Load Image From Remote URL in Swift

In this tutorial, you will learn how to load an image from a remote URL in Swift and display it in your mobile app.

If you are new to working with images have a look at the following two tutorials first:

Create an Image URL

To load an image from a remote URL you will need to create a URL object first.

let imageUrlString = "http://swiftdeveloperblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/1.jpeg"
guard let imageUrl:URL = URL(string: imageUrlString) else {
    return
}

Load Image Data from URL

Once you have an image URL, you can use it to load image data.

guard let imageData = try? Data(contentsOf: imageUrl) else {
  return
}

Below is a complete code example that you can try in your Xcode Playground project.

Complete Code Example

I will use the Xcode Playground project to put the above two code snippets together.

import UIKit
import PlaygroundSupport

class MyViewController : UIViewController {
    override func loadView() {
        let view = UIView()
        view.backgroundColor = .white

        let imageUrlString = "http://swiftdeveloperblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/1.jpeg"
        guard let imageUrl:URL = URL(string: imageUrlString) else {
            return
        }
        
        // Start background thread so that image loading does not make app unresponsive
          DispatchQueue.global().async { [weak self] in
            
            guard let self = self else { return }
            
            guard let imageData = try? Data(contentsOf: imageUrl) else {
                return
            }
   
            let imageView = UIImageView(frame: CGRect(x:0, y:0, width:200, height:200))
            imageView.center = self.view.center
            
            // When from a background thread, UI needs to be updated on main_queue
           DispatchQueue.main.async {
                let image = UIImage(data: imageData)
                imageView.image = image
                imageView.contentMode = UIView.ContentMode.scaleAspectFit
                self.view.addSubview(imageView)
            }
        }
 
        self.view = view
    }
}

// Present the view controller in the Live View window
PlaygroundPage.current.liveView = MyViewController()

UIImageView + extension

You can also make the above code a little bit more organized if you move some of it into an ImageView extension.

extension UIImageView {
    func loadImge(withUrl url: URL) {
           DispatchQueue.global().async { [weak self] in
               if let imageData = try? Data(contentsOf: url) {
                   if let image = UIImage(data: imageData) {
                       DispatchQueue.main.async {
                           self?.image = image
                       }
                   }
               }
           }
       }
}

You can now use this extension the following way:

import UIKit
import PlaygroundSupport

class MyViewController : UIViewController {
     override func viewDidLoad() {
     super.viewDidLoad()
        let view = UIView()
        view.backgroundColor = .white
        
        // Create and set Image View
        let imageView = UIImageView(frame: CGRect(x:0, y:0, width:200, height:200))
        imageView.center = self.view.center
        imageView.contentMode = UIView.ContentMode.scaleAspectFit
        view.addSubview(imageView)
 
        // Create URL
        let imageUrlString = "http://swiftdeveloperblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/1.jpeg"
        guard let imageUrl:URL = URL(string: imageUrlString) else {
            return
        }

        imageView.loadImge(withUrl: imageUrl)
 
        self.view = view
    }
}

extension UIImageView {
    func loadImge(withUrl url: URL) {
           DispatchQueue.global().async { [weak self] in
               if let imageData = try? Data(contentsOf: url) {
                   if let image = UIImage(data: imageData) {
                       DispatchQueue.main.async {
                           self?.image = image
                       }
                   }
               }
           }
       }
}

// Present the view controller in the Live View window
PlaygroundPage.current.liveView = MyViewController()

Here is how the above code snippet looks and works in Xcode Playground.

Load Image from Remote URL in Swift

I hope this Swift tutorial, was of some value to you and you now know how to load an image from a remote URL in Swift.

Happy Swift coding! 🙋🏻‍♂️

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