ios - unselected - tab bar item selected image storyboard

Changing tab bar item image and text color iOS (12)

Swift 4.2 and Xcode 10

The solution that worked for me:

  1. Image setup - from the storyboard set Bar Item Image and Selected Image. To remove the tint overlay on the images go to Assets catalog, select the image and change its rendering mode like this:

This will prevent the Tab bar component from setting its default image tint.

  1. Text - here I created a simple UITabBarController subclass and in its viewDidLoad method I customized the default and selected text color like this:

    class HomeTabBarController: UITabBarController {
        override func viewDidLoad() {
            let appearance = UITabBarItem.appearance(whenContainedInInstancesOf: [HomeTabBarController.self])
            appearance.setTitleTextAttributes([NSAttributedStringKey.foregroundColor: .black], for: .normal)
            appearance.setTitleTextAttributes([NSAttributedStringKey.foregroundColor: .red], for: .selected)

Just set this class as your Tab bar controller custom class in identity inspector in IB.

Voila! That's it.

Here is my tab bar:

The following image shows the program being run and the "NEWS" item selected:

It is clear the bar tint color is working fine as I want !

But the tintColor only affects the image and not the text.

Also, when the an item is selected (as seen above, news) the item color goes blue! How do I prevent this from happening? I want it to stay white.

Why is the text changing to a white color when selected but not when it is unselected?

I basically want the item color and text color to be white all the time.

How do I achieve this? Thanks for any help.

Does it require swift code for each individual item?


Swift 3

First of all, make sure you have added the BOOLEAN key "View controller-based status bar appearance" to Info.plist, and set the value to "NO".


Insert code somewhere after "launchOptions:[UIApplicationLaunchOptionsKey: Any]?) -> Bool {"

  1. Change the color of the tab bar itself with RGB color value:

UITabBar.appearance().barTintColor = UIColor(red: 0.145, green: 0.592, blue: 0.804, alpha: 1.00)

OR one of the default UI colors:

UITabBar.appearance().barTintColor = UIColor.white)

  1. Change the text color of the tab items:

The selected item

UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName: UIColor.white], for: .selected)

The inactive items

UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName:], for: .normal)

  1. To change the color of the image, I believe the easiest approach is to make to separate images, one for each state.

If you don´t make the icons from scratch, alternating black and white versions are relatively easy to make in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop (almost any version will do)

Make sure your icon image has transparent background, and the icon itself is solid black (or close).

Open the image file, save it under a different file name (e.g. exampleFilename-Inverted.png)

In the "Adjustments" submenu on the "Image" menu:

Click "Invert"

You now have a negative of your original icon.

In XCode, set one of the images as "Selected Image" under the Tab Bar Properties in your storyboard, and specify the "inactive" version under "Bar Item" image.

Ta-Da 🍺

For Swift 4.0 , it's now changed as:

tabBarItem.setTitleTextAttributes([NSAttributedStringKey.foregroundColor: UIColor.gray], for: .normal)
tabBarItem.setTitleTextAttributes([NSAttributedStringKey.foregroundColor:], for: .selected)

You don't have to subclass the UITabBarItem if your requirement is only to change the text color. Just put the above code inside your view controller's viewDidLoad function.

For global settings change tabBarItem to UITabBarItem.appearance() .

From here .

Each tab bar item has a title, selected image, unselected image, and a badge value.

Use the Image Tint (selectedImageTintColor) field to specify the bar item’s tint color when that tab is selected. By default, that color is blue.

I know here are a lot of answers but I can't find a easy and valid copy/paste answer for Swift 4.2

tabBarController?.tabBar.tintColor =
tabBarController?.tabBar.unselectedItemTintColor =

Or use UITabBarItem.appearance() instead of tabBarController?.tabBar

Images have to be UIImageRenderingModeAlwaysTemplate

Simply add a new UITabBarController reference to the project.Next create a reference of UITabBar in this controller:

@IBOutlet weak var appTabBar: UITabBar!

In its viewDidLoad() , simply add below for title text color :

    appTabBar.tintColor = UIColor.scandidThemeColor()

For image

    tabBarItem = UITabBarItem(title: "FirstTab", image: UIImage(named: "firstImage"), selectedImage: UIImage(named: "firstSelectedImage"))

Swift 4: In your UITabBarController change it by this code

tabBar.unselectedItemTintColor = .black

This Code works for Swift 4 if you want to change de image of Tab Bar Item when pressed. Copy and pasted in the first viewDidLoad method that is hitted in the proyect

let arrayOfImageNameForSelectedState:[String] = ["Image1Color","Image2Color","Image3Color"] let arrayOfImageNameForUnselectedState: [String] = ["Image1NoColor","Image2NoColor","Image3NoColor"]


    if let count = self.tabBarController?.tabBar.items?.count {
        for i in 0...(count-1) {
            let imageNameForSelectedState   = arrayOfImageNameForSelectedState[i]
            let imageNameForUnselectedState = arrayOfImageNameForUnselectedState[i]
            self.tabBarController?.tabBar.items?[i].selectedImage = UIImage(named: imageNameForSelectedState)?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)
            self.tabBarController?.tabBar.items?[i].image = UIImage(named: imageNameForUnselectedState)?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)

You may also do by this way:

override func viewWillLayoutSubviews() {  
  if let items = self.tabBar.items {
    for item in 0..<items.count {
      items[item].image = items[item].image?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)
            items[item].selectedImage = items[item].selectedImage?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysTemplate)


 UITabBar.appearance().tintColor =

I hope it will help you.

you can set tintColor of UIBarItem :

UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName: UIColor.magentaColor()], forState:.Normal)
UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName: UIColor.redColor()], forState:.Selected)

Swift 3

I did it by creating a custom tabbar controller and added this code inside the viewDidLoad method.

    if let count = self.tabBar.items?.count {
        for i in 0...(count-1) {
            let imageNameForSelectedState   = arrayOfImageNameForSelectedState[i]
            let imageNameForUnselectedState = arrayOfImageNameForUnselectedState[i]

            self.tabBar.items?[i].selectedImage = UIImage(named: imageNameForSelectedState)?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)
            self.tabBar.items?[i].image = UIImage(named: imageNameForUnselectedState)?.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)

    let selectedColor   = UIColor(red: 246.0/255.0, green: 155.0/255.0, blue: 13.0/255.0, alpha: 1.0)
    let unselectedColor = UIColor(red: 16.0/255.0, green: 224.0/255.0, blue: 223.0/255.0, alpha: 1.0)

    UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName: unselectedColor], for: .normal)
    UITabBarItem.appearance().setTitleTextAttributes([NSForegroundColorAttributeName: selectedColor], for: .selected)

It worked for me!

Swift 3

This worked for me (referring to set tabBarItems image colors):

UITabBar.appearance().tintColor = ThemeColor.Blue

if let items = tabBarController.tabBar.items {
        let tabBarImages = getTabBarImages() // tabBarImages: [UIImage]
        for i in 0..<items.count {
            let tabBarItem = items[i]
            let tabBarImage = tabBarImages[i]
            tabBarItem.image = tabBarImage.withRenderingMode(.alwaysOriginal)
            tabBarItem.selectedImage = tabBarImage

I have noticed that if you set image with rendering mode = .alwaysOriginal, the UITabBar.tintColor doesn't have any effect.