How to Play Encrypted Media with AVPlayer on iOS Devices

Last updated March 11, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Encrypt Secured media files in iOS apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

Why does AVPlayer Fail to Play Protected Media Files?

iOS MediaPlayer runs on a separate process from the application. When Appdome TOTALDataTM Encryption is enabled, all stored data generated by the app is encrypted at runtime by using industry-standard AES 256  encryption (including media files). This means that when MediaPlayer attempts to read the encrypted media files, it will fail to decrypt the files because it does not have the private key. While in principle the app developer can re-write the code to work with use other methods than AVURLAsset/ file:// URL and make the code “aware” of the application’s encryption, this a technically challenging approach and in most cases, the application architecture does not allow using Content Providers. In other cases, the developer might not have access to the mobile app’s source code.

How does Appdome Enable Playing Protected Media Files ?

Appdome Smart Media Sharing enables capturing initial access to an encrypted media file by the application and replacing it with a temporary one-time file path. This ensures that the media player can securely access unencrypted data. This feature applies secure media files and content handoff to external and embedded media players. This secured handoff is completed on-demand and while the data is in transit.

Smart Media Sharing allows you to use standard POSIX file I/O, without any extra development effort, as an extension of Appdome TOTALDataTM Encryption. When building the app on Appdome, the developers can add a wide variety of features, SDKs, and APIs to Android and iOS apps and can choose any architecture and file I/O API.

Prerequisites for Using Smart Media Sharing:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Encrypt Secured media files , you’ll need:

Encrypt Secured media files on iOS apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending iOS Apps that Encrypt Secured media files without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. iOS Formats: .ipa
    4. Smart Media Sharing Compatible With: Obj-C, Java, Swift, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and more
  2. Build the feature: Smart Media Sharing.

    1. Building Smart Media Sharing by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Smart Media Sharing feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Smart Media Sharing

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Smart Media Sharing feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Smart Media Sharing feature via Appdome Console, to add the Smart Media Sharing feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set. Copy the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below):” fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Circle CI or other system:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Smart Media Sharing feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Smart Media Sharing protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALData™ Encryption section.
      2. When you select the Smart Media Sharing you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Smart Media Sharing

        Fusion Set applied Smart Media Sharing

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Smart Media Sharing protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Smart Media Sharing protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Smart Media Sharing feature in iOS Apps.

    After building Smart Media Sharing, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Smart Media Sharing protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Smart Media Sharing protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Smart Media Sharing shown in Certificate secure

    Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate

    Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Smart Media Sharing has been added to each iOS app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Smart Media Sharing and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Secured media files Intelligence and Control in iOS Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Secured media files is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Secured media files in iOS Apps, use AddObserverForName in Notification Center, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Secured media files shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Secured media files are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Encrypt Secured media files Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Smart Media Sharing
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTION Appdome detects the attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (app chooses how and when to enforce).
ON, IN-APP DEFENSE Uses Appdome Enforce mode for any attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (gather intel on attacks and threats without losing any protection).
Certified Secure™ Threat Event Check x
Visible in ThreatScope™ x
Developer Parameters for Encrypting Secured media files Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
message Message displayed for the user on event
externalID The external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersion OS version of the current device
deviceModel Current device model
deviceManufacturer The manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppToken The task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfo Info about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmn PLMN of the device
deviceID Current device ID
reasonCode Reason code of the occured event
buildDate Appdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatform OS name of the current device
carrierName Carrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersion Is the OS version up to date
timeZone Time zone
deviceFaceDown Is the device face down
locationLong Location longitude conditioned by location permission
locationLat Location latitude conditioned by location permission
locationState Location state conditioned by location permission
wifiSsid Wifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatus Wifi SSID permission status

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), iOS developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in iOS applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Secured media files is detected.

The following is a code sample for native iOS apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Smart Media Sharing:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured iOS Apps by using Smart Media Sharing. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.

Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Smart Media Sharing

After successfully securing your app by using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include:

Related Articles:

Check out Appdome’s Mobile App Security Suite or request a demo at any time.

If you have any questions, please send them our way at or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

Thank you!

Thanks for visiting Appdome! Our mission is to secure every app on the planet by making mobile app security easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project.

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