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Enabling cross-app authentication with shared iOS Keychain

To share authentication states across multiple apps or extensions on iOS, store the authentication state in a shared keychain using Keychain Services and configure your apps to use the shared keychain.

This allows users to:

  • Sign in once and be signed in across all apps that belong to the same access group.
  • Sign out once and be signed out across all apps that belong to the same access group.

Share auth state between apps

To share auth state between apps:

  1. Set up an access group for your apps.

    You can use either a keychain access group or an app group. See Sharing Access to Keychain Items Among a Collection of Apps for details.

    To set up a keychain access group, do the following for each app:

    1. In Xcode, go to Project settings > Capabilities.
    2. Enable Keychain Sharing.
    3. Add a keychain group identifier. Use the same identifier for all of the apps you want to share state.
  2. In each app, set the access group to the keychain access group or app group you created in the previous step.

    Swift

    do {
      try Auth.auth().useUserAccessGroup("TEAMID.com.example.group1")
    } catch let error as NSError {
      print("Error changing user access group: %@", error)
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth.auth useUserAccessGroup:@"TEAMID.com.example.group1"
                                       error:nil];
    
  3. In at least one app, sign in a user with any sign in method.

    Swift

    Auth.auth().signInAnonymously { result, error in
      // User signed in
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth signInAnonymouslyWithCompletion:^(FIRAuthDataResult *_Nullable result,
                                               NSError *_Nullable error) {
      // User signed in
    }];
    

    The same current user is available in all apps in the access group.

    Swift

    var user = Auth.auth().currentUser
    

    Objective-C

    FIRUser *user = FIRAuth.auth.currentUser;
    

Switch back to an unshared keychain

  1. Set the access group to nil to stop sharing auth state.

    Swift

    do {
      try Auth.auth().useUserAccessGroup(nil)
    } catch let error as NSError {
      print("Error changing user access group: %@", error)
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth.auth useUserAccessGroup:nil error:nil];
    
  2. Sign in a user with any sign in method. The user state will not be available to any other apps.

    Swift

    Auth.auth().signInAnonymously { result, error in
      // User signed in
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth signInAnonymouslyWithCompletion:^(FIRAuthDataResult *_Nullable result,
                                       NSError *_Nullable error) {
      // User signed in
    }];
    

Migrate a signed-in user to a shared keychain

To migrate a user who's already signed in to a shared state:

  1. Make a reference to the current user for future use.

    Swift

    var user = Auth.auth().currentUser
    

    Objective-C

    FIRUser *user = FIRAuth.auth.currentUser;
    
  2. (Optional) Check the auth state of the access group you want to share.

    Swift

    let accessGroup = "TEAMID.com.example.group1"
    var tempUser: User?
    do {
      try tempUser = Auth.auth().getStoredUser(forAccessGroup: accessGroup)
    } catch let error as NSError {
      print("Error getting stored user: %@", error)
    }
    if tempUser != nil {
      // A user exists in the access group
    } else {
      // No user exists in the access group
    }
    

    Objective-C

    NSString *accessGroup = @"TEAMID.com.example.group1";
    FIRUser *tempUser = [FIRAuth getStoredUserForAccessGroup:accessGroup
                                                       error:nil];
    if (tempUser) {
      // A user exists in the access group
      } else {
      // No user exists in the access group
    }
    
  3. Use an access group that you previously set in the project settings.

    Swift

    do {
      try Auth.auth().useUserAccessGroup(accessGroup)
    } catch let error as NSError {
      print("Error changing user access group: %@", error)
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth.auth useUserAccessGroup:accessGroup error:nil];
    
  4. Update the current user.

    Swift

    Auth.auth().updateCurrentUser(user!) { error in
      // Error handling
    }
    

    Objective-C

    [FIRAuth.auth updateCurrentUser:user completion:^(NSError * _Nullable error) {
      // Error handling
    }];
    
  5. The user now can be accessed by other apps that have access to the same access group.