PIATunnel 1.1.6

PIATunnel 1.1.6

Maintained by Davide De Rosa.

PIATunnel 1.1.6

  • By
  • Davide De Rosa

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Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access is the world's leading consumer VPN service. At Private Internet Access we believe in unfettered access for all, and as a firm supporter of the open source ecosystem we have made the decision to open source our VPN clients. For more information about the PIA service, please visit our website privateinternetaccess.com or check out the Wiki.

Tunnel for Apple platforms

This library provides a simplified Swift/Obj-C implementation of the OpenVPN® protocol for the Apple platforms, while also taking advantage of the Private Internet Access client patch customizations. The crypto layer is built on top of OpenSSL 1.1.0h, which in turn enables support for a certain range of encryption and digest algorithms.

Getting started

The client is known to work with OpenVPN® 2.3+ servers. Key renegotiation and replay protection are also included, but full-fledged configuration files (.ovpn) are not currently supported.

  • Handshake and tunneling over UDP or TCP
  • Client-initiated renegotiation
  • Replay protection (hardcoded window)
  • Data encryption
    • AES-CBC (128 and 256 bit)
    • AES-GCM (128 and 256 bit)
  • HMAC digest
    • SHA-1
    • SHA-256
  • TLS CA validation
    • RSA (2048, 3072 and 4096 bit)
    • ECC (secp256r1, secp521r1, secp256k1)
    • Custom certificate



  • iOS 9.0+ / macOS 10.11+
  • Xcode 9+ (Swift 4)
  • Git (preinstalled with Xcode Command Line Tools)
  • Ruby (preinstalled with macOS)
  • CocoaPods 1.5.0
  • jazzy (optional, for documentation)

It's highly recommended to use the Git and Ruby packages provided by Homebrew.


To use with CocoaPods just add this to your Podfile:

pod 'PIATunnel'


Download the library codebase locally:

$ git clone https://github.com/pia-foss/tunnel-apple.git

Assuming you have a working CocoaPods environment, setting up the library workspace only requires installing the pod dependencies:

$ pod install

After that, open PIATunnel.xcworkspace in Xcode and run the unit tests found in the PIATunnelTests target. A simple CMD+U while on PIATunnel-iOS should do that as well.


There is a Demo directory containing a simple app for testing the tunnel, called BasicTunnel. As usual, prepare for CocoaPods:

$ pod install

then open Demo.xcworkspace and run the BasicTunnel-iOS target.

For the VPN to work properly, the BasicTunnel demo requires:

  • App Groups and Keychain Sharing capabilities
  • App IDs with Packet Tunnel entitlements

both in the main app and the tunnel extension target.

In order to test connection to your own server rather than a PIA server, modify the file Demo/BasicTunnel-[iOS|macOS]/ViewController.swift and make sure to:

  • Replace .pia with .vanilla in builder.endpointProtocols.
  • Set builder.handshake to .custom.
  • Set builder.ca to the PEM formatted certificate of your VPN server's CA.


builder.endpointProtocols = [PIATunnelProvider.EndpointProtocol(.udp, 1194, .vanilla)]
builder.handshake = .custom
builder.ca = """


The library is split into two modules, in order to decouple the low-level protocol implementation from the platform-specific bridging, namely the NetworkExtension VPN framework.

Full documentation of the public interface is available and can be generated with jazzy. After installing the jazzy Ruby gem with:

$ gem install jazzy

enter the root directory of the repository and run:

$ jazzy

The generated output is stored into the docs directory in HTML format.


Here you will find the low-level entities on top of which the connection is established. Code is mixed Swift and Obj-C, most of it is not exposed to consumers. The Core module depends on OpenSSL and is mostly platform-agnostic.

The entry point is the SessionProxy class. The networking layer is fully abstract and delegated externally with the use of opaque IOInterface (LinkInterface and TunnelInterface) and SessionProxyDelegate protocols.


The goal of this module is packaging up a black box implementation of a NEPacketTunnelProvider, which is the essential part of a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension. You will find the main implementation in the PIATunnelProvider class.

Currently, the extension supports VPN over both UDP and TCP sockets. A debug log snapshot is optionally maintained and shared to host apps via UserDefaults in a shared App Group.


By contributing to this project you are agreeing to the terms stated in the Contributor License Agreement (CLA) here.

For more details please see CONTRIBUTING.

Issues and Pull Requests should use these templates: ISSUE and PULL REQUEST.



This project is licensed under the MIT (Expat) license, which can be found here.


  • SwiftyBeaver - © 2015 Sebastian Kreutzberger

This product includes software developed by the OpenSSL Project for use in the OpenSSL Toolkit. (https://www.openssl.org/)

© 2002-2018 OpenVPN Inc. - OpenVPN is a registered trademark of OpenVPN Inc.