinks about Adaptability a little differently, and it’s something to take note of. Adaptability is no longer focused solely on the horizontal size class. Under iOS 8.3, UIAdaptivePresentationControllerDelegate gained two new methods, but we’re going to focus on this one:

- (UIModalPresentationStyle)adaptivePresentationStyleForPresentationController:(UIPresentationController *)controller traitCollection:(UITraitCollection *)traitCollection;

Notice the addition of the UITraitCollection argument. This now means that we can decide what size class combinations deserve an adaptive style.

iOS 8.3 Popover Gotcha

I chose the Popover example earlier for a reason. When you start building your apps against the iOS 8.3 SDK you’ll notice that Popovers now display as FormSheets on iPhone 6 Plus in landscape. This took me by surprise. Finally I noticed the new API and adjusted my code according. What I figured out was that by default, UIPopoverPresentationController now chooses an adaptive style of FormSheet for a Regular-Compact environment. I’m very happy that we have public API to account for this new change, but I still feel like it was an odd change to make in a point release.

The Future of Adaptability

With this new API, Adaptability no longer means horizontally compact. I think Apple’s new definition is not Regular in either axis. If one of the size classes is not Regular, the presentation needs to be adapted. Currently we only have two3 size classes — Compact and Regular — but Apple could introduce more4 in the future. For now we can think about Any-Compact or Compact-Any as adaptive sizes, but I have a feeling we should internalize Any-!Regular and !Regular-Any as adaptive. Put another way, in the future, being Adaptable may not only mean accounting for a smaller trait collections; It may also mean accounting for larger ones.

  1. When talking about size classes I use the shorthand X-Y where X is the horizontal size class and Y is the vertical size class. 

  2. Full screen is just the default. There are several ways to change this. (UIPresentationController’s adaptivePresentationStyle property and UIAdaptivePresentationControllerDelegate’s various methods.) 

  3. Three if you count Unspecified. 

  4. Maybe one for the rumored iPad Pro or maybe even Apple TV?