UITextView Placeholder Support

Published 31 Oct 2017

In an app of mine, I want to add placeholder support to UITextView. Since this is not built-in for UITextView, I created three extensions to help me out:

public extension UITextView {
    public func setupPlaceholder(
        text: String, 
        color: UIColor = .lightGray) {
        guard self.text.isEmpty else { return }
        self.text = text
        self.textColor = color
    public func setupPlaceholderAfterEditing(
        text: String, 
        color: UIColor = .lightGray) {
        setupPlaceholder(text: text, color: color)
    public func setupPlaceholderBeforeEditing(
        textColor: UIColor = .black, 
        placeholderColor: UIColor = .lightGray) {
        guard self.textColor == placeholderColor else { return }
        self.text = ""
        self.textColor = textColor

As you can see, the placeholder text and color is fully customizable. However, I use light grey placeholder text and black text by default.

Whenever I create a text view instance, I run setupPlaceholder(...) to setup a default placeholder text. This operation will abort if the text view already has text content.

Whenever editing begins, I call setupPlaceholderBeforeEditing(...) to remove a placeholder text and prepare the text view for editing. To determine if the view currently displays the placeholder, we compare the text and placeholder colors.

Whenever editing finally ends, I call setupPlaceholderAfterEditing to re-apply the placeholder if the user hasn’t entered any text.

You can grab the code from my iExtra library.