Lavvo Lavvo - 4 months ago 37x
Swift Question

UIImageView not showing transparency of PNG Images from UIImagePickerController

I surely hope I am missing something because I do not understand why this is working the way it does. I have a PNG Image, which has a fully transparent background because I want to overlay it on other images inside a


PNG images included in the XCode project all work fine as they should. The problem is when I select these same PNG images on the fly using
and then assigning it to the
, for some really bizarre reason, it is not respecting it as a PNG Image with transparency and instead it adding a white background.

Anyone seen this before and how do I get around this?

* UPDATE #1: I decided to try something that seems to confirm my theory. I decided to email myself the original PNG images I saved to my device and lo and behold, the images came to me as JPG. Seems to me that when you save an image to Photos on iPhone it converts it to JPG, this is rather shocking to me. Hope someone has a way around this. The original images
saved to Photos and then emailed back to myself, returned as

* UPDATE #2: I kept playing around we this more and found out a few things and in the process was able to answer my own question. (1) My theory in UPDATE #1 is partially correct, but the conversion does not happen when saving the Photo, seems like it is on the fly. Internally photos stores the original image extension (2) I was able to validate this when I realized in my
that I was using

let imageData = UIImageJPEGRepresentation(image, 1.0)

instead of this

let imageData = UIImagePNGRepresentation(image)

When I used the second line of code, it was recognizing the original transparency properties for the image.

Rob Rob

Yes, the call to UIImageJPEGRepresentation will convert the resulting image into a JPEG, which doesn't support transparency.

BTW, if your intent is to get the NSData for the image for other reasons (e.g. uploading to server, emailing, etc.), I would recommend against both UIImageJPEGRepresentation and UIImagePNGRepresentation. They lose meta data, can make the asset larger, if suffer some image degradation if you use quality factor of less than 1, etc.

Instead, I'd recommend going back and get the original asset from the Photos framework:

func imagePickerController(picker: UIImagePickerController, didFinishPickingMediaWithInfo info: [String : AnyObject]) {
    if let URL = info[UIImagePickerControllerReferenceURL] as? NSURL {
        let result = PHAsset.fetchAssetsWithALAssetURLs([URL], options: nil)
        if let asset = result.firstObject as? PHAsset {
            let manager = PHImageManager.defaultManager()
            manager.requestImageDataForAsset(asset, options: nil) { imageData, dataUTI, orientation, info in
                let fileURL = info!["PHImageFileURLKey"] as? NSURL
                let filename = fileURL?.lastPathComponent;

                // use imageData here

    picker.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)

If you have to support iOS 7, too, you'd use the equivalent ALAssetsLibrary API, but the idea is the same: Get the original asset rather than round-tripping it through a UIImage.