Building the new version of the app Blocos de Rua I was challenged to customize the
UITabBar so it meets what the designer wants. In iOS 5 this is pretty easy to do but I haven’t figured out the proper way to do it from the beginning, this post is my findings on how to do it properly by correctly using the new iOS 5 APIs to customize appearance.
The final look:
Keep reading to see the code.
The appearance APIs in iOS 5 are great. They reduce lots of custom
drawRect: that used to be necessary to customize the default UIKit components. The first time I tried to customized the tab bar I had some problems with images been offset upwards because I was using the wrong methods. First thing I learned, the
UITabBarItem is the tab’s icon not a image for the whole tab with background, icon and label.
UITabBar is a peace of cake when you understand how the APIs should be used, take a look:
From inside out, the UITabBar
First - usually in your app delegate - set the image for the entire tab bar’s background, which represents the “normal” state of all tabs. The dimension is 320 x 49 points.
Then configure the selected state of a tab. This is necessary because in this app I don’t want the default white highlight that represents the selected tab. Pay attention to the image’s width, it must be the same of a single tab. In my case 320/4, 80 points wide.
Last but not least, the UITabBarItem
Unlike the default behavior the image shouldn’t change when the tab is selected, this is why I set the same image in both states. For each
UIViewController that will be part of the tab bar you need to configure the tab image like this:
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The last detail is the title’s color on the unselected tab, they can’t be the default gray color. To change the color we need a dictionary of attributes whit the
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That’s all folks.