Should be public API to show Look Up screen

Number:rdar://36315320 Date Originated:05-Jan-2018 09:59 AM
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:iOS + SDK Product Version:11.2
Classification:Feature (New) Reproducible:Always
This is a duplicate of radar #36284053

A long time ago, iOS added a feature were you could select some text then select Define from the menu to get dictionary definitions. This was matched by the public class UIReferenceLibraryViewController, which could be presented from custom views.

As iOS improved, Define was replaced in standard system text views and web views with a Look Up menu item. This shows a screen with all sorts of information relevant to the selected text such as dictionary definitions, Wikipedia information, suggested websites and App Store links. It’s very nice.

However, Look Up is only available in standard system views. It’s not available to custom views. There should be public API to show the Look Up screen so apps using custom views can provide a more consistent and richer user experience.

Sorry if this exists but I’m managed to not find it. In that case this is a documentation issue!

Steps to Reproduce:
Look for public API to show the Look Up screen.

Expected Results:
There should be public API to show the Look Up screen.

Actual Results:
No public API to show the Look Up screen. It’s only available in standard text and web views.



• Can use UIReferenceLibraryViewController instead, but it is more limited and the user experience is not as good.
• Can show Look Up using private API, but that’s a maintenance risk.


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