Magical View Rotation with StackView

Last week, I spoke at and attended iOSDevCampDC, where I had the pleasure of listening to @atomicbird‘s great talk on StackViews. I already wrote about how easy it is to do a simple animation with StackView, but I was also impressed by how easy it is to support screen rotation from Portrait to Landscape using StackViews.

As an example, take a simple view that has an image and some text. It looks great in Portrait, but when the screen is rotated, it’s not quiet as nice…


Well, with only one simple StackView change in the Storyboard (no code needed), you can have a rotation that makes sense:


The Setup

The initial setup is a simple Vertical StackView that has an ImageView and a TextView in it:


The One Weird Trick

The key here is that we need to change the StackView from being Vertical to being Horizontal when the orientation changes to Landscape.

To see this in action, I recommend changing to Landscape mode in the Storyboard (love this chart in Xcode 8!):


Notice that the storyboard in Xcode 8 conveniently tells you that in Landscape, the Height is Compact. Seriously loving Xcode 8 because of this!

Now the trick is to set the StackView to be Horizontal when the Height is Compact. To do that, select the StackView, and go to the Attributes Inspector. You’ll see the tiniest + under the StackView Axis property – click on it!


Now select Any Width -> Compact Height -> Any Gamut:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 12.36.47 PM

The key here is of course the Compact Height. Now you can change the StackView layout to Horizontal in Compact Height mode!


That’s it! You will immediately see the change right there in the Storyboard without having to run the app:


One thing to note here is that there is a bug in the Storyboard – when you change the orientation, there might be a warning about your layout. Just change the hugging priority or compression (doesn’t matter which one) by one and back again in your StackView AutoLayout, and it’ll fix the warning ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I haven’t played much with changing my layout for different rotations / screens, so this is definitely a good thing to keep in mind. It doesn’t sound as fun to have to manually completely change AutoLayout for different compression sizes, especially when a product manager asks you to insert “just one small thing” in there… Thx again @atomicbird for sharing this small but very powerful trick with us!

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  • Sam Willsea

    Finding a solution for this exact rotation pattern has been on my back burner for months. Thank you for sharing such a painless fix!

  • Laura Dickey

    There were some bugs in the early implementations of StackView that prevented this from working, but totally agree that StackViews make this one particular UI challenge so much easier — can’t wait to try XCode 8 with it as well!

  • Vlad

    This is easy solution, but it’s not nice. The animation is really bad and looks cheap. I think for building an app for real user – it would be better to provide beautiful animation. So, just for demos