Debugging shortcuts for UIKeyCommand

Apr 2, 2017
1 minute read

I recently re-discovered UIKeyCommand while listening to Caleb Davenport’s, podcast, Runtime. He’s also got a blog post which shows you exactly how simple it is to create UIKeyCommand shortcuts for your app.

After reading that, I decided that it would be neat to implement them across my app, so I could also start navigating around my UI with lightning speed while I’m debugging in the simulator. I quickly realized that by using Swift extensions, I could automatically get these behaviors for free throughout our entire app.

Below is a code snippet which you can drop into your app to help you speed up your workflow. With just one tap on your keyboard, you’ll be able to pop a UIViewController from a navigation stack and dismiss any presented UIViewController.

extension UIViewController {

    open override var keyCommands: [UIKeyCommand]? {
        return [
            UIKeyCommand(input: UIKeyInputLeftArrow, modifierFlags: [], action: #selector(popViewControllerWithKeyCommand)),
            UIKeyCommand(input: UIKeyInputDownArrow, modifierFlags: [], action: #selector(dismissViewControllerWithKeyCommand)),


private extension UIViewController {

    dynamic func popViewControllerWithKeyCommand() {
        self.navigationController?.popViewController(animated: true)

    dynamic func dismissViewControllerWithKeyCommand() {
        self.dismiss(animated: true, completion: nil)


Don’t forget, you can make your own default shortcuts too.

Happy debugging!

Joe Fabisevich is an indie developer creating software at Red Panda Club Inc. while writing about design, development, and building a company. Formerly an iOS developer working on societal issues @Twitter. These days I don't tweet, but I do post on Threads.

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