Cocoa: What's the difference between the frame and the bounds?

UIView and its subclasses all have the properties frame and bounds. What's the difference?


  • The bounds of an UIView is the rectangle, expressed as a location (x,y) and size (width,height) relative to its own coordinate system (0,0).

    The frame of an UIView is the rectangle, expressed as a location (x,y) and size (width,height) relative to the superview it is contained within.

    So, imagine a view that has a size of 100x100 (width x height) positioned at 25,25 (x,y) of its superview. The following code prints out this view's bounds and frame:

    // This method is in the view controller of the superview
    - (void)viewDidLoad {
        [super viewDidLoad];
        NSLog(@"bounds.origin.x: %f", label.bounds.origin.x);
        NSLog(@"bounds.origin.y: %f", label.bounds.origin.y);
        NSLog(@"bounds.size.width: %f", label.bounds.size.width);
        NSLog(@"bounds.size.height: %f", label.bounds.size.height);
        NSLog(@"frame.origin.x: %f", label.frame.origin.x);
        NSLog(@"frame.origin.y: %f", label.frame.origin.y);
        NSLog(@"frame.size.width: %f", label.frame.size.width);
        NSLog(@"frame.size.height: %f", label.frame.size.height);

    And the output of this code is:

    bounds.origin.x: 0
    bounds.origin.y: 0
    bounds.size.width: 100
    bounds.size.height: 100
    frame.origin.x: 25
    frame.origin.y: 25
    frame.size.width: 100
    frame.size.height: 100

    So, we can see that in both cases, the width and the height of the view is the same regardless of whether we are looking at the bounds or frame. What is different is the x,y positioning of the view. In the case of the bounds, the x and y coordinates are at 0,0 as these coordinates are relative to the view itself. However, the frame x and y coordinates are relative to the position of the view within the parent view (which earlier we said was at 25,25).

    There is also a great presentation that covers UIViews. See slides 1-20 which not only explain the difference between frames and bounds but also show visual examples.