APNGKit Save

High performance and delightful way to play with APNG format in iOS.

Project README


APNGKit is a high performance framework for loading and displaying APNG images in iOS and macOS. It's built with high-level abstractions and brings a delightful API. Since be that, you will feel at home and joy when using APNGKit to play with images in APNG format.

APNG, what and why?

The Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) is a file format extending the well-known PNG format. It allows for animated PNG files that work similarly to animated GIF files, while supporting 24-bit images and 8-bit transparency not available for GIFs. This means much better quality of animation. At the same time, the file size is comparable to or even less than, if created carefully, GIFs.

Talk is cheap; show me the image. You can click on the image to see how it looks like when animating.

APNGKit Demo

That's cool. APNG is much better! But wait...why haven't I heard about APNG before? It is not a popular format, so why should I use it in my next great iOS/macOS app?

Good question! APNG is an excellent extension for regular PNG, and it is also very simple to use and not conflicting with current PNG standard (It consists a standard PNG header, so if your platform does not support APNG, it will be recognized as a normal PNG with its first frame being displayed as a static image). But unfortunately, it is a rebel format so that it is not accepted by the PNG group. However, it is accepted by many vendors and is even mentioned in W3C Standards. There is another format called MNG (Multiple-image Network Graphics), which is created by the same team as PNG. It is a comprehensive format, but very very very (重要的事要说三遍) complex. It is so complex that despite being a "standard", it was almost universally rejected. There is only one "popular" browser called Konqueror(at least I have used it before when I was in high school) that supports MNG, which is really a sad but reasonable story.

Even though APNG is not accepted currently, we continue to see the widespread implementation of it. Apple recently supported APNG in both desktop and mobile Safari. Microsoft Edge and Chrome are also considering adding APNG support since it is already officially added in WebKit core.

APNG is such a nice format to bring users much better experience of animating images. The more APNG is used, the more recognition and support it will get. Not only in the browsers world, but also in the apps we always love. That's why I created this framework.



iOS 9.0+ / macOS 10.11+ / tvOS 9.0+

Swift Package Manager

The recommended way to install APNGKit is to use Swift Package Manager. Adding it to your project with Xcode:


CocoaPods is a dependency manager for Cocoa projects.

$ gem install cocoapods

To integrate APNGKit into your Xcode project using CocoaPods, specify it in your Podfile:

source 'https://github.com/CocoaPods/Specs.git'
platform :ios, '9.0'

target 'your_app' do
  pod 'APNGKit', '~> 2.0'

Then, run the following command:

$ pod install

You should open the {Project}.xcworkspace instead of the {Project}.xcodeproj after you installed anything from CocoaPods.

For more information about how to use CocoaPods, I suggest this tutorial.



Import APNGKit into your source files in which you want to use the framework.

import APNGKit

Load an APNG Image

// Load an APNG image from file in main bundle
var image = try APNGImage(named: "your_image")

// Or
// Load an APNG image from file at specified path
if let url = Bundle.main.url(forResource: "your_image", withExtension: "apng") {
    image = try APNGImage(fileURL: path)

// Or
// Load an APNG image from data
let data: Data = ... // From disk or network or anywhere else.
image = try APNGImage(data: data)

You may notice that all initializers are throwable. If anything is wrong during creating the image, it let you know the error explicitly and you have a chance to handle it. We will cover the error handling soon later.

Display an APNG Image

When you have an APNGImage object, you can use it to initialize an image view and display it on screen with an APNGImageView, which is a subclass of UIView or NSView:

let image: APNGImage = ... // You already have an APNG image object.

let imageView = APNGImageView(image: image)

Start animation

The animation will be played automatically as soon as the image view is created with a valid APNG image. If you do not want the animation to be played automatically, set the autoStartAnimationWhenSetImage property to false before you assign an image:

let imageView = APNGImageView(frame: .zero)
imageView.autoStartAnimationWhenSetImage = false
imageView.image = image

// Start the animation manually:

XIB or Storyboard

If you are an Interface Builder lover, drag a UIView (or NSView) (Please note, not a UIImageView or NSImageView) to the canvas, and modify its class to APNGImageView. Then, you can drag an IBOutlet and play with it as usual, such as setting its image property.


APNG defines the play loop count as numberOfPlays in APNGImage, and APNGKit respects it by default. To inspect the end of each loop, register yourself as a delegate of APNGImageView.onOnePlayDone:

class ViewController: UIViewController {
    override func viewDidLoad() {

        let imageView = APNGImageView(image: image)
        imageView.onOnePlayDone.delegate(on: self) { (self, count) in
            print("Played: \(count)")

When numberOfPlays is nil, the animation will be played forever. If it is a limited non-zero value, the animation will be stopped at the final frame when the loop count reaches the limit. To inspect the whole animation is done, use onAllPlaysDone:

imageView.onAllPlaysDone.delegate(on: self) { (self, _) in
    print("All done.")

APNGKit loads the data in a streaming way by default, it reads the frame information while playing the animation. Since APNG encodes the duration in each frame, it is not possible to get the whole animation duration before loading all frames information. Before the first reading pass finishes, you can only get a partial duration for loaded frames. To get the full duration, use APNGImage.onFramesInformationPrepared:

let image = try APNGImage(named: "image")
image.onFramesInformationPrepared.delegate(on: self) { (self, _) in
    switch image.duration {
        case .full(let duration):
            print("Full duration: \(duration)")
        case .partial:
            print("This should not happen.")

imageView.image = image

Or, you can specify the .fullFirstPass option while creating the APNGImage. It reads all frames before starting rendering and animating the image:

let image = try APNGImage(named: "image", options: [.fullFirstPass])
print(image.duration) // .full(duration)

APNGKit provides a few other reading options. Please let me skip it for now and you can check them in documentation.

Error handling

While creating image

Creating an APNGImage can throw an error if anything goes wrong. All possible errors while decoding are defined as an APNGKitError.decoderError. When an error happens while creating the image, you are expected to check if it should be treated as a normal static image. If so, try to set it as the static image:

do {
    let image = try APNGImage(named: data.imageName)
    imageView.image = image
} catch {
    if let normalImage = error.apngError?.normalImage {
        imageView.staticImage = normalImage
    } else {
        print("Error: \(error)")

While playing animation

If some frames are broken, the default image defined in APNG should be displayed as a fallback. You can get this in APNGKit for free. To get notified when this happens, listen to APNGImageView.onFallBackToDefaultImage:

imageView.onDecodingFrameError.delegate(on: self) { (self, error) in
    print("A frame cannot be decoded. After this, either onFallBackToDefaultImage or onFallBackToDefaultImageFailed happens.")

imageView.onFallBackToDefaultImage.delegate(on: self) { (self, _) in
    print("Fall back to default image.")
imageView.onFallBackToDefaultImageFailed.delegate(on: self) { (self, error) in
    print("Tried to fall back to default image, but it fails: \(error)")

PNG compression

Xcode will compress all PNG files in your app bundle when you build the project. Since APNG is an extension format of PNG, Xcode will think there are redundancy data in that file and compress it into a single static image. When this happens, you may inspect a log message from APNGKit:

CgBI chunk found. It seems that the input image is compressed by Xcode and not supported by APNGKit. Consider to rename it to apng to prevent compressing.

Usually this is not what you want when working with APNG. You can disable the PNG compression by setting "COMPRESS_PNG_FILES" to NO in the build settings of your app target. However, it will also prevent Xcode to optimize your other regular PNGs.

A better approach would be renaming your APNG files with an extension besides of "png". If you do so, Xcode will stop recognizing your APNG files as PNG format, and will not apply compression on them. A suggested extension is "apng", which will be detected and handled by APNGKit seamlessly.


The demo elephant image in README file is stolen from ICS Lab, you can find the original post here.


If you are interested in APNG, you can know more about it from the links below (some of them are written in Chinese).

APNGKit can only load and display APNG image now. The creating feature will be developed later. If you need to create APNG file now, I suggest using iSparta or apngasm instead for now.


APNGKit is released under the MIT license. See LICENSE for details.

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "APNGKit" Project. README Source: onevcat/APNGKit
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