Add a Flutter screen to an iOS app

This guide describes how to add a single Flutter screen to an existing iOS app.

Start a FlutterEngine and FlutterViewController

To launch a Flutter screen from an existing iOS, you start a FlutterEngine and a FlutterViewController.

The FlutterEngine might have the same lifespan as your FlutterViewController or outlive your FlutterViewController.

See Loading sequence and performance for more analysis on the latency and memory trade-offs of pre-warming an engine.

Create a FlutterEngine

Where you create a FlutterEngine depends on your host app.

In this example, we create a FlutterEngine object inside a SwiftUI ObservableObject. We then pass this FlutterEngine into a ContentView using the environmentObject() property.

MyApp.swift
import SwiftUI
 import Flutter
 // The following library connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
 import FlutterPluginRegistrant

 class FlutterDependencies: ObservableObject {
   let flutterEngine = FlutterEngine(name: "my flutter engine")
   init(){
     // Runs the default Dart entrypoint with a default Flutter route.
     flutterEngine.run()
     // Connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
     GeneratedPluginRegistrant.register(with: self.flutterEngine);
   }
 }

 @main
 struct MyApp: App {
   // flutterDependencies will be injected using EnvironmentObject.
   @StateObject var flutterDependencies = FlutterDependencies()
     var body: some Scene {
       WindowGroup {
         ContentView().environmentObject(flutterDependencies)
       }
     }
 }

As an example, we demonstrate creating a FlutterEngine, exposed as a property, on app startup in the app delegate.

AppDelegate.swift
import UIKit
import Flutter
// The following library connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
import FlutterPluginRegistrant

@UIApplicationMain
class AppDelegate: FlutterAppDelegate { // More on the FlutterAppDelegate.
  lazy var flutterEngine = FlutterEngine(name: "my flutter engine")

  override func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: [UIApplication.LaunchOptionsKey: Any]?) -> Bool {
    // Runs the default Dart entrypoint with a default Flutter route.
    flutterEngine.run();
    // Connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
    GeneratedPluginRegistrant.register(with: self.flutterEngine);
    return super.application(application, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions: launchOptions);
  }
}

In this example, we create a FlutterEngine object inside a SwiftUI ObservableObject. We then pass this FlutterEngine into a ContentView using the environmentObject() property.

AppDelegate.h
@import UIKit;
@import Flutter;

@interface AppDelegate : FlutterAppDelegate // More on the FlutterAppDelegate below.
@property (nonatomic,strong) FlutterEngine *flutterEngine;
@end
AppDelegate.m
// The following library connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
#import <FlutterPluginRegistrant/GeneratedPluginRegistrant.h>

#import "AppDelegate.h"

@implementation AppDelegate

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application
    didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary<UIApplicationLaunchOptionsKey, id> *)launchOptions {
  self.flutterEngine = [[FlutterEngine alloc] initWithName:@"my flutter engine"];
  // Runs the default Dart entrypoint with a default Flutter route.
  [self.flutterEngine run];
  // Connects plugins with iOS platform code to this app.
  [GeneratedPluginRegistrant registerWithRegistry:self.flutterEngine];
  return [super application:application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:launchOptions];
}

@end

Show a FlutterViewController with your FlutterEngine

The following example shows a generic ContentView with a Button hooked to present a FlutterViewController. The FlutterViewController constructor takes the pre-warmed FlutterEngine as an argument. FlutterEngine is passed in as an EnvironmentObject via flutterDependencies.

ContentView.swift
import SwiftUI
import Flutter

struct ContentView: View {
  // Flutter dependencies are passed in an EnvironmentObject.
  @EnvironmentObject var flutterDependencies: FlutterDependencies

  // Button is created to call the showFlutter function when pressed.
  var body: some View {
    Button("Show Flutter!") {
      showFlutter()
    }
  }

func showFlutter() {
    // Get the RootViewController.
    guard
      let windowScene = UIApplication.shared.connectedScenes
        .first(where: { $0.activationState == .foregroundActive && $0 is UIWindowScene }) as? UIWindowScene,
      let window = windowScene.windows.first(where: \.isKeyWindow),
      let rootViewController = window.rootViewController
    else { return }

    // Create the FlutterViewController.
    let flutterViewController = FlutterViewController(
      engine: flutterDependencies.flutterEngine,
      nibName: nil,
      bundle: nil)
    flutterViewController.modalPresentationStyle = .overCurrentContext
    flutterViewController.isViewOpaque = false

    rootViewController.present(flutterViewController, animated: true)
  }
}

The following example shows a generic ViewController with a UIButton hooked to present a FlutterViewController. The FlutterViewController uses the FlutterEngine instance created in the AppDelegate.

ViewController.swift
import UIKit
import Flutter

class ViewController: UIViewController {
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()

    // Make a button to call the showFlutter function when pressed.
    let button = UIButton(type:UIButton.ButtonType.custom)
    button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(showFlutter), for: .touchUpInside)
    button.setTitle("Show Flutter!", for: UIControl.State.normal)
    button.frame = CGRect(x: 80.0, y: 210.0, width: 160.0, height: 40.0)
    button.backgroundColor = UIColor.blue
    self.view.addSubview(button)
  }

  @objc func showFlutter() {
    let flutterEngine = (UIApplication.shared.delegate as! AppDelegate).flutterEngine
    let flutterViewController =
        FlutterViewController(engine: flutterEngine, nibName: nil, bundle: nil)
    present(flutterViewController, animated: true, completion: nil)
  }
}

The following example shows a generic ViewController with a UIButton hooked to present a FlutterViewController. The FlutterViewController uses the FlutterEngine instance created in the AppDelegate.

ViewController.m
@import Flutter;
#import "AppDelegate.h"
#import "ViewController.h"

@implementation ViewController
- (void)viewDidLoad {
    [super viewDidLoad];

    // Make a button to call the showFlutter function when pressed.
    UIButton *button = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeCustom];
    [button addTarget:self
               action:@selector(showFlutter)
     forControlEvents:UIControlEventTouchUpInside];
    [button setTitle:@"Show Flutter!" forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    button.backgroundColor = UIColor.blueColor;
    button.frame = CGRectMake(80.0, 210.0, 160.0, 40.0);
    [self.view addSubview:button];
}

- (void)showFlutter {
    FlutterEngine *flutterEngine =
        ((AppDelegate *)UIApplication.sharedApplication.delegate).flutterEngine;
    FlutterViewController *flutterViewController =
        [[FlutterViewController alloc] initWithEngine:flutterEngine nibName:nil bundle:nil];
    [self presentViewController:flutterViewController animated:YES completion:nil];
}
@end

Now, you have a Flutter screen embedded in your iOS app.

Alternatively - Create a FlutterViewController with an implicit FlutterEngine

As an alternative to the previous example, you can let the FlutterViewController implicitly create its own FlutterEngine without pre-warming one ahead of time.

This is not usually recommended because creating a FlutterEngine on-demand could introduce a noticeable latency between when the FlutterViewController is presented and when it renders its first frame. This could, however, be useful if the Flutter screen is rarely shown, when there are no good heuristics to determine when the Dart VM should be started, and when Flutter doesn’t need to persist state between view controllers.

To let the FlutterViewController present without an existing FlutterEngine, omit the FlutterEngine construction, and create the FlutterViewController without an engine reference.

import SwiftUI
import Flutter

struct ContentView: View {
  var body: some View {
    Button("Show Flutter!") {
      openFlutterApp()
    }
  }

func openFlutterApp() {
    // Get the RootViewController.
    guard
      let windowScene = UIApplication.shared.connectedScenes
        .first(where: { $0.activationState == .foregroundActive && $0 is UIWindowScene }) as? UIWindowScene,
      let window = windowScene.windows.first(where: \.isKeyWindow),
      let rootViewController = window.rootViewController
    else { return }

    // Create the FlutterViewController without an existing FlutterEngine.
    let flutterViewController = FlutterViewController(
      project: nil,
      nibName: nil,
      bundle: nil)
    flutterViewController.modalPresentationStyle = .overCurrentContext
    flutterViewController.isViewOpaque = false

    rootViewController.present(flutterViewController, animated: true)
  }
}
ViewController.swift
// Existing code omitted.
func showFlutter() {
  let flutterViewController = FlutterViewController(project: nil, nibName: nil, bundle: nil)
  present(flutterViewController, animated: true, completion: nil)
}
ViewController.m
// Existing code omitted.
- (void)showFlutter {
  FlutterViewController *flutterViewController =
      [[FlutterViewController alloc] initWithProject:nil nibName:nil bundle:nil];
  [self presentViewController:flutterViewController animated:YES completion:nil];
}
@end

See Loading sequence and performance for more explorations on latency and memory usage.

Using the FlutterAppDelegate

Letting your application’s UIApplicationDelegate subclass FlutterAppDelegate is recommended but not required.

The FlutterAppDelegate performs functions such as:

  • Forwarding application callbacks such as openURL to plugins such as local_auth.
  • Keeping the Flutter connection open in debug mode when the phone screen locks.

Creating a FlutterAppDelegate subclass

Creating a subclass of the FlutterAppDelegate in UIKit apps was shown in the Start a FlutterEngine and FlutterViewController section. In a SwiftUI app, you can create a subclass of the FlutterAppDelegate that conforms to the ObservableObject protocol as follows:

import SwiftUI
import Flutter
import FlutterPluginRegistrant

class AppDelegate: FlutterAppDelegate, ObservableObject {
  let flutterEngine = FlutterEngine(name: "my flutter engine")

  override func application(
    _ application: UIApplication,
    didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: [UIApplication.LaunchOptionsKey: Any]?) -> Bool {
      // Runs the default Dart entrypoint with a default Flutter route.
      flutterEngine.run();
      // Used to connect plugins (only if you have plugins with iOS platform code).
      GeneratedPluginRegistrant.register(with: self.flutterEngine);
      return true;
    }
}

@main
struct MyApp: App {
//  Use this property wrapper to tell SwiftUI
//  it should use the AppDelegate class for the application delegate
  @UIApplicationDelegateAdaptor(AppDelegate.self) var appDelegate

  var body: some Scene {
      WindowGroup {
        ContentView()
      }
  }
}

Then, in your view, the AppDelegateis accessible as an EnvironmentObject.

import SwiftUI
import Flutter

struct ContentView: View {
  // Access the AppDelegate using an EnvironmentObject.
  @EnvironmentObject var appDelegate: AppDelegate

  var body: some View {
    Button("Show Flutter!") {
      openFlutterApp()
    }
  }

func openFlutterApp() {
    // Get the RootViewController.
    guard
      let windowScene = UIApplication.shared.connectedScenes
        .first(where: { $0.activationState == .foregroundActive && $0 is UIWindowScene }) as? UIWindowScene,
      let window = windowScene.windows.first(where: \.isKeyWindow),
      let rootViewController = window.rootViewController
    else { return }

    // Create the FlutterViewController.
    let flutterViewController = FlutterViewController(
      // Access the Flutter Engine via AppDelegate.
      engine: appDelegate.flutterEngine,
      nibName: nil,
      bundle: nil)
    flutterViewController.modalPresentationStyle = .overCurrentContext
    flutterViewController.isViewOpaque = false

    rootViewController.present(flutterViewController, animated: true)
  }
}

If you can’t directly make FlutterAppDelegate a subclass

If your app delegate can’t directly make FlutterAppDelegate a subclass, make your app delegate implement the FlutterAppLifeCycleProvider protocol in order to make sure your plugins receive the necessary callbacks. Otherwise, plugins that depend on these events might have undefined behavior.

For instance:

AppDelegate.swift
import Foundation
import Flutter

class AppDelegate: UIResponder, UIApplicationDelegate, FlutterAppLifeCycleProvider, ObservableObject {

  private let lifecycleDelegate = FlutterPluginAppLifeCycleDelegate()

  let flutterEngine = FlutterEngine(name: "flutter_nps_engine")

  override func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: [UIApplication.LaunchOptionsKey : Any]? = nil) -> Bool {
  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: [UIApplication.LaunchOptionsKey : Any]? = nil) -> Bool {
    flutterEngine.run()
    return lifecycleDelegate.application(application, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions: launchOptions ?? [:])
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken deviceToken: Data) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken: deviceToken)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFailToRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithError error: Error) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, didFailToRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithError: error)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didReceiveRemoteNotification userInfo: [AnyHashable : Any], fetchCompletionHandler completionHandler: @escaping (UIBackgroundFetchResult) -> Void) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, didReceiveRemoteNotification: userInfo, fetchCompletionHandler: completionHandler)
  }

  func application(_ app: UIApplication, open url: URL, options: [UIApplication.OpenURLOptionsKey : Any] = [:]) -> Bool {
    return lifecycleDelegate.application(app, open: url, options: options)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, handleOpen url: URL) -> Bool {
    return lifecycleDelegate.application(application, handleOpen: url)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, open url: URL, sourceApplication: String?, annotation: Any) -> Bool {
    return lifecycleDelegate.application(application, open: url, sourceApplication: sourceApplication ?? "", annotation: annotation)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, performActionFor shortcutItem: UIApplicationShortcutItem, completionHandler: @escaping (Bool) -> Void) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, performActionFor: shortcutItem, completionHandler: completionHandler)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession identifier: String, completionHandler: @escaping () -> Void) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession: identifier, completionHandler: completionHandler)
  }

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, performFetchWithCompletionHandler completionHandler: @escaping (UIBackgroundFetchResult) -> Void) {
    lifecycleDelegate.application(application, performFetchWithCompletionHandler: completionHandler)
  }

  func add(_ delegate: FlutterApplicationLifeCycleDelegate) {
    lifecycleDelegate.add(delegate)
  }
}
AppDelegate.h
@import Flutter;
@import UIKit;
@import FlutterPluginRegistrant;

@interface AppDelegate : UIResponder <UIApplicationDelegate, FlutterAppLifeCycleProvider>
@property (strong, nonatomic) UIWindow *window;
@property (nonatomic,strong) FlutterEngine *flutterEngine;
@end

The implementation should delegate mostly to a FlutterPluginAppLifeCycleDelegate:

AppDelegate.m
@interface AppDelegate ()
@property (nonatomic, strong) FlutterPluginAppLifeCycleDelegate* lifeCycleDelegate;
@end

@implementation AppDelegate

- (instancetype)init {
    if (self = [super init]) {
        _lifeCycleDelegate = [[FlutterPluginAppLifeCycleDelegate alloc] init];
    }
    return self;
}

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication*)application
didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary<UIApplicationLaunchOptionsKey, id>*))launchOptions {
    self.flutterEngine = [[FlutterEngine alloc] initWithName:@"io.flutter" project:nil];
    [self.flutterEngine runWithEntrypoint:nil];
    [GeneratedPluginRegistrant registerWithRegistry:self.flutterEngine];
    return [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:launchOptions];
}

// Returns the key window's rootViewController, if it's a FlutterViewController.
// Otherwise, returns nil.
- (FlutterViewController*)rootFlutterViewController {
    UIViewController* viewController = [UIApplication sharedApplication].keyWindow.rootViewController;
    if ([viewController isKindOfClass:[FlutterViewController class]]) {
        return (FlutterViewController*)viewController;
    }
    return nil;
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
didRegisterUserNotificationSettings:(UIUserNotificationSettings*)notificationSettings {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
didRegisterUserNotificationSettings:notificationSettings];
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken:(NSData*)deviceToken {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken:deviceToken];
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
didReceiveRemoteNotification:(NSDictionary*)userInfo
fetchCompletionHandler:(void (^)(UIBackgroundFetchResult result))completionHandler {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
       didReceiveRemoteNotification:userInfo
             fetchCompletionHandler:completionHandler];
}

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication*)application
            openURL:(NSURL*)url
            options:(NSDictionary<UIApplicationOpenURLOptionsKey, id>*)options {
    return [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application openURL:url options:options];
}

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication*)application handleOpenURL:(NSURL*)url {
    return [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application handleOpenURL:url];
}

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication*)application
            openURL:(NSURL*)url
  sourceApplication:(NSString*)sourceApplication
         annotation:(id)annotation {
    return [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
                                   openURL:url
                         sourceApplication:sourceApplication
                                annotation:annotation];
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
performActionForShortcutItem:(UIApplicationShortcutItem*)shortcutItem
  completionHandler:(void (^)(BOOL succeeded))completionHandler {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
       performActionForShortcutItem:shortcutItem
                  completionHandler:completionHandler];
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession:(nonnull NSString*)identifier
  completionHandler:(nonnull void (^)(void))completionHandler {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application
handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession:identifier
                  completionHandler:completionHandler];
}

- (void)application:(UIApplication*)application
performFetchWithCompletionHandler:(void (^)(UIBackgroundFetchResult result))completionHandler {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate application:application performFetchWithCompletionHandler:completionHandler];
}

- (void)addApplicationLifeCycleDelegate:(NSObject<FlutterPlugin>*)delegate {
    [_lifeCycleDelegate addDelegate:delegate];
}
@end

Launch options

The examples demonstrate running Flutter using the default launch settings.

In order to customize your Flutter runtime, you can also specify the Dart entrypoint, library, and route.

Dart entrypoint

Calling run on a FlutterEngine, by default, runs the main() Dart function of your lib/main.dart file.

You can also run a different entrypoint function by using runWithEntrypoint with an NSString specifying a different Dart function.

Dart library

In addition to specifying a Dart function, you can specify an entrypoint function in a specific file.

For instance the following runs myOtherEntrypoint() in lib/other_file.dart instead of main() in lib/main.dart:

flutterEngine.run(withEntrypoint: "myOtherEntrypoint", libraryURI: "other_file.dart")
[flutterEngine runWithEntrypoint:@"myOtherEntrypoint" libraryURI:@"other_file.dart"];

Route

Starting in Flutter version 1.22, an initial route can be set for your Flutter WidgetsApp when constructing the FlutterEngine or the FlutterViewController.

let flutterEngine = FlutterEngine()
// FlutterDefaultDartEntrypoint is the same as nil, which will run main().
engine.run(
  withEntrypoint: "main", initialRoute: "/onboarding")
FlutterEngine *flutterEngine = [[FlutterEngine alloc] init];
// FlutterDefaultDartEntrypoint is the same as nil, which will run main().
[flutterEngine runWithEntrypoint:FlutterDefaultDartEntrypoint
                    initialRoute:@"/onboarding"];

This code sets your dart:ui’s window.defaultRouteName to "/onboarding" instead of "/".

Alternatively, to construct a FlutterViewController directly without pre-warming a FlutterEngine:

let flutterViewController = FlutterViewController(
      project: nil, initialRoute: "/onboarding", nibName: nil, bundle: nil)
FlutterViewController* flutterViewController =
      [[FlutterViewController alloc] initWithProject:nil
                                        initialRoute:@"/onboarding"
                                             nibName:nil
                                              bundle:nil];

See Navigation and routing for more about Flutter’s routes.

Other

The previous example only illustrates a few ways to customize how a Flutter instance is initiated. Using platform channels, you’re free to push data or prepare your Flutter environment in any way you’d like, before presenting the Flutter UI using a FlutterViewController.