Changing Status Bar Style in iOS

NativeScript allows you to build multi-platform applications by exposing a rich common API. You don't need to know specifics of the different platforms, however, every platform has its own features. In those cases when you need to fine tune your application and make it look more native, NativeScrpt gives you full control and access to the native API and platform-specific functionality. One such scenario is when you want to change the status bar style in iOS.

There are two options to change the status bar style for iOS applications in NativeScript.

  • By changing the NavigationBar style.
  • By using the Info.plist file.

Changing the status bar style using the NavigationBar barStyle property

This method is easier, but it implies using an ActionBar. The NativeScript ActionBar is a common abstraction over iOS UINavigationBar and Android's ActionBar. It is a bar typically located at the top of the screen and it provides title and navigation control in your application.

  • Use the page's XML file to declare an ActionBar in your application.

Example 1: How to create default ActionBar with title

<Page xmlns="http://schemas.nativescript.org/tns.xsd" loaded="loaded">
  <Page.actionBar>
     <ActionBar title="Sample title"></ActionBar>
  </Page.actionBar>
</Page>

Figure 1 shows the result of adding the sample code from Example 1.

Figure 1: Default style of ActionBar

adding-action-bar

It is easy to change the background color of the UINavigationBar and the status bar, respectively. To do this you should set the backgroundColor property of the ActionBar. This can be done in XML or with CSS.

Example 2:How to set up ActionBar backgroundColor property

<Page.actionBar>
     <ActionBar title="Sample title" backgroundColor="green"></ActionBar>
</Page.actionBar>
ActionBar 
{
    background-color: green;
}

Figure 2 shows the result.

Figure 2: Changed background color of NavigationBar and StatusBar

adding-action-bar-set-backgroundcolor

In iOS there are two possible styles that you could set to the UINavigationBar: UIBarStyleDefault and UIBarStyleBlack. Changing the UINavigationBar style will change the style of the status bar automatically. By default, the UINavigationBar style in iOS is UIBarStyleDefault, which means that the letters will be black and the background color will be white.

  • Changing the style of UINavigationBar

You should use the frame module to access the native instance of UINavigationBar. Then you can use its barStyle property to change its style to UIBarStyleBlack.

Example 3: How to change UINavigationBar style using native code

var frame = require("ui/frame");
var platform = require("platform");
function loaded(args) {
    if (platform.isIOS) {
        var navigationBar = frame.topmost().ios.controller.navigationBar;
        navigationBar.barStyle = UIBarStyle.UIBarStyleBlack;
    }
}
exports.loaded = loaded;
import { EventData } from "data/observable";
import { topmost } from "ui/frame";
import { isIOS } from "platform";

export function loaded(args: EventData){
     if (isIOS) {
        let navigationBar = topmost().ios.controller.navigationBar;
        navigationBar.barStyle = UIBarStyle.UIBarStyleBlack;
    }
}

Figure 3 shows the result.

Figure 3: Changing the default UINavigationBar style to UIBarStyleBlack

adding-action-bar-black-style

As Figure 3 shows, the style of UINavigationBar and status bar have been changed to a gray background color and white text and icons.

Changing status bar style only

You should use this option in scenarios when you don't want to use ActionBar. In iOS, the status bar has two style types: the default one - UIStatusBarStyleDefault and UIStatusBarStyleLightContent. The default style looks like Figure 4: icons with black color and white background color.

Figure 4: Default StatusBar style

clean-nativescript-project

You can use the application's Info.plist file to change the status bar style:

  1. Go to the app/App_Resources/iOS folder.

  2. Open the Info.plist file.

  3. Add the code shown below in your Info.plist before closing </dict> tag

<key>UIStatusBarStyle</key>
<string>UIStatusBarStyleLightContent</string>
<key>UIViewControllerBasedStatusBarAppearance</key>
<false/>

As a result, your Info.plist should look like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
        <key>CFBundleDevelopmentRegion</key>
        <string>en</string>
        <key>CFBundleDisplayName</key>
        <string>${PRODUCT_NAME}</string>
        <key>CFBundleExecutable</key>
        <string>${EXECUTABLE_NAME}</string>
        <key>CFBundleIconFile</key>
        <string>icon.png</string>
        <key>CFBundleIcons</key>
        <dict>
            <key>CFBundlePrimaryIcon</key>
            <dict>
                <key>CFBundleIconFiles</key>
                <array>
                    <string>icon-40</string>
                    <string>icon-60</string>
                    <string>icon-72</string>
                    <string>icon-76</string>
                    <string>Icon-Small</string>
                    <string>Icon-Small-50</string>
                </array>
                <key>UIPrerenderedIcon</key>
                <false/>
            </dict>
        </dict>
        <key>CFBundleInfoDictionaryVersion</key>
        <string>6.0</string>
        <key>CFBundleName</key>
        <string>${PRODUCT_NAME}</string>
        <key>CFBundlePackageType</key>
        <string>APPL</string>
        <key>CFBundleShortVersionString</key>
        <string>1.0</string>
        <key>CFBundleSignature</key>
        <string>????</string>
        <key>CFBundleVersion</key>
        <string>1.0</string>
        <key>LSRequiresIPhoneOS</key>
        <true/>
        <key>UILaunchStoryboardName</key>
        <string>LaunchScreen</string>
        <key>UIRequiresFullScreen</key>
        <true/>
        <key>UIRequiredDeviceCapabilities</key>
        <array>
            <string>armv7</string>
        </array>
        <key>UISupportedInterfaceOrientations</key>
        <array>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationPortrait</string>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeLeft</string>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeRight</string>
        </array>
        <key>UISupportedInterfaceOrientations~ipad</key>
        <array>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationPortrait</string>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationPortraitUpsideDown</string>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeLeft</string>
            <string>UIInterfaceOrientationLandscapeRight</string>
        </array>
        <key>UIStatusBarStyle</key>
        <string>UIStatusBarStyleLightContent</string>
        <key>UIViewControllerBasedStatusBarAppearance</key>
        <false/>
    </dict>
    </plist>

Which you can see in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Changed StatusBar style to UIStatusBarStyleLightContent

changing-status-bar-style

Now in place of the status bar we can see one white line. That happened because we changed the color of the icon to white; however, the background color is the same as the icon. To fix this we should set the page's backgroundColor property. You should also set the backgroundSpanUnderStatusBar property to true. This will span the background color under the status bar:

Example 5: How to span the background color under the status bar

<Page xmlns="http://schemas.nativescript.org/tns.xsd" backgroundSpanUnderStatusBar="true" backgroundColor="red">
  <StackLayout>
    <Label text="Tap the button" class="title"/>
    <Button text="TAP" tap="" />
    <Label text="" class="message" textWrap="true"/>
  </StackLayout>
</Page>

Figure 6 shows the result:

Figure 6: Changed background color of status bar

changing-background-span-under-statusBar-to-true

The sample projects for both cases are available in these GitHub repositories: StyleStatusBariOSviaActionBar and StyleStatusBariOSviaInfo.plist

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