iOS image manipulation


After you or your users have uploaded image assets to Cloudinary, you can deliver them via dynamic URLs. You can include instructions in your dynamic URLs that tell Cloudinary to manipulate your assets using a set of transformation parameters. All manipulations are performed automatically in the cloud and your transformed assets are automatically optimized before they are routed through a fast CDN to the end user for optimal user experience.

For example, you can resize and crop, add overlay images, blur or pixelate faces, apply a large variety of special effects and filters, and apply settings to optimize your images and to deliver them responsively.

Cloudinary's iOS libraries simplify the generation of transformation URLs, for easy embedding of assets in your iOS application.

This following sections describe:

See also: iOS video manipulation

Deliver and transform images

Use the createUrl method to generate an image URL.


// returns:

Chaining transformations

You can add transformations to your createUrl method by defining a transformation object and then passing it with the setTransformation method.

let tr = CLDTransformation().setWidth(100).setHeight(150).setCrop(.crop)
let url = cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(tr).generate("sample.jpg")

// returns:,h_150,w_100/sample.jpg

You can also chain transformations together (each transformation is applied to the result of the previous transformation):

let tr = CLDTransformation().setWidth(100).setCrop(.fit).chain().setAngle(15)
let url = cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(tr).generate("sample.jpg")

// returns:,w_10/a_15/sample.jpg

For example, the following code crops the image to 150x150, rounds the corners, applies a sepia effect, adds text to the top center of the resized image, and then rotates the entire result by 20 degrees.

let url = cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation()
      .setFontFamily("Arial").setFontSize(60).setText("This is my picture"))

For more information and examples of image transformations, see Applying common image transformations.

Download images

Use the createDownloader method to download an image. The method accepts a url parameter with the location of the image to download. Every download request returns an instance of CLDFetchImageRequest, which allows options such as cancelling, suspending or resuming the download. The download is performed asynchronously in a separate thread so you must also provide a callback closure to handle the results of the download:

let myImage = cloudinary.createDownloader()
  .fetchImage(url, progress: { (bytes, totalBytes, totalBytesExpected) in
    // Handle progress
  }) { (responseImage, error) in
  // responseImage is an instance of UIImage
  // error is an instance of NSError

Image Caching

The first time that the fetchImage method is called for downloading a particular resource, Cloudinary also stores it in the device's cache. Each subsequent call to fetchImage will first attempt to find the image in the local cache, and retrieves it from the cache if it was found. This default behaviour can be customized with the cachePolicy and cacheMaxDiskCapacity properties of your CLDCloudinary instance:

Property Type Description
cachePolicy CLDImageCachePolicy Set the caching policy for downloaded images
Possible values:
-CLDImageCachePolicy.disk (default)
cacheMaxDiskCapacity Int (Only relevant if the disk option is selected for policy) The maximum capacity of the cache in bytes. Default: 150 * 1024 * 1024

For example, to use the device's memory for caching images, and limiting the cache size to 50 MB:

cloudinary.cachePolicy = CLDImageCachePolicy.disk
cloudinary.cacheMaxDiskCapacity = 50 * 1024 * 1024

Deliver images using UI extensions

The Cloudinary SDK provides extensions to three iOS UI elements for presenting images. These extensions provide a cldSetImage method that automatically fetches and downloads an image in the background, and sets it to be displayed in the UI. This method accepts 3 named parameters: the publicId of the image (required), the cloudinary instance and any transformation to apply (optional). The extension is available for:

  • UIView
  • UIImageView
  • UIButton

For example, setting a UIImageView component named “photoImageView” with an image that was uploaded with the public id of "dog":

photoImageView.cldSetImage(publicId: "dog", cloudinary: cld)

Apply common image transformations

This section provides an overview and examples of the following commonly used image transformation features, along with links to more detailed documentation on these features:

Keep in mind that this section is only intended to introduce you to the basics of using image transformations with iOS.

For comprehensive explanations of how to implement a wide variety of transformations, see Image transformations. For a full list of all supported image transformations and their usage, see the Image transformation reference.

Resizing and cropping

There are a variety of different ways to resize and/or crop your images, and to control the area of the image that is preserved during a crop.

The following example uses the fill cropping method to generate and deliver an image that completely fills the requested 250x250 size while retaining the original aspect ratio. It uses face detection gravity to ensure that all the faces in the image are retained and centered when the image is cropped:

Original image before face recognition cropping Original image Fill cropping with 'faces' gravity Fill cropping with 'faces' gravity

For details on all resizing and cropping options, see resizing and cropping images

Converting to another image format

You can deliver any image uploaded to Cloudinary in essentially any image format. There are two main ways to convert and deliver in another format:

  • Specify the image's public ID with the desired extension.
  • Explicitly set the desired format using the fetchFormat parameter.

For example:

Deliver a .jpg file in .gif format by specifying the new file extension:


Deliver a .jpg file in .gif format by specifying the setFormat parameter:


For more details see image format conversion

Applying image effects and filters

You can select from a large selection of image effects, enhancements, and filters to apply to your images. The available effects include a variety of color balance and level effects, tinting, blurring, pixelating, sharpening, automatic improvement effects, artistic filters, image and text overlays, distortion and shape changing effects, outlines, backgrounds, shadows, and more.

For example, the code below applies a cartoonify effect, rounding corners effect, and background color effect (and then scales the image down to a height of 300 pixels).


An image with several transformation effects

For more details on the available image effects and filters, see Applying image effects and filters

Adding text and image overlays

You can add images and text as overlays on your main image. You can apply the same types of transformations on your overlay images as you can with any image and you can use gravity settings or x and y coordinates to control the location of the overlays. You can also apply a variety of transformations on text, such color, font, size, rotation, and more.

For example, the code below overlays a couple's photo on a mug image. The overlay photo is cropped using face detection with adjusted color saturation and a vignette effect applied. The word love is added in a pink, fancy font and rotated to fit the design. A balloon graphic is also added. Additionally, the final image is cropped and the corners are rounded.


An image with many transformations and overlays applied

Image optimizations

By default, Cloudinary automatically performs certain optimizations on all transformed images. There are also a number of additional features that enable you to further optimize the images you use in your iOS application. These include optimizations to image quality, format, and size, among others.

For example, you can use the auto value for the quality attribute to automatically deliver an image that minimizes file size while meeting the required quality level. In the example below, the automatic quality parameters is applied, resulting in a 50% file size reduction (1.4MB vs. 784KB) with no visible change in quality.


50% file size optimization using the auto quality feature

For an in-depth review of the many ways you can optimize your images, see Image optimization