GTMAppAuth 4.1.1

GTMAppAuth 4.1.1

LangLanguage Obj-CObjective C
License Apache-2.0
ReleasedLast Release Mar 2024

Maintained by Google, William Denniss, Peter Andrews, Matthew Mathias.

Depends on:
GTMSessionFetcher/Core< 4.0, >= 3.3
AppAuth/Core~> 1.7

  • By
  • Google LLC

Version Platform License tests

GTMAppAuth for Apple Platforms

GTMAppAuth enables you to use AppAuth with the Google Toolbox for Mac - Session Fetcher and Google APIs Client Library for Objective-C For REST libraries on iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS by providing an implementation of GTMFetcherAuthorizationProtocol for authorizing requests with AppAuth.

GTMAppAuth is an alternative authorizer to GTMOAuth2 . The key differentiator is the use of the user's default browser for the authorization, which is more secure, more usable (the user's session can be reused) and follows modern OAuth best practices for native apps. Compatibility methods for GTMOAuth2 are offered allowing you to migrate from GTMOAuth2 to GTMAppAuth preserving previously serialized authorizations (so users shouldn't need to re-authenticate).


If you use CocoaPods, simply add:

pod 'GTMAppAuth'

To your Podfile and run pod install.



To configure GTMAppAuth with the OAuth endpoints for Google, you can use the convenience method:

OIDServiceConfiguration *configuration = [GTMAuthSession configurationForGoogle];

Alternatively, you can configure GTMAppAuth by specifying the endpoints directly:

NSURL *authorizationEndpoint =
    [NSURL URLWithString:@""];
NSURL *tokenEndpoint =
    [NSURL URLWithString:@""];

OIDServiceConfiguration *configuration =
    [[OIDServiceConfiguration alloc]

// perform the auth request...

Or through discovery:

NSURL *issuer = [NSURL URLWithString:@""];

[OIDAuthorizationService discoverServiceConfigurationForIssuer:issuer
    completion:^(OIDServiceConfiguration *_Nullable configuration,
                 NSError *_Nullable error) {
  if (!configuration) {
    NSLog(@"Error retrieving discovery document: %@",
          [error localizedDescription]);

  // perform the auth request...


First, you need to have a way for your UIApplicationDelegate to continue the authorization flow session from the incoming redirect URI. Typically you could store the in-progress OIDAuthorizationFlowSession instance in a property:

// property of the app's UIApplicationDelegate
@property(nonatomic, nullable)
    id<OIDExternalUserAgentSession> currentAuthorizationFlow;

And in a location accessible by all controllers that need authorization, a property to store the authorization state:

// property of the containing class
@property(nonatomic, nullable) GTMAuthSession *authSession;

Then, initiate the authorization request. By using the authStateByPresentingAuthorizationRequest method, the OAuth token exchange will be performed automatically, and everything will be protected with PKCE (if the server supports it).

// builds authentication request
OIDAuthorizationRequest *request =
    [[OIDAuthorizationRequest alloc] initWithConfiguration:configuration
                                                    scopes:@[OIDScopeOpenID, OIDScopeProfile]
// performs authentication request
self.appDelegate.currentAuthorizationFlow =
    [OIDAuthState authStateByPresentingAuthorizationRequest:request
        callback:^(OIDAuthState *_Nullable authState,
                   NSError *_Nullable error) {
  if (authState) {
    // Creates a GTMAuthSession from the OIDAuthState.
    self.authSession = [[GTMAuthSession alloc] initWithAuthState:authState];
    NSLog(@"Got authorization tokens. Access token: %@",
  } else {
    NSLog(@"Authorization error: %@", [error localizedDescription]);
    self.authSession = nil;

Handling the Redirect

The authorization response URL is returned to the app via the platform-specific application delegate method, so you need to pipe this through to the current authorization session (created in the previous session).

macOS Custom URI Scheme Redirect Example

- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(NSNotification *)aNotification {
  // Other app initialization code ...

  // Register for GetURL events.
  NSAppleEventManager *appleEventManager =
      [NSAppleEventManager sharedAppleEventManager];
  [appleEventManager setEventHandler:self

- (void)handleGetURLEvent:(NSAppleEventDescriptor *)event
           withReplyEvent:(NSAppleEventDescriptor *)replyEvent {
  NSString *URLString = [[event paramDescriptorForKeyword:keyDirectObject] stringValue];
  NSURL *URL = [NSURL URLWithString:URLString];
  [_currentAuthorizationFlow resumeExternalUserAgentFlowWithURL:URL];

iOS Custom URI Scheme Redirect Example

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)app
            openURL:(NSURL *)url
            options:(NSDictionary<NSString *, id> *)options {
  // Sends the URL to the current authorization flow (if any) which will
  // process it if it relates to an authorization response.
  if ([_currentAuthorizationFlow resumeExternalUserAgentFlowWithURL:url]) {
    _currentAuthorizationFlow = nil;
    return YES;

  // Your additional URL handling (if any) goes here.

  return NO;

Making API Calls

The goal of GTMAppAuth is to enable you to authorize HTTP requests with fresh tokens following the Session Fetcher pattern, which you can do like so:

// Creates a GTMSessionFetcherService with the authorization.
// Normally you would save this service object and re-use it for all REST API calls.
GTMSessionFetcherService *fetcherService = [[GTMSessionFetcherService alloc] init];
fetcherService.authorizer = self.authSession;

// Creates a fetcher for the API call.
NSURL *userinfoEndpoint = [NSURL URLWithString:@""];
GTMSessionFetcher *fetcher = [fetcherService fetcherWithURL:userinfoEndpoint];
[fetcher beginFetchWithCompletionHandler:^(NSData *data, NSError *error) {
  // Checks for an error.
  if (error) {
    // OIDOAuthTokenErrorDomain indicates an issue with the authorization.
    if ([error.domain isEqual:OIDOAuthTokenErrorDomain]) {
      self.authSession = nil;
      NSLog(@"Authorization error during token refresh, clearing state. %@",
    // Other errors are assumed transient.
    } else {
      NSLog(@"Transient error during token refresh. %@", error);

  // Parses the JSON response.
  NSError *jsonError = nil;
  id jsonDictionaryOrArray =
      [NSJSONSerialization JSONObjectWithData:data options:0 error:&jsonError];

  // JSON error.
  if (jsonError) {
    NSLog(@"JSON decoding error %@", jsonError);

  // Success response!
  NSLog(@"Success: %@", jsonDictionaryOrArray);

Saving to the Keychain

You can easily save GTMAuthSession instances to the Keychain using the GTMKeychainStore class.

// Create a GIDKeychainStore instance, intializing it with the Keychain item name `kKeychainItemName`
// which will be used when saving, retrieving, and removing `GTMAuthSession` instances.
GIDKeychainStore *keychainStore = [[GIDKeychainStore alloc] initWithItemName:kKeychainItemName];
NSError *error;

// Save to the Keychain
[keychainStore saveAuthSession:self.authSession error:&error];
if (error) {
  // Handle error

// Retrieve from the Keychain
self.authSession = [keychainStore retrieveAuthSessionWithError:&error];
if (error) {
  // Handle error

// Remove from the Keychain
[keychainStore removeAuthSessionWithError:&error];
if (error) {
  // Handle error

Keychain Storage

With GTMKeychainStore, by default, GTMAuthSession instances are stored using Keychain items of the kSecClassGenericPassword class with a kSecAttrAccount value of "OAuth" and a developer supplied value for kSecAttrService. For this use of generic password items, the combination of account and service values acts as the primary key of the Keychain items. The kSecAttrAccessible key is set to kSecAttrAccessibleAfterFirstUnlockThisDeviceOnly in order to allow background access after initial device unlock following a restart. A keyed archive representation of the relevant GTMAuthSession instance is supplied as the value for kSecValueData and this is encrypted and stored by Keychain Services.

For macOS, two Keychain storage options are available: the traditional file-based Keychain storage which uses access control lists and the more modern data protection keychain storage which uses Keychain access control groups. By default, GTMAppAuth uses the file-based Keychain storage on macOS. You may opt into using data protection keychain storage by including the GTMKeychainAttribute.useDataProtectionKeychain attribute in the keychainAttributes parameter of initWithItemName:keychainAttributes: when initializing GTMKeychainStore. Note that Keychain items stored via one storage type will not be available via the other and macOS apps that choose to use the data protection Keychain will need to be signed in order for Keychain operations to succeed.

Implementing Your Own Storage

If you'd like to use a backing store other than the Keychain to save your GTMAuthSession instances, you can create your own GTMAuthSessionStore conformance. Use GTMKeychainStore as an example of how to do this.

GTMOAuth2 Compatibility

To assist the migration from GTMOAuth2 to GTMAppAuth, GTMOAuth2-compatible Keychain methods are provided in GTMKeychainStore.

GTMKeychainStore keychainStore = [[GTMKeychainStore alloc] initWithItemName:kKeychainItemName];

// Retrieve from the Keychain
NSError *error;
GTMAuthSession *authSession =
    [keychainStore retrieveAuthSessionForGoogleInGTMOAuth2FormatWithClientID:clientID

// Remove from the Keychain
[keychainStore removeAuthSessionWithError:&error];

You can also save to GTMOAuth2 format, though this is discouraged (you should save in GTMAppAuth format as described above).

// Save to the Keychain
[keychainStore saveWithGTMOAuth2FormatForAuthSession:authSession error:&error];

Included Samples

Try out one of the included sample apps under Examples. In the apps folder run pod install, then open the resulting xcworkspace file.

Be sure to follow the instructions in Example-iOS/ or Example-macOS/ to configure your own OAuth client ID for use with the example.

Differences with GTMOAuth2

Authorization Method

GTMAppAuth uses the browser to present the authorization request, while GTMOAuth2 uses an embedded web-view. Migrating to GTMAppAuth will require you to change how you authorize the user. Follow the instructions above to get the authorization. You can then create a GTMAuthSession object with its initWithAuthState: initializer. Once you have a GTMAuthSession you can continue to make REST calls as before.

Error Handling

GTMAppAuth's error handling is also different. There are no notifications, instead you need to inspect NSError in the callback. If the error domain is OIDOAuthTokenErrorDomain, it indicates an authorization error, you should clear your authorization state and consider prompting the user to authorize again. Other errors are generally considered transient, meaning that you should retry the request after a delay.


The serialization format is different between GTMOAuth2 and GTMAppAuth, though we have methods to help you migrate from one to the other without losing any data.

Migrating from GTMOAuth2

OAuth Client Registration

Typically, GTMOAuth2 clients are registered with Google as type "Other". Instead, Apple clients should be registered with the type "iOS".

If you're migrating an Apple client in the same project as your existing client, register a new iOS client to be used with GTMAppAuth.

Changing your Authorization Flows

Both GTMOAuth2 and GTMAppAuth support the GTMFetcherAuthorizationProtocol allowing you to use the authorization with the session fetcher. Where you previously had a property like GTMOAuth2Authentication *authorization change the type to reference the protocol instead, i.e.: id<GTMFetcherAuthorizationProtocol> authorization. This allows you to switch the authorization implementation under the hood to GTMAppAuth.

Then, follow the instructions above to replace authorization request (where you ask the user to grant access) with the GTMAppAuth approach. If you created a new OAuth client, use that for these requests.

Serialization & Migrating Existing Grants

GTMAppAuth has a new data format and APIs for serialization. Unlike GTMOAuth2, GTMAppAuth serializes the configuration and history of the authorization, including the client id, and a record of the authorization request that resulted in the authorization grant.

The client ID used for GTMAppAuth is different to the one used for GTMOAuth2. In order to keep track of the different client ids used for new and old grants, it's recommended to migrate to the new serialization format, which will store that for you. GTMOAuth2-compatible serialization is also offered, but not fully supported.

Change how you serialize your authorization object by using GTMAuthSession and GTMKeychainStore as follows:

// Create an auth session from AppAuth's auth state object
GTMAuthSession *authSession = [[GTMAuthSession alloc] initWithAuthState:authState];

// Create a keychain store
GTMKeychainStore keychainStore = [[GTMKeychainStore alloc] initWithItemName:kNewKeychainName];

// Serialize to Keychain
NSError *error;
[keychainStore saveAuthSession:authSession error:&error];

Be sure to use a new name for the keychain. Don't reuse your old one!

For deserializing, we can preserve all existing grants (so users who authorized your app in GTMOAuth2 don't have to authorize it again). Remember that when deserializing the old data you need to use your old keychain name, and the old client id and client secret (if those changed), and that when serializing to the new format, use the new keychain name. Once again, pay particular care to use the old details when deserializing the GTMOAuth2 keychain, and the new details for all other GTMAppAuth calls.

Keychain migration example:

// Create a keychain store
GTMKeychainStore keychainStore = [[GTMKeychainStore alloc] initWithItemName:kNewKeychainName];

// Attempt to deserialize from Keychain in GTMAppAuth format.
NSError *error;
GTMAuthSesion *authSession =
    [keychainStore retrieveAuthSessionWithError:&error];

// If no data found in the new format, try to deserialize data from GTMOAuth2
if (!authSession) {
  // Tries to load the data serialized by GTMOAuth2 using old keychain name.
  // If you created a new client id, be sure to use the *previous* client id and secret here.
  GTMKeychainStore oldKeychainStore = [[GTMKeychainStore alloc] initWithItemName:kPreviousKeychainName];
  authSession =
      [oldKeychainStore retrieveAuthSessionInGTMOAuth2FormatWithClientID:kPreviousClientID
  if (authSession) {
    // Remove previously stored GTMOAuth2-formatted data.
    [oldKeychainStore removeAuthSessionWithError:&error];
    // Serialize to Keychain in GTMAppAuth format.
    [keychainStore saveAuthSession:authSession error:&error];