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How to Navigate Back to the Root Controller in an iOS Application

iOS, Swift, Navigation1 min read

Navigating through various screens within an iOS application is a fundamental aspect of creating a seamless user experience. However, it's equally important to provide users with intuitive ways to navigate back to the root view controller when needed. In this article, we'll explore several techniques for achieving this in iOS applications using Swift.

Understanding the Root View Controller

Before delving into the methods of navigating back to the root, it's crucial to grasp the concept of the root view controller. In iOS, the root view controller represents the entry point of an application, serving as the initial view presented to the user.

Using Navigation Controllers

When working with a navigation controller, which is common when building iOS applications, navigating back to the root can be achieved by popping all view controllers that were pushed onto the stack. For instance, consider the following example:

1navigationController?.popToRootViewController(animated: true)

The popToRootViewController(animated:) method removes all view controllers on the navigation stack except the root view controller, effectively returning the user to the initial screen.

Dismissing Modally Presented View Controllers

In scenarios where view controllers are presented modally and you need to navigate back to the root view controller, you can use the following approach:

1presentingViewController?.presentingViewController?.dismiss(animated: true, completion: nil)

By chaining presentingViewController?.presentingViewController?.dismiss(animated:completion:), you can dismiss multiple layers of modally presented view controllers until you reach the root view controller.

Implementing Custom Navigation Logic

In some cases, custom navigation logic may be required to navigate back to the root view controller. This could involve manipulating the view controller hierarchy based on specific app requirements. Here's a simple example:

1if let rootViewController = navigationController?.viewControllers.first {
2 navigationController?.popToViewController(rootViewController, animated: true)

In this example, popToViewController(_:animated:) is used to navigate back to the specific root view controller within the navigation stack.


  • Understanding the importance of the root view controller in iOS applications
  • Utilizing popToRootViewController(animated:) to navigate back within a navigation controller
  • Dismissing modally presented view controllers to return to the root
  • Implementing custom navigation logic for specific app requirements