How to Handle Errors in Swift

Jun 1, 2023·

3 min read


Recently, while using Crashlytics, I realized that my understanding of the NSError type was quite limited. In order to address this knowledge gap, I decided to delve deeper and explore the features, usage, and applications of NSError in Swift. In this article, I will share the results of my research on NSError, aiming to enhance our understanding of this powerful error handling mechanism.

I hope to work together with you to gain a better understanding of this powerful error handling mechanism.

Understanding NSError

NSError is a type used to represent errors in Swift, allowing us to pass and handle error information. It is part of the Foundation framework and provides functionality for dealing with errors and exceptional situations.

Structure of NSError

The NSError object encompasses the following key properties:

  • Domain: It identifies the source of the error, usually represented by a reverse domain name such as "".

  • Code: This represents the specific error type being identified.

  • UserInfo: It is a dictionary that can store additional error information, such as localized descriptions or reasons for the error.

Creating an NSError

There are several ways to create an NSError object in Swift. One approach is to use the NSError(domain:code:userInfo:) initializer. Here's an example:

let errorDomain = ""
let errorCode = 100
let errorUserInfo = [NSLocalizedDescriptionKey: "An error occurred."]

let error = NSError(domain: errorDomain, code: errorCode, userInfo: errorUserInfo)

In the above example, we create an NSError object and set its domain to "", the code to 100, and provide a dictionary for additional error information.

Handling NSError

Handling an NSError involves examining its properties and using the appropriate methods. Here are some common handling techniques:

  • Domain and Code: Identifying and handling specific error types can be done by checking the domain and code properties of the NSError.

  • UserInfo: Accessing the userInfo property of the NSError allows us to retrieve additional error information. For instance, using the localizedDescription key provides a localized error description.

if let localizedDescription = error.userInfo[NSLocalizedDescriptionKey] as? String {
    print("Error: \(localizedDescription)")
  • NSError Type Casting: In Swift, it's possible to convert an NSError object into a Swift error type for more convenient error handling. This can be achieved using the as keyword and the corresponding error type.
URLSession.shared.dataTask(with: URL) { (_, response, error) in
if errro != nil {
    let httpResponse = response as? HTTPURLResponse
    let error = error as? NSError
    let userInfo = [NSLocalizedDescriptionKey: "An error occurred."]
    let nsError = NSError(
        domain: NSCocoaErrorDomain,
        code: error?.code ?? -1001,
        userInfo: userInfo
Crashlytics.crashlytics().record(error: nsError)
    Crashlytics.crashlytics().setCustomValue(logLine(), forKey: "path")
    completion(false, dothing)
  • do-catch: Using a do-catch block allows us to catch and handle thrown errors. We can execute error-prone code within the do block and capture and handle errors within the catch block.
enum CustomError: Error {
    case someError
    case anotherError

    try performTask()
    // Successful execution of the method
} catch CustomError.someError {
    // Handling a specific error type
    print("Some error occurred.")
} catch {
    // Capturing errors of other types
    print("An error occurred: \(error)")

In the above do-catch block, we can handle specific error types and capture any other type of error.


In Swift, NSError is a type used to represent and handle errors. It provides the domain, code, and additional error information, which can be processed by examining its properties and utilizing the appropriate methods.

Through the do-catch block, we can catch and handle thrown errors. Additionally, we can convert NSError objects into Swift error types for more convenient error handling.

Practically, utilizing NSError helps us effectively handle and propagate error information, thereby improving code reliability and readability.