In our app there are many pages of forms, and each page can have (or requires) photos attached to them. Photos can come from the camera, photos previously taken, or a view of certain photos from the iOS photo gallery. I don't have room for adding 3 buttons to each page so I want to make the photo functionality modal. Putting a UITabBar in a modal view seems odd (the app itself starts as a UITabBar). I could put three buttons at the bottom of the modal view and swap out the rest of the views with the camera (my own implementation not the SDK one) and the 2 galleries. Of course that is essentially a tab bar anyway. Any suggestions as to what might make the most sense?

This is what I am thinking of in the modal view. The page that would lead to this has a Photos button at the bottom plus other buttons for other features. Users are likely to take multiple photos or choose from the gallery while in this modal area. Note this is an enterprise app, not for the general public.

Design idea

OF course this isn't a real UITabBarController.

  • Not clear on the goal of the app. Can't answer unless that is clarified.
    – Jamezrp
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 20:11
  • Could you just use a link somewhere on the main modal page that goes to each of the other types of content? For example a button saying "Images->" near the bottom that pushes the image view?
    – mginn
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 12:56
  • Already completed and moved past this issue. I implemented it more or less like this and it seems to work fine. Our field staff uses an app to record information about job sites including answering survey questions and adding photos as documentation.
    – ahwulf
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 13:22
  • I don't think I have ever seen a modal with tabs on it. Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 8:41
  • Maybe try a UISegmentedControl. The purpose of it is to switch between different types of views. I don't think it matters that it's in a modal, I'd user test it and if it works it works. developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/ui-controls/…
    – mnearents
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


It's been a few years since this question was asked. The pattern that seems to be currently in use in enterprise apps is to let the user land on a default (let's say it's the selected photos), and then use the first couple of items in the gallery view to let the user switch to taking their own picture, or selecting from their photo library. This minimizes new "furniture" to deal with, and maximizes the amount of space available on the screen.

Photo gallery with camera and All Photos icons in first two positions


Too many links and options will overburden the user and add a lot of friction, also tabs will be equally less effective.

Our focus should be to get the task done as seamlessly as we can. Since the user already taps on the photos button to load the view you should load the gallery view and show a link to camera on the top right or a camera view and link to gallery depending on where you think the user is more likely to upload from. For instance if the app is more about capturing a photo from the camera load the camera view, if you think it has more to do with photo/image management load the gallery view.

Since gallery will have photos from the camera photos and other images, it really doesn't make sense to split them into two. Almost all apps combine them into one so it really won't make sense to reinvent the wheel.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.