Recently I wrote some code where I tried to refer to an outlet on a
Property access result unused - getters should not be used for side effects
If I understand you correctly, I think there's another fairly standard solution: move the outlet modification/configuration code into a
ViewDidLoad method (of the recently instantiated VC).
The topic is also discussed in this question.
It would require some restructuring, but it might give you a "cleaner" design in terms of MVC if your incoming VC handled its own configuration, and it would avoid the "You should never call this method directly" stricture on