Type Casting

Type casting is a way to check the type of an instance, or to treat that instance as a different superclass or subclass from somewhere else in its own class hierarchy.

Type casting in Swift is implemented with the is and as operators. These two operators provide a simple and expressive way to check the type of a value or cast a value to a different type.

Defining a Class Hierarchy for Type Casting

class MediaItem {
   var name: String
   init(name: String) {
       self.name = name

class Movie: MediaItem {
   var director: String
   init(name: String, director: String) {
       self.director = director
       super.init(name: name)
class Song: MediaItem {
   var artist: String
   init(name: String, artist: String) {
       self.artist = artist
       super.init(name: name)

The final snippet creates a constant array called library, which contains two Movie instances and three Song instances. The type of the library array is inferred by initializing it with the contents of an array literal. Swift’s type checker is able to deduce that Movie and Song have a common superclass of MediaItem, and so it infers a type of [MediaItem] for the library array:

let library = [
   Movie(name: “Casablanca”, director: “Michael Curtiz”),
   Song(name: “Blue Suede Shoes”, artist: “Elvis Presley”),
   Movie(name: “Citizen Kane”, director: “Orson Welles”),
   Song(name: “The One And Only”, artist: “Chesney Hawkes”),
   Song(name: “Never Gonna Give You Up”, artist: “Rick Astley”)
// the type of “library” is inferred to be [MediaItem]

The items stored in library are still Movie and Song instances behind the scenes. However, if you iterate over the contents of this array, the items you receive back are typed as MediaItem, and not as Movie or Song. In order to work with them as their native type, you need to check their type, or downcast them to a different type, as described below.

Checking Type

Use the type check operator (is) to check whether an instance is of a certain subclass type. The type check operator returns true if the instance is of that subclass type and false if it is not.

var movieCount = 0
var songCount = 0
for item in library {
   if item is Movie {
       movieCount += 1
   } else if item is Song {
       songCount += 1
print(“Media library contains (movieCount) movies and (songCount) songs”)
// Prints “Media library contains 2 movies and 3 songs”


A constant or variable of a certain class type may actually refer to an instance of a subclass behind the scenes. Where you believe this is the case, you can try to downcast to the subclass type with a type cast operator (as? or as!).

Because downcasting can fail, the type cast operator comes in two different forms. The conditional form, as?, returns an optional value of the type you are trying to downcast to. The forced form, as!, attempts the downcast and force-unwraps the result as a single compound action.

Use the conditional form of the type cast operator (as?) when you are not sure if the downcast will succeed. This form of the operator will always return an optional value, and the value will be nil if the downcast was not possible. This enables you to check for a successful downcast.

Use the forced form of the type cast operator (as!) only when you are sure that the downcast will always succeed. This form of the operator will trigger a runtime error if you try to downcast to an incorrect class type.

for item in library {
   if let movie = item as? Movie {
       print(“Movie: (movie.name), dir. (movie.director)”)
   } else if let song = item as? Song {
       print(“Song: (song.name), by (song.artist)”)
// Movie: Casablanca, dir. Michael Curtiz
// Song: Blue Suede Shoes, by Elvis Presley
// Movie: Citizen Kane, dir. Orson Welles
// Song: The One And Only, by Chesney Hawkes
// Song: Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley

Type Casting for Any and AnyObject

Swift provides two special types for working with nonspecific types:

  • Any can represent an instance of any type at all, including function types.
  • AnyObject can represent an instance of any class type.

var things = [Any]()
things.append((3.0, 5.0))
things.append(Movie(name: “Ghostbusters”, director: “Ivan Reitman”))
things.append({ (name: String) -> String in “Hello, (name)” })

(참고사항 if case https://stackoverflow.com/a/37888514)


Optional Pattern


for thing in things {
   switch thing {
   case 0 as Int:
       print(“zero as an Int”)
   case 0 as Double:
       print(“zero as a Double”)
   case let someInt as Int:
       print(“an integer value of (someInt)”)
   case let someDouble as Double where someDouble > 0:
       print(“a positive double value of (someDouble)”)
   case is Double:
       print(“some other double value that I don’t want to print”)
   case let someString as String:
       print(“a string value of “(someString)””)
   case let (x, y) as (Double, Double):
       print(“an (x, y) point at (x), (y)”)
   case let movie as Movie:
       print(“a movie called (movie.name), dir. (movie.director)”)
   case let stringConverter as (String) -> String:
       print(“something else”)
// zero as an Int
// zero as a Double
// an integer value of 42
// a positive double value of 3.14159
// a string value of “hello”
// an (x, y) point at 3.0, 5.0
// a movie called Ghostbusters, dir. Ivan Reitman
// Hello, Michael


The Any type represents values of any type, including optional types. Swift gives you a warning if you use an optional value where a value of type Any is expected. If you really do need to use an optional value as an Any value, you can use the as operator to explicitly cast the optional to Any, as shown below.

let optionalNumber: Int? = 3
things.append(optionalNumber)        // Warning
things.append(optionalNumber as Any) // No warning

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