ios 11 UITabBar UITabBarItem positioning issue

I am maintaining a large iPad app written mostly in Objective-C that has survived several iOS releases. I ran into the situation where I needed the pre-iOS 11 tab bar appearance (with the icons above the titles instead of next to them) for a couple tab bars. My solution was to create a subclass of UITabBar that overrides the traitCollection method so that it always returns a horizontally-compact trait collection. This causes iOS 11 to display the titles below the icons for all of the tab bar buttons.

In order to use this, set the custom class of the tab bars in the storyboard to this new subclass and change any outlets in the code that point to the tab bars to be of this new type (don’t forget to import the header file below).

The .h file is pretty much empty in this case:

//  MyTabBar.h

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

@interface MyTabBar : UITabBar


Here is the .m file with the implementation of the traitCollection method:

//  MyTabBar.m

#import "MyTabBar.h"

@implementation MyTabBar

// In iOS 11, UITabBarItem's have the title to the right of the icon in horizontally regular environments
// (i.e. the iPad).  In order to keep the title below the icon, it was necessary to subclass UITabBar and override
// traitCollection to make it horizontally compact.

- (UITraitCollection *)traitCollection {
    return [UITraitCollection traitCollectionWithHorizontalSizeClass:UIUserInterfaceSizeClassCompact];


Leave a Comment