Security and authentication

ArcGIS Location Platform supports secure access to location services and private data. It ensures that only valid, authorized users and services access protected information. To access secure resources, you need to implement an authentication method so your applications can make authenticated requests to services.

An authentication method is the process used obtain an access token. Your app must present an access token whenever it makes an authenticated request to location services. Access tokens define the privileges available to your application. The authentication method you use to get an access token will vary.

There are three types of authentication that can be used to obtain an access token:

  • API key authentication: grants a long-lived access token to authenticate requests to ArcGIS location services and, with an ArcGIS Location Platform account, private content. Go to the Create an API key tutorial to obtain a new API Key access token. It is the recommended type of authentication for developers new to ArcGIS or to development in general.
  • User authentication: grants a short-lived token, generated via OAuth, giving your application permission to access the content and services authorized to an existing ArcGIS user's account.
  • App authentication: grants a short-lived token, generated via OAuth, authorizing your application to access location services.

To make authenticated requests to services, you need to set the token parameter to an access token.

API key authentication

An API Key can grant your public-facing application access to specific ArcGIS location services, and, with an ArcGIS Location Platform account, private content, items, and limited client referrers.

Use API key authentication when you want to:

  • Quickly write applications that consume location services.
  • Provide access to services without requiring users to sign in with an ArcGIS account.
Learn more about API key authentication

Use an API key in your ArcGIS Runtime app

The API key access token can authorize access to specific ArcGIS Online services and resources from your app, as well as to monitor access to those services. Go to the Create an API key tutorial to obtain a new access token.

If you set the access token on the AGSArcGISRuntimeEnvironment using this access token, all requests made by your app will be authorized using this token. You can also set an access token on any ArcGIS Runtime class that implements AGSAPIKeyResource . When you set an access token for a specific class, it will override any access token you may have set on AGSArcGISRuntimeEnvironment , enabling more granular usage telemetry and management for ArcGIS Online resources by using the ArcGIS Location Platform.

Classes that implement AGSAPIKeyResource include:

User authentication

User authentication is a set of authentication workflows that allow users with an ArcGIS account to sign into an application and access ArcGIS content, services, and resources. The typical authentication protocol used is OAuth2.0. When a user signs into an application with their ArcGIS account, an access token is generated that authorizes the application to access services and content on their behalf. The resources and functionality available depend on the user type, roles, and privileges of the user's ArcGIS account.

Service your app accesses through user authentication will be billed to the authenticated user's ArcGIS account and its associated ArcGIS subscription. If your application will access your users' secure content in ArcGIS or if you plan to distribute your application through ArcGIS Marketplace, you must use user authentication.

Implement user authentication when you want to:

  • Ensure users are signed in and authenticated with their own ArcGIS account.
  • Use your app user's credits to pay for their private data, content, or service transactions.
  • Limit the length of time users can be signed in to your app with a temporary token.
  • Distribute your app through ArcGIS Marketplace.
Learn more about User authentication

App authentication

App authentication grant a short-lived access token, generated via OAuth, authorizing your application to access location services, such as basemap layers, search, and routing.

Use app authentication when you want to:

  • Access location services with a more secure process and a short-lived token.
  • Provide access to services without requiring users to have an ArcGIS account.
Learn more about App authentication

Choose an authentication method

The choice of which type of authentication to implement is primarily dependent upon the resources required by your application. Also consider the strengths and limitations of the API or SDK technology on which your application is built. Your choice of authentication method is also affected by the API with which you build your application. For example, ArcGIS Runtime APIs provide an AuthenticationManager, with helper methods and patterns to implement user authentication workflows.

Your app requires access only to location services, such as the basemap layer, geocoding, or routing services.API key authentication
Your app allows users to view and edit private data in ArcGIS.User authentication
Your app is on a web server or API backend and requires access only to basemaps and geocoding.App authentication
Your app uses Esri Leaflet, Mapbox GL JS, or OpenLayers.API key authentication
Your app uses an ArcGIS API.API key authentication or User authentication

Authentication manager

ArcGIS Runtime APIs contain an AuthenticationManager, which provides helper methods and patterns for implementing user authentication workflows.

The AGSAuthenticationManager class allows you to manage authentication/security related events.

It raises an AGSAuthenticationChallenge whenever an authentication or security issue is encountered anywhere in the API. It also provides a default challenge handler which displays UI containing information about the challenge and presents appropriate options to the user, for instance, requesting a username and password. If you want to handle authentication challenges yourself, for example to display your own custom UI, you can provide your own delegate

It also maintains a cache (in memory) of credentials that have been previously used to satisfy authentication challenges. This allows credentials to be reused, where appropriate, and prevent unnecessary or duplicate challenges from being issued while accessing secure resources from the same security realm. Additionally, the cache can easily be persisted in the keychain (See enableAutoSyncToKeychainWithIdentifier:accessGroup:acrossDevices: on AGSCredentialCache ) so that if the app is restarted, the cache is automatically pre-populated with saved credentials and the user does not have to sign in again.

What's Next?

For more information about Security and Authentication, see the Security and Authentication chapter.



Authenticate with OAuth

Integrated Windows authentication

Token authentication

Create and save a map

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