Swiftpack.co - Package - kylebrowning/swift-nio-http2-apns

This is a pitch on Swift forums for Apple Push notification implementation.


A lightweight, non intrusive, low dependency library to communicate with APNS over HTTP/2 built with Swift NIO.


APNS is used to push billions of pushes a day, (7 billion per day in 2012). Many of us using Swift on the backend are using it to power our iOS applications. Having a community supported APNS implementation would go a long way to making it the fastest, free-ist, and simplest solution that exists.

Also too many non standard approaches currently exist. Some use code that depends on Security (Doesn't work on linux) and I haven't found one that uses NIO with no other dependencies. Some just execute curl commands.

Existing solutions

  • https://github.com/moritzsternemann/nio-apns
  • https://github.com/kaunteya/APNSwift
  • https://medium.com/@nathantannar4/supporting-push-notifications-with-vapor-3-3f6cc959c789
  • https://github.com/PerfectlySoft/Perfect-Notifications
  • https://github.com/hjuraev/VaporNotifications

Almost all require a ton of dependencies.

Proposed Solution

Develop a Swift NIO HTTP2 solution with minimal dependencies.

A proof of concept implementation exists here

What it does do

  • Provides an API for handling connection to Apples HTTP2 APNS server
  • Provides proper error messages that APNS might respond with.
  • Uses custom/non dependency implementations of JSON Web Token specific to APNS (using rfc7519
  • Imports OpenSSL for SHA256 and ES256
  • Provides an interface for signing your Push Notifications
  • Signs your token request
  • Sends push notifications to a specific device.
  • Adheres to guidelines Apple Provides.

What it doesn't do YET

  • Use an OpenSSL implementation that is not CNIOOpenSSL

What it won't do.

  • Store/register device tokens
  • Build an HTTP2 generic client
  • Google Cloud Message
  • Refresh your token no more than once every 20 minutes and no less than once every 60 minutes. (up to connection handler)
  • Provide multiple device tokens to send same push to.

What it could do

Running Test on macOS

Be sure to have LibreSSL installed and make sure pkg-config can see LibreSSL

  • brew install libressl
  • export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="/usr/local/opt/libressl/lib/pkgconfig"
  • swift test


let group = MultiThreadedEventLoopGroup(numberOfThreads: 1)
var verbose = true

let apnsConfig = APNSConfiguration(keyIdentifier: "2M7SG2MR8K",
                                   teamIdentifier: "ABBM6U9RM5",
                                   signingMode: try .file(path: "/Users/kylebrowning/Downloads/key.p8"),
                                   topic: "com.grasscove.Fern",
                                   environment: .sandbox)

let apns = try APNSConnection.connect(configuration: apnsConfig, on: group.next()).wait()

if verbose {
    print("* Connected to \(apnsConfig.url.host!) (\(apns.channel.remoteAddress!)")

// Custom data on Notification
struct AcmeNotification: APNSNotificationProtocol {
    let acme2: [String]
    let aps: APSPayload
    init(acme2: [String], aps: APSPayload) {
        self.acme2 = acme2
        self.aps = aps

let alert = Alert(title: "Hey There", subtitle: "Subtitle", body: "Body")
let aps = APSPayload(alert: alert, badge: 1)
let notification = AcmeNotification(acme2: ["bang", "whiz"], aps: aps)

let res = try apns.send(notification, to: "223a86bdd22598fb3a76ce12eafd590c86592484539f9b8526d0e683ad10cf4f").wait()
print("APNS response: \(res)")

try apns.close().wait()
try group.syncShutdownGracefully()

Vapor Example

This outlines what it takes to get working with Vapor

Vapor Service

Depending on which platform you are using, you will need to expose the NIOAPNS API to your apps code. In Vapor this can be done with Service, a dependency injection framework.

import NIO
import NIOAPNS
import Service

// MARK: - Service
public protocol APNSService: Service {
    var configuration: APNSConfiguration { get }
    func send(notification: APNSNotification, to: String, aps: Aps, group: EventLoop) throws -> EventLoopFuture<APNSResponse>
public struct APNS: APNSService {
    public var configuration: APNSConfiguration

    public init(configuration: APNSConfiguration) {
        self.configuration = configuration
    public func send(notification: APNSNotification, to: String, aps: Aps, group: EventLoop) throws -> EventLoopFuture<APNSResponse> {
        return APNSConnection.connect(configuration: configuration, on: group.next()).then({ (connection) -> EventLoopFuture<APNSResponse> in
            return connection.send(notification: APNSRequest(aps: aps, custom: nil), to: to)

Vapor Config

In vapor, you register services in configure.swift

    let apnsConfig = try APNSConfiguration(keyIdentifier: "2M7SG2MR8K",
                                   teamIdentifier: "ABBM6U9RM5",
                                   signingMode: .file(path: "/Users/kylebrowning/Downloads/key.p8"),
                                   topic: "com.grasscove.Fern",
                                   environment: .sandbox)
    services.register(APNS(configuration: APNSConfiguration))


This provides the APNS Service to be made available on requests. The device token used here was registered via Apple UserNotification SDK. (Which ill show in the next steps)

   router.get("singlePush") { req -> String in
        let temp = try req.make(APNS.self)
        let alert = Alert(title: "Hey There", subtitle: "Subtitle", body: "Body")
        let aps = APSPayload(alert: alert, badge: 1)
        let resp = try temp.send(deviceToken: "223a86bdd22598fb3a76ce12eafd590c86592484539f9b8526d0e683ad10cf4f", aps: aps, group: req.eventLoop)
        return "It works!"

Expanded examples

Here is a quick APNS Device model for Vapor

Here is how you register on iOS to our Vapor backend

This fetches all registered device tokens in Vapor, and pushes a notification to them


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