UIView Animations and layoutIfNeeded


I’ve been working on a feature for my app that involves a black transparent bar that pops up from the bottom of the screen when a certain condition is met.

The way I implemented this feature was to create a UIView at the bottom of the screen with a Width = 320.0f and a Height = 0.0f. Basically, it was a view that spanned the width of the screen but had no height, effectively making it invisible.

When the condition was right, I wanted to pop up the frame from its invisible position at the bottom. To do this I set the frame of the view to have a Height = 50.0f, and also adjusted the origin.y of the frame to origin.y - 50.0f. I achieved this transition with a spring animation.

animateWithDuration: delay: usingSpringWithDamping: initialSpringVelocity: options: animations: completion

No matter how I tweaked it, however, it would always end up looking like this:

The condition for the view to appear is that the above timer is currently running. Notice how the bottom is animating but the frame of the view is never reaching a Height of 50.0f. It's almost as if it's spring animating to a Height of 0.0f instead.

(By the way, this is a preview of the app I’m currently building called CodeCalendar - real name TBA)

I was positive that my math was correct and I didn’t accidentally use the origin of the view where I should have used the height. The constraints weren’t incorrectly placed (with or without a vertical constraint on the view it still didn’t work). I spent hours on this problem and nothing made sense!

Eventually I checked Stackoverflow to see if there was anyone else with my problem and I found an interesting post in which someone asked about animating changes to constraints. The person who answered quoted Apple’s recommendation that you should send a message to the parent view to layoutIfNeeded within the animation block before you begin any frame changes so that any pending layout operations will immediately complete.

[UIView animateWithDuration:1.0 animations:^{

[parentView layoutIfNeeded]

// Change your frame to the new frame


I don’t understand it completely yet, but I’m guessing there were some pending layout operations that were overriding my frame change to the view. I added the above code to my animate method and now it works perfectly!

The lesson here is - before you start your animation, force any pending layout operations to immediately complete. I placed this method in viewDidAppear: and I thought that all the subviews were already laid out, but I probably have a lot more to learn about view layouts at runtime.

Written on December 3, 2014