Adding a splash screen to your mobile app

Add Splash Screen Header

Splash screens (also known as launch screens) provide a simple initial experience while your mobile app loads. They set the stage for your application, while allowing time for the app engine to load and your app to initialize. This guide teaches you how to use splash screens appropriately on iOS and Android.

iOS launch screen

All apps submitted to the Apple App Store must use an Xcode storyboard to provide the app’s launch screen.

The default Flutter template includes an Xcode storyboard named LaunchScreen.storyboard that can be customized as you see fit with your own assets. By default, the storyboard displays a blank image, but you can change this. To do so, open the Flutter app’s Xcode project by typing open ios/Runner.xcworkspace from the root of your app directory. Then select Runner/Assets.xcassets from the Project Navigator and drop in the desired images to the LaunchImage image set.

Apple provides detailed guidance for launch screens as part of the Human Interface Guidelines.

Android launch screen

In Android, there are two separate screens that you can control: a launch screen shown while your Android app initializes, and a splash screen that displays while the Flutter experience initializes.

Initializing the app

Every Android app requires initialization time while the operating system sets up the app’s process. Android provides the concept of a launch screen to display a Drawable while the app is initializing.

The default Flutter project template includes a definition of a launch theme and a launch background. You can customize this by editing styles.xml, where you can define a theme whose windowBackground is set to the Drawable that should be displayed as the launch screen.

<style name="LaunchTheme" parent="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar">
    <item name="android:windowBackground">@drawable/launch_background</item>
</style>

In addition, style.xml defines a normal theme to be applied to FlutterActivity after the launch screen is gone. The normal theme background only shows for a very brief moment after the splash screen disappears, and during orientation change and Activity restoration. Therefore, it is recommended that the normal theme use a solid background color that looks similar to the primary background color of the Flutter UI.

<style name="NormalTheme" parent="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar">
    <item name="android:windowBackground">@drawable/normal_background</item>
</style>

Set up the FlutterActivity in AndroidManifest.xml

In AndroidManifest.xml, set the theme of FlutterActivity to the launch theme. Then, add a metadata element to the desired FlutterActivity to instruct Flutter to switch from the launch theme to the normal theme at the appropriate time.

<activity
    android:name=".MyActivity"
    android:theme="@style/LaunchTheme"
    // ...
    >
    <meta-data
        android:name="io.flutter.embedding.android.NormalTheme"
        android:resource="@style/NormalTheme"
        />
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN"/>
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER"/>
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

The Android app now displays the desired launch screen while the app initializes.

The Flutter splash screen

Each Flutter experience in an app requires a few moments to initialize the Dart isolate that runs the code. This means a user momentarily sees a blank screen until Flutter renders its first frame. Flutter supports an improved user experience by displaying an Android View as a splash screen while Flutter initializes.

Flutter supports two options for a splash screen. The first option is to display a Drawable of your choice, which fades out after the initialization is complete. The other option is to provide a custom SplashScreen that is capable of displaying any Android View content that you want.

A Drawable splash screen can be configured for a FlutterActivity, FlutterFragment, or FlutterView.

In a FlutterActivity

To display a Drawable as a Flutter splash screen in a FlutterActivity, add the following metadata to the associated FlutterActivity in AndroidManifest.xml.

<meta-data
    android:name="io.flutter.embedding.android.SplashScreenDrawable"
    android:resource="@drawable/my_splash"
    />

To display a splash screen with the same visual as a launch screen, reference the same @drawable/launch_background in the io.flutter.embedding.android.SplashScreenDrawable meta-data.

In a FlutterFragment

To display a Drawable as a Flutter splash screen in a FlutterFragment, make FlutterFragment a subclass and override provideSplashScreen().

public class MyFlutterFragment extends FlutterFragment {
    @Override
    protected SplashScreen provideSplashScreen() {
        // Load the splash Drawable.
        Drawable splash = getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.my_splash);

        // Construct a DrawableSplashScreen with the loaded splash
        // Drawable and return it.
        return new DrawableSplashScreen(splash);
    }
}

Creating a custom SplashScreen

Splash screens are a great branding opportunity. Because of that, many apps implement unique, highly customized splash experiences. To facilitate this, Flutter allows you to display an arbitrary Android View as a splash screen, and even allows you to control how that View transitions to Flutter after Flutter renders its first frame.

Implement a custom splash View

First, define the custom View that should be displayed as the splash screen. This View could display anything, from a simple solid color to an animation.

Implement the SplashScreen interface

With a custom View defined, implement the SplashScreen interface.

This guide shows two approaches to a SplashScreen implementation. First, the following is an example of a SplashScreen that has no visual state and no transition animation.

public class SimpleSplashScreen implements SplashScreen {
    @Override
    @Nullable
    public View createSplashView(
      @NonNull Context context,
      @Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState
    ) {
        // Return a new MySplashView without saving a reference, because it
        // has no state that needs to be tracked or controlled.
        return new MySplashView(context);
    }

    @Override
    public void transitionToFlutter(@NonNull Runnable onTransitionComplete) {
        // Immediately invoke onTransitionComplete because this SplashScreen
        // doesn't display a transition animation.
        //
        // Every SplashScreen *MUST* invoke onTransitionComplete at some point
        // for the splash system to work correctly.
        onTransitionComplete.run();
    }
}

The second example is a bit more sophisticated. In this example, the custom SplashScreen keeps a reference to its custom View and instructs the custom View to transition away, passing the onTransitionComplete callback to the custom View to invoke.

public class SplashScreenWithTransition implements SplashScreen {
    private MySplashView mySplashView;

    @Override
    @Nullable
    public View createSplashView(
      @NonNull Context context,
      @Nullable Bundle savedInstanceState
    ) {
        // A reference to the MySplashView is retained so that it can be told
        // to transition away at the appropriate time.
        mySplashView = new MySplashView(context);
        return mySplashView;
    }

    @Override
    public void transitionToFlutter(@NonNull Runnable onTransitionComplete) {
        // Instruct MySplashView to animate away in whatever manner it wants.
        // The onTransitionComplete Runnable is passed to the MySplashView
        // to be invoked when the transition animation is complete.
        mySplashView.animateAway(onTransitionComplete);
    }
}

With custom splash screens, the sky is the limit. But use the power you have with responsibility: a splash screen that is too complex may frustrate your users by adding to your app’s load time. UX Collective provides some good tips on how to build a dynamic yet performant splash screen.