Building Secure Apps – Best Practices for Implementing Encryption in iOS

Building Secure Apps - Best Practices for Implementing Encryption in iOS
Building Secure Apps - Best Practices for Implementing Encryption in iOS

This post was most recently updated on August 22nd, 2023

The majority of people rely on smartphone apps for their technology. They handle a lot of private and sensitive user data like you’re banking and health information. The topic of this article is how to protect these data as best as possible. We focus on iOS Application Security.

We will show you that how a professional iPhone app development company in Dubai can help you become more secure in concrete ways. Our established protocols include guidelines for securely storing, sending and receiving information within the company. You will discover why security is such a challenge and how Apple and other service providers may assist you in making your app safer.

The Basics of iOS App Security

Your app probably handles private data that you don’t want anyone else to have access to. Subsequently, you want to try to store this information securely and make information transportation as secure as could really be expected.

We are concentrating on three primary subjects: how to use Apple’s new cryptographic APIs, secure data transportation, and how to store user data safely.

Best practices for storing user data

Numerous security features are already included in iOS app development. All iOS gadgets with an A7 processor or later likewise have a coprocessor called the Safe Territory. Hardware-accelerated security features are powered by it in iOS.

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Apple’s App Sandbox

On iOS, every app runs in a sandbox to ensure that it can only access data stored in its own unique home directory. Suppose an application has any desire to get to information beyond its home catalog, it necessities to utilize administrations given by iOS, similar to the ones accessible for getting to iCloud information or the photograph collection.

Accordingly, no other application can peruse or alter information from your application. Powered by UNIX user permissions, Apple’s App Sandbox ensures that applications are executed by a “mobile” user with fewer privileges. All that external the application’s home catalog is mounted and perused as it were. All framework documents and assets are safeguarded.

Apps cannot alter iOS or other apps by escalating privileges using the available APIs. An application must declare special entitlements in order to carry out specific privileged operations. These entitlements cannot be changed and are signed with the app. HealthKit and audio input are two examples of services for which special entitlements are required. Some entitlements can only be used if you have access to them from Apple. Services like CarPlay are included in this. Because misuse could result in fatal outcomes, they are more secure.

Data Protection API

Every iOS version from iOS 4 has had ata Protection as a built-in security feature. This functionality enables encryption and decryption of files in the directory of an app. The encryption and decoding processes are programmed, and equipment is sped up.

Information Assurance is accessible for document and data set APIs, including NSFileManager, Core Data, NSData, and SQLite.Each file can be set up to use one of the four protection levels that are available. All files are encrypted by default up until the first user authentication, but it might make sense to raise the level of protection for some data.

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The keychain is your protected spot to store little pieces of information. It is a secure, hardware-accelerated data storage with all of its contents encrypted. It is utilized by the framework to store information like passwords and authentications, yet you, as an application engineer, have additional admittance to this information stockpiling.

The keyring only has a place for your app or app group, and no other app is allowed access. Because you do not need to keep encryption keys in your application, you can rely on the system to offer the highest level of security.

The secure key-value storage alternative to NSUserDefaults is the keychain. NSUserDefaults should not be used with sensitive data because they are not encrypted at all. Accessibility and authentication policies can be specified for each keychain item.

You can ask for the user’s presence (by asking for Face ID or Touch ID to unlock) or make sure that the biometric ID enrollment hasn’t changed since the keychain item was added.

Best Practices for Secure Data Transportation

In addition to securely storing user data, you should ensure secure communication between your app and remote counterparts. This keeps aggressors from gathering private information by sniffing the organization’s traffic or by running vindictive servers.


Most network communication between clients and servers uses the HTTP protocol. HTTP connections are not, by default, encrypted. Attackers can simply sniff data from your local network or conduct man-in-the-middle assaults.

App Transport Security (ATS) is a brand-new feature that was added with iOS 9. It works on the security of organization correspondence in your applications. By default, ATS blocks insecure connections. It requires TLS-secured HTTPS for each and every HTTP connection.

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Push Notifications

To send message pop-ups to your clients, you really want to utilize Apple’s APNS administrations. You can use UNNotificationServiceExtension extensions to modify messages on the client side if you want to use end-to-end encryption or simply do not want Apple to (theoretically) read your messages.

This permits you to send either scrambled messages to your clients or use placeholders for delicate information. The messages will only be used to wake the app up. The app can then either decrypt the message or, in the case of placeholder messages, acquire the required information from the local device and swap out the placeholders with confidential information.

End-to-end encryption

The “holy grail” for safe data transport is end-to-end encryption. It permits you to encode messages such that main the shipper and beneficiary can unscramble them, and neither Apple nor your servers can peruse the cleartext information.

End-to-end encryption is difficult to implement and necessitates extensive cryptographic process expertise. On the off chance that your group doesn’t have the experience counseling an outsider master assisting with the execution of the encryption mechanism is entirely fitting.