Objective-C Apple Notification Center Service Client
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README.md

INDANCSClient

Objective-C Apple Notification Center Service Implementation

Overview

This is an Objective-C client and server implementation of the Apple Notification Center Service (ANCS) specification. This allows Bluetooth LE devices to connect to an iOS device running iOS 7 or later and receive all push/local notifications.

This project contains two main parts:

  1. INDANCSServer (iOS 7+) - a small component that runs on an iOS device to expose the ANCS service and some device information (name, model).
  2. INDANCSClient (OS X 10.9+) - a Mac framework that has a simple block based API for scanning and registering for notifications from iOS devices that are running the INDANCSServer code.

I made this because it was a great way to learn the ins and outs of Core Bluetooth and because the idea of wirelessly receiving notifications from an iOS device is way cool.

WARNING: This is alpha quality code and hasn't been tested in production. Also, unit tests are yet to be implemented.

Requirements

  • iPhone 4S/iPad 3 or better running iOS 7 or higher. Previous iPhone models (including iPhone 4) do not support Bluetooth 4.0.
  • A Mac with Bluetooth 4.0 support running OS X 10.9 or higher. Macs made after mid-2011 support Bluetooth 4.0 (starting with the mid-2011 MacBook Air). See this page for more info.

Getting Started

The easiest way to try out this project is to simply compile and run the INDANCSiPhone and INDANCSMac example projects on your iOS device and Mac, respectively.

If both devices have Bluetooth turned on, you should see a notification from the Mac app indicating that it has found your iOS device and from this point, any notification from the iOS device should appear in the Mac app's table view. Use the "Post Test Notification" button in the iOS app to try it instantly.

The sections below go into more detail on how to configure INDANCSServer and INDANCSClient in your own project.

INDANCSServer

While the ANCS service exists on all iOS 7+ devices, it requires additional code to expose the service to outside peripherals. With INDANCSServer, this only takes a couple lines of code.

Link against CoreBluetooth.framework and start advertising:

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions
{
    self.server = [[INDANCSServer alloc] initWithUID:@"INDANCSServer"];
	[self.server startAdvertising];
    return YES;
}

The UID parameter allows you to specify a restoration identifier for use with iOS 7's Bluetooth State Preservation/Restoration features.

If you want to advertise the ANCS service while the app is in the background, you also need to add the bluetooth-peripheral background mode to your Info.plist file.

INDANCSClient

INANCSClient is distributed as a Mac framework.

Scanning

INDANCSClient provides a simple block-based API for scanning for iOS devices that are running INDANCSServer:

#import <INDANCSClient/INDANCSClientFramework.h>

self.client = [[INDANCSClient alloc] init];
[self.client scanForDevices:^(INDANCSClient *client, INDANCSDevice *device) {
	NSLog(@"Found device: %@", device.name);
}];

Registering for Notifications

At the point where a device is found by -scanForDevices:, INDANCSClient has already connected to the device (necessary in order to retrieve device information). It will remain connected for a period of time that can be set using the registrationTimeout property. It is best to register for notifications within this window so that INDANCSClient doesn't need to reconnect to the device.

Notification registration also uses a simple block-based API:

[client registerForNotificationsFromDevice:device withBlock:^(INDANCSClient *c, INDANCSNotification *n) {
	NSLog(@"Notification: %@ - %@", n.title, n.message);
}];

The INDANCSNotification object has all the information about the notification, including the device & application that it came from. Of particular importance is the latestEventID property, which tells you whether the notification was created, modified, or removed.

Connection State

The INDANCSClientDelegate protocol documented in INDANCSClient.h has methods that inform the delegate about the connection state (e.g. when a device disconnects or fails to connect).

Since Bluetooth connections can often be unreliable, INDANCSClient includes support for automatically attempting reconnection when a device disconnects through the attemptsAutomaticReconnection property, which is set to YES by default.

Caching

INDANCSClient implements an on-disk and in-memory cache of app attributes, as recommended by Apple's guidelines to avoid wasting energy by requesting app information over Bluetooth every time a notification is received.

The INDANCSKeyValueStore protocol describes the interface that you can use to implement your custom key-value store for use with INDANCSClient. Two existing implementations are provided with the framework:

  • INDANCSInMemoryStore - An in-memory key-value store backed by an NSDictionary.
  • INDANCSObjectiveKVDBStore - A persistent key-value store backed by ObjectiveKVDB.

Calling -init on INDANCSClient automatically initializes it using an instance of INDANCSObjectiveKVDBStore for persistent app metadata storage. If you want to use a different key-value store (or configure store file names, locations, etc.) you can use the initWithMetadataStore: initializer to pass in an object conforming to the INDANCSKeyValueStore protocol.

Contact

License

INDANCSClient is licensed under the MIT License.