Security and authentication

ArcGIS supports secure access to location services and private data. It ensures that only valid, authorized users and services access protected information. In order to access secure ArcGIS resources, you need an access token. To get an access token, you need to choose a type of authentication and implement an authentication workflow in your app. The type of authentication you use will depend on the security and access requirements of your app.

There are three types of authentication that you can use to get an access token:

  • API key authentication: grants a permanent token that grants your application access to ready-to-use services and, with an ArcGIS Developer account, private content.
  • User authentication (formerly named user): grants a short-lived token, generated via OAuth 2.0, giving your application permission to access the content and services authorized to an existing ArcGIS user's account.
  • App credential authentication: grants a short-lived token, generated via OAuth 2.0, authorizing your application to access ready-to-use services.

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

For more information, see Security and authentication in the Mapping APIs and location services guide.

Choose a type of authentication

The following considerations can help determine which type of authentication to implement:

  • Access to resources—Your app can access ready-to-use services using an API key, User authentication, or App credential authentication. To access private data hosted in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise, or content that requires an ArcGIS Online subscription, your app needs an authenticated user to sign in with their account.

  • User experience—If you don't want to make users log in, your app can access ready-to-use services using an API key or App credential authentication. In this case, users will not need to have an ArcGIS account in order to use your app.

  • Usage charges—If you want service usage to be charged to the user's account, your app must request that the user log in. When using an API key or App credential authentication, all access to services from your app will be charged to your developer account.

You might also need to consider the level of security required for your app, how your app will be distributed, and your available ArcGIS products and accounts.

Your app requires access to ready-to-use services only, you don't want to make users log in, and you are willing to pay for all charges incurred from usage of the app.API key or App credential authentication
Your app requires access to ready-to-use services only and you want usage charged to the user.User authentication
Your app needs to access content that requires an ArcGIS Online subscription.User authentication
Your app needs to access private hosted data on your ArcGIS Developer account.API key or App credential authentication
Your app allows users to view and edit private data hosted in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise.User authentication
You plan to distribute your app through ArcGIS Marketplace.User authentication

API key authentication

An API key is a permanent access token that grants your public-facing application access to specific, ready-to-use services, and, with an ArcGIS Developer account, private content, items, and limited client referrers.

Use API keys when you want to:

  • Quickly write applications that consume ready-to-use services.
  • Provide access to services without requiring users to sign in with an ArcGIS account.
  • Use an access token that doesn't expire.
Learn more about API keys

Use API keys in your app

An API key can be used to authorize access to specific ArcGIS Online services and resources from your app, as well as to monitor access to those services. An API key is created and managed in the ArcGIS developer dashboard and is tied to your ArcGIS account.

You can set an API key on the ArcGISRuntimeEnvironment, which will apply the key to all requests your app makes for ArcGIS Online services and resources.

You can also set an API key on any class that implements ApiKeyResource. When you set an API key for a specific class, it will override any key you may have set on ArcGISRuntimeEnvironment, enabling more granular usage telemetry and management for ArcGIS Online resources used by your app.

Classes that implement ApiKeyResource 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. This authentication type was previously known as Named user login and ArcGIS identity.

Services that your app accesses with 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 credential authentication

App credential authentication grants a short-lived access token, generated via OAuth 2.0, authorizing your application to access ready-to-use services, such as basemap layers, search, and routing.

Use app credential authentication when you want to:

  • Access ready-to-use 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 credential authentication

Authentication manager

This API contains an AuthenticationManager, available from the ArcGISRuntimeEnvironment, that manages all user authentication when your application connects to secured resources. It provides a central place to configure the authentication challenge handlers and credential stores.

AuthenticationManager manages user authentication when connecting to secured services and provides a central place to configure the following aspects of authentication:

Set a central authentication challenge handler that will allow your users to authenticate with secured services

The DefaultAuthenticationChallengeHandler class can take care of user credential and OAuth challenges. For other challenges you must implement AuthenticationChallengeHandler and pass an instance of your handler to setAuthenticationChallengeHandler(AuthenticationChallengeHandler).

The AuthenticationManager's AuthenticationChallengeHandler is null by default; if no handler is set, the request to the secured resource will fail as it cannot be authenticated; for example, a Loadable that uses a secured resource may have a LoadStatus.FAILED_TO_LOAD and the Loadable.getLoadError() will indicate an authorization failure.

Manage an in-memory cache of credentials

When a user is challenged and enters credentials which successfully allow access to the resource, those credentials are automatically added to the AuthenticationManager.CredentialCache. When secured resources from the same server and port are accessed subsequently, credentials in this cache are reused automatically, avoiding unnecessary challenges. Certificates are also cached, see below for more details.

If your app allows a user to sign out of a portal or server, call AuthenticationManager.CredentialCache.clear() to remove all cached credentials when the user signs out, to prevent users accessing resources for which they do not have permission.

The credential cache can be serialized to json, enabling it to be stored between app sessions. However, the serialized credential cache should be secured using an appropriate mechanism for your platform to ensure that credentials are not available to other apps or processes.

Manage the certificates for accessing certificate secured resources

Authentication challenges issued for self-signed server certificates can be handled as follows. Use the setSelfSignedCertificateListener(SelfSignedCertificateListener) method to provide a listener that will handle self signed certificates as they are encountered (Other types of AuthenticationChallenge will continue to be sent to the current AuthenticationChallengeHandler). This approach is useful when you want to add specific logic for trusting self-signed certificates on a case-by-case basis, but the behavior of the DefaultAuthenticationChallengeHandler is suitable for all other authentication challenges.

For testing purposes, setTrustAllSigners(boolean) can be called with a value of true to indicate an app is willing to trust all valid, non-expired, self-signed certificates. This should never be used in production code.

Manage a set of OAuth configurations

If your app will connect to OAuth secured resources, and you have set an instance of the DefaultAuthenticationChallengeHandler onto the AuthenticationManager, then add an OAuthConfiguration for a specific client ID and portal by calling addOAuthConfiguration(OAuthConfiguration). The set of OAuthConfiguration is stored in-memory only and does not persist between sessions.

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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