iOS Q & A


What is delegation in iOS development?

Delegation is a behavioral design pattern in iOS development that allows one object to act on behalf of or in coordination with another object. In delegation, one object serves as the delegate of another object, receiving callbacks, notifications, or requests for information or action. Delegation is commonly used for handling events, implementing custom behavior, or facilitating communication between objects.


Here’s how delegation works in iOS development:


  • Protocol Declaration: The delegating object defines a protocol that declares the methods or properties that the delegate may implement. Protocols are used to establish a contract between the delegating object and its delegate, specifying the available communication interfaces.
  • Delegate Property: The delegating object has a weak or unowned property that holds a reference to the delegate object. The delegate property is typically defined as an optional variable conforming to the protocol declared by the delegating object.
  • Delegate Implementation: The delegate object conforms to the protocol declared by the delegating object and implements the required methods or properties. By conforming to the protocol, the delegate object agrees to fulfill the responsibilities delegated to it by the delegating object.
  • Communication: The delegating object communicates with its delegate by invoking methods or accessing properties defined by the protocol. This allows the delegate to respond to events, provide data, or perform custom actions based on the delegating object’s needs.
  • Optional vs. Required: Protocol methods can be marked as either required or optional. Required methods must be implemented by the delegate to conform to the protocol, while optional methods are not mandatory. Delegating objects typically check whether a delegate implements optional methods before invoking them.


Delegation is widely used in iOS development for various purposes, such as handling user interactions, responding to system events, implementing custom behaviors, and facilitating communication between objects. By leveraging delegation, developers can design modular, decoupled, and extensible code that promotes separation of concerns and code reuse.

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Skilled iOS Engineer with extensive experience developing cutting-edge mobile solutions. Over 7 years in iOS development.