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Model-View-Controller (MVC) in iOS Development

Amir Hossein

By Amir Hossein

25 August 2023 • 2 min read

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Model-View-Controller (MVC) in iOS Development

MVC (Model-View-Controller) stands as a prevalent design pattern extensively employed in software development. It entails the arrangement of code into three distinct components, each bearing its own distinct responsibilities. In the realm of iOS development, MVC architecture takes precedence as the prevailing design pattern. It effectively divides application logic into three core segments: Model, View, and Controller. Additionally, I have crafted a sample project employing the MVC paradigm, which you can examine here.


The model embodies both the data and business logic within the application, tasked with data management and accessibility. In the realm of iOS development, the model is fashioned through classes or structs that epitomise the application's objects. For instance, when crafting a weather app, a model class could encapsulate weather specifics like temperature, humidity, and wind speed. These models are crafted using Swift's Class or Struct.


The view serves as the interface of the application, presenting data to users and gathering input. In iOS development, views are actualized using UIKit classes like UILabels, UIButtons, and UITextFields. Views are commonly generated either programmatically or through Interface Builder.

Example: View components may appear as .xib or .storyboard files.

⚠️ Occasionally, graphical elements may be visible in the user interface without accompanying .xib or .storyboard files. In such instances, developers might construct the UI programmatically within Controller classes, employing a UIViewController subclass.


The controller serves as a mediator linking model and view elements. It gathers user input from views, then appropriately updates the model and ensures corresponding view adjustments. In iOS development, controllers are realised through subclasses of UIViewController.

It's typical to encounter the controller in MVC and other patterns as a UIViewController in Swift.

Advantages of MVC

  • Separation of Concerns: MVC divides responsibilities into three distinct components, simplifying code management.
  • Reusability: Components are reusable across various app sections or even different apps.
  • Testability: Independent components facilitate unit testing.
  • Maintainability: Changes in one component don't disrupt others, aiding long-term code maintenance.
  • Scalability: MVC eases complexity management as apps expand by breaking it into manageable parts.

Disadvantages of MVC

  • Tight Coupling: MVC tightly couples View and Controller, causing maintenance challenges and scalability issues as the app grows.
  • Massive View Controllers: MVC can create unwieldy view controllers, hindering readability, testing, and code reuse.
  • Limited Flexibility: MVC lacks a clear division between presentation and business logic, making changes challenging.
  • Complex Data Flow: In complex apps, MVC can result in intricate data flows, impeding bug identification and resolution.

Key Takeaways

MVC is a prevalent iOS design pattern, organising app logic into three components: Model, View, and Controller. This organisational approach offers simplified code management, component reusability, effective testing, streamlined maintenance, and adaptable scalability. If you're new to iOS development or seeking skill enhancement, grasping MVC architecture is vital.

Sample project:

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