iOS image and video upload

Cloudinary provides support for uploading media directly from your mobile application to your Cloudinary account, without going through your servers first. This method allows for faster uploading and a better user experience. It also reduces load on your servers and reduces the complexity of your applications.

You can also take advantage of upload presets for predefining upload parameters. For details on all the available upload parameters, see the Media upload documentation and the Upload method of the Upload API Reference.

For security reasons, mobile applications shouldn't contain your Cloudinary account credentials. You can use a signed upload, but that requires generating an authentication signature on your backend. In most cases, you will probably use unsigned uploads that generally provide all the functionality you need for your mobile application, while restricting upload options that require more security.

Upload method

The upload request is managed by the upload method, which accepts the file to upload as its only parameter. The file can be specified as either a url or data object.

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cloudinary.createUploader().upload(url: fileUrl)
// or
cloudinary.createUploader().upload(data: data)

The file is uploaded based on a background URL session. Even if your app is down, the upload will continue/resume on reconnect.

The OS attempts to initiate the upload immediately but the upload may be rescheduled depending on the system's current network, memory and cpu needs. The upload results are dispatched asynchronously and callbacks can be defined per request.

The following simple example uploads an image called imageFile.jpg using the default settings:

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let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(url: "imageFile.jpg")

The result of the upload API call is a CLDUploadResult object that provides information about the uploaded image, including the assigned public ID of the image and its URL.

Signed upload

Signed uploads require you to generate an authentication signature on your backend, and as such, iOS signed upload with backend support should be implemented in conjunction with one of Cloudinary's backend frameworks (Java, .NET, etc). The various backend frameworks implement helpers to be used in conjunction with iOS, as well as automatically generate the authentication signature for the upload.

To implement signed uploads from an iOS device to your Cloudinary account you must:

  1. Provide a signature generated on your backend.
  2. Add the signature and timestamp to the upload options with the setSignature method.
  3. Call the signedUpload method to upload the file.

For example, to upload an image called imageFile.jpg, set the publicId to newId, and sign the upload request:

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let params = CLDUploadRequestParams()
var mySig = MyFunction(params)  // your own function that returns a signature generated on your backend 
params.setSignature(CLDSignature(signature: mySig.signature, timestamp: mySig.timestamp))
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().signedUpload(
  url: "imageFile.jpg", params: params)

Unsigned upload

Unsigned upload is an option for performing upload without the need to generate a signature on your backend. Unsigned upload options are controlled by an upload preset: to use this feature, you first need to enable unsigned uploading for your Cloudinary account from the Upload Settings page.

An upload preset is used to define which upload options will be applied to media assets that are uploaded unsigned with that preset specified. You can edit the preset at any point in time (or create additional upload presets).

Upload options

You can pass an instance of CLDUploadRequestParams, with any extra parameters you'd want to pass, as part of the upload request. For example, to upload an image called imageFile.jpg using an upload preset called samplePreset:

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let params = CLDUploadRequestParams()
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: "imageFile.jpg", params: params)

If you want to include more than one upload parameter in the request you can chain them together. For example, to upload an image called dog.jpg, set the publicId to MyDog, and add the tag animal:

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let params = CLDUploadRequestParams()
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: "dog.jpg", params: params)

For security reasons, only this restricted set of upload options can be specified directly when performing unsigned upload calls. All other upload parameters can only be specified within the upload preset.

Chunked upload

The SDK includes the uploadLarge method which offers more tolerance for network issues. This method uploads a large file to the cloud in chunks, and is required for any files that are larger than 100 MB. By default, the chunk size is set to 20 Megabytes but can be set to as low as 5 Megabytes with the chunkSize parameter. For example, uploading a large video file called myVid.mp4 and setting the chunk size to 6 Megabytes:

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let params = CLDUploadRequestParams()
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().uploadLarge(
    url: "myVid.mp4", params: params, chunkSize: 6 * 1024 * 1024)

Cancel an upload

If you need to cancel an upload in progress, you can use the cancel method:

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let request = cloudinary.createUploader().signedUpload(url: fileUrl, params:params);


You can track the upload progress by passing a progress closure as part of the upload request, that is called periodically during the data transfer. For Example:

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let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: fileUrl, uploadPreset: "samplePreset", progress: { (bytes, totalBytes, totalBytesExpected) in
      // Handle progress

You can also handle the response by adding a completionHandler closure to be called once the upload request has finished. For example:

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//  pass a closure using the response method 
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: fileUrl, uploadPreset: "samplePreset")
  .response( { response, error in
      // Handle response
  } )
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// pass a closure as an additional parameter of the upload method
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: fileUrl, uploadPreset: "samplePreset", { (response, error) in
      // Handle response
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// pass a closure as a trailing closure of the upload method
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: fileUrl, uploadPreset: "samplePreset") { (response, error) in
      // Handle response

Preprocess image uploads

You can pass an instance of CLDImagePreprocessChain, with any steps for preprocessing the image before uploading, as part of the upload request. The following types of processing steps are currently available:

Step Type Parameter Description
limit (width, height) Scales down the image to fit within a bounding box of the given dimensions.
rotate (degrees) Rotates the image by the requested degrees (clockwise).
dimensionsValidator (minWidth, maxWidth, minHeight, maxHeight) Verifies the minimum and maximum dimensions for the image. Throws an error if the image does not fit within these dimensions.
customImageEncoder (format, quality) Saves the image using the given format (JPEG or PNG) and quality.

For example, to limit an image to a size of 500x500 pixels, make sure that the image is at least 10x10 pixels in size, rotate the image by 90 degrees and change the format to PNG with a quality of 70:

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let preprocessChain = CLDImagePreprocessChain()
  .addStep(CLDPreprocessHelpers.limit(width: 500, height: 500))
  .addStep(CLDPreprocessHelpers.dimensionsValidator(minWidth: 10, maxWidth: 500, minHeight: 10, maxHeight: 500)
  .addStep(CLDPreprocessHelpers.rotate(degrees: 90))
  .setEncoder(CLDPreprocessHelpers.customImageEncoder(format: EncodingFormat.PNG, quality: 70))
let request = cloudinary.createUploader().upload(
    url: file, uploadPreset: "samplePreset", preprocessChain: preprocessChain)
  .response({ (response, error) in
      // handle response

In the case that you need to create your own preprocessing step you can pass a CLDProcessStep closure with the addStep method.

iOS upload widget

The iOS upload widget offers an interactive user interface that enables your users to edit and then upload files to your Cloudinary account. The widget, requiring just a couple lines of code to integrate, eliminates the need to develop certain in-house interactive media upload capabilities. Currently, the widget provides an interactive cropping capability and allows rotation of an image before uploading. You call the upload widget by instantiating a new CLDUploaderWidget and calling its presentWidget() method with the calling ViewController (using self in this example):

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let uploadWidget = CLDUploaderWidget(
  cloudinary: myCldInstance, 
  configuration: nil, 
  images: nil, 
  delegate: nil)

uploadWidget.presentWidget(from: self)

iOS upload widget options

The upload widget takes five parameters that control its basic behavior:

Name Type Nullable Description
cloudinary CLDCloudinary No The Cloudinary instance used for uploading.
configuration CLDWidgetConfiguration yes See the table below.
images UIImage Array yes Images to preload into the widget.
videos AVPlayerItem Array yes Videos to preload into the widget
delegate CLDUploaderWidgetDelegate yes Delegate for upload widgets callbacks. This is used to get notified when the widget is closed or canceled.

If both images and videos are empty, the widget will automatically launch the device’s file picker. The configuration parameter allows for some more advanced customization options, by creating a new instance and sending it to the widget’s constructor.

The configuration object takes the following parameters:

Name Type Default Description
allowRotate Bool true Whether to allow rotation of images in the widget
initialAspectLockState AspectRatioLockState (enum) enabledAndOff Sets up the mode of the aspect ratio lock.
uploadType CLDUploadType (enum: signed or unsigned+preset) signed Signed upload or unsigned (also provide the preset).

A code example with more options:

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let myConfig = CLDWidgetConfiguration(
  allowRotate: false, 
  initialAspectLockState: .disabled, 
  uploadType: CLDUploadType(signed: false, preset: "ios_sample"))

uploaderWidget = CLDUploaderWidget(
  cloudinary: myCldInstance,
  configuration: myConfig, 
  images: initialImageList,
  videos: null, 
  delegate: self)

uploaderWidget.presentWidget(from: self)

iOS upload widget callbacks

A class implementing the CLDUploaderWidgetDelegate is used to receive callbacks from the widget. It’s common practice to have the calling view controller implement that protocol and send self to the widget’s constructor (such as in the example above).

The protocol has three methods:

  1. func uploadWidget(_ widget: CLDUploaderWidget, willCall uploadRequests: [CLDUploadRequest])
    This is the main callback - it informs the caller that the uploads are starting, passing on the list of references to active uploads. This allows the caller to set up callbacks per request (if required), track progress and cancel the requests. This is the same request object returned from the regular iOS upload methods.

  2. func widgetDidCancel(_ widget: CLDUploaderWidget)
    Notifies the caller that the widget was canceled.

  3. uploadWidgetDidDismiss
    Notifies the caller that the widget was dismissed and is no longer visible.

Add your own callback code by calling uploadRequests within a controller that implements the CLDUploaderWidgetDelegate protocol:

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WidgetSettingsViewController: CLDUploaderWidgetDelegate {
  func uploadWidget(_ widget: CLDUploaderWidget, willCall uploadRequests: [CLDUploadRequest]) {
     // your code here to handle the upload progress or cancel the upload itself
     // for example to track the upload response of the second upload:
    uploadRequests[1].response( { response, error in
      // Handle response
    } )
     // for example to cancel the first upload:
  func widgetDidCancel(_ widget: CLDUploaderWidget) {  
     // your code here in the case that the user closes the UI before the upload starts
  func uploadWidgetDidDismiss() {  
    // your code here for when the widget is dismissed 

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