JSON Web Tokens in Swift
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An implementation of JSON Web Token

Mac OS X Linux Apache 2


An implementation of JSON Web Token using Swift. JWTs offer a lightweight and compact format for transmitting information between parties, and the information can be verified and trusted due to JWTs being digitally signed.

For more information on JSON Web Tokens, their use cases and how they work, we recommend visiting jwt.io.

Reminder: JWTs sent as JWS do not encrypt data, so never send anything sensitive or confidential in a JWT. This library does not currently support JWE.

Table of Contents



  • macOS 10.12.0 (Sierra) or higher
  • Swift 4.1 and above installed
  • Swift 4.1.2 RECOMMENDED


  • Ubuntu 14.04 or Ubuntu 16.04
  • Swift 4.1 and above installed

Supported Algorithms

At the moment the supported algorithms are:

  • RS256 - RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-256
  • RS384 - RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-384
  • RS512 - RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-512


Start by importing the module:

import SwiftJWT

Algorithm Support

The supported algorithms are listed above.

In order to check at run time if an algorithm is supported and whether it requires a key or a secret, call:

public static func isSupported(name: String) -> Supported

where name is a textual representation of an algorithm, e.g., "RS256" (case insensitive).

Supported is an enum with the following cases: unsupported, supportedWithKey (RSA falls into this category), and supportedWithSecret (HMAC, which is currently unsupported).

The modeling of JSON Web Tokens

The JWT class models JSON Web Tokens by using a pair of structs, Header for the JSON Web Token header and Claims for the JSON Web Token claims.

Header API

The Header struct contains the various fields of the JSON Web Token header. These fields can be accessed and modified using the subscript operator. The subscript is of the type HeaderKeys.

Claims API

The Claims struct contains the various fields of the JSON Web Token claims. These fields can be accessed and modified using the subscript operator. The subscript can be either of the type ClaimKeys for the standard claims or of the type String for any non-standard claims.

Sign a JWT

The sign function encodes the header and claims of a JWT instance, creates a signature, and returns a String containing the signed JSON Web Token of the JWT instance.

For example:

let jwt = JWT(header: Header([.typ:"JWT"]), claims: Claims([.name:"Kitura"]))
let signedJWT = jwt.sign(using: .rs256(key, .privateKey))

signedJWT will be of the form:

<encoded header>.<encoded claims>.<signature>

Note: The sign function sets the alg (algorithm) field of the header.

Creating a Key to Sign a JSON Web Token

To use the sign function, you must pass in the key parameter. This could be the contents of a .key file generated via the following Terminal commands:

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -f privateKey.key
# Don't add a passphrase
$ openssl rsa in privateKey.key -pubout -outform PEM -out privateKey.key.pub

This will create a public and private key pair on your system, and the contents of the private key can be passed into a Swift variable using the following code:

let keyPath = URL(fileURLWithPath: getAbsolutePath(relativePath: "/path/to/privateKey.key"))
let key: Data = try Data(contentsOf: keyPath, options: alwaysMapped)

You can now sign the token using jwt.sign() function described above.

Decode a JSON Web Token

The static function JWT.decode creates an instance of JWT for a String containing a JSON Web Token.

For example:

let jwt = JWT.decode(encodedAndSignedJWT)

Note: This function doesn't verify the signature of the token.

Encode a JSON Web Token

To encode a token without signing it, call encode.

let encoded = jwt.encode()

Verify the signature of a JSON Web Token

The static function JWT.verify verifies the signature of a JSON Web Token given in String form.

For example:

if !JWT.verify(encodedAndSignedJWT, using: .rs512(key, .publicKey)) {
    print("Verification failed")

Validate claims

The validateClaims function validates the claims of a JWT instance. The following claims are validated if they are present in the Claims object:

  • iss (issuer)
  • aud (audience)
  • exp (expiration date)
  • nbf (not before date)
  • iat (issued at date)

Various validations require an input. In these cases, if the claim in question exists and the input is provided, the validation will be performed. Otherwise, the validation is skipped.

The method returns ValidateClaimsResult - an enum that list the various reasons for validation failure. If the validation succeeds ValidateClaimsResult.success is returned.

let validationResult = validateClaims(issuer: issuer, audience: clientID)
if validationResult != .success {
  print("Claims validation failed: ", validationResult)

MicroProfile Support

This library supports MicroProfile by allowing the creation of JWTs with specific claims needed by MicroProfile. These claims are found here. For full compliance, ensure your application saves the JWT with the name MP-JWT and uses .alg["rs256"] for token signing.


This library is licensed under Apache 2.0. Full license text is available in LICENSE.