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CPAProxy is an Objective-C library that eases the use of Tor on iOS. It provides APIs to setup and communicate with a Tor client running on a separate thread of an application's main process. Another similar project is iCepa's Tor.framework.


The CocoaPods podspec hasn't been submitted yet, but you can still use CPAProxy.podspec in the meantime. Just put this line in your Podfile:

pod 'CPAProxy', :git => ''

The dependencies OpenSSL, libevent, and Tor should be built automatically via located in the scripts directory.

Dependency Versions


⨀ First steps

// Import the library...
#include <CPAProxy/CPAProxy.h>

// Get resource paths for the torrc and geoip files from the main bundle
NSURL *cpaProxyBundleURL = [[NSBundle bundleForClass:[CPAProxyManager class]] URLForResource:@"CPAProxy" withExtension:@"bundle"];
NSBundle *cpaProxyBundle = [NSBundle bundleWithURL:cpaProxyBundleURL];
NSString *torrcPath = [cpaProxyBundle pathForResource:@"torrc" ofType:nil];
NSString *geoipPath = [cpaProxyBundle pathForResource:@"geoip" ofType:nil];

// Place to store Tor caches (non-temp storage improves performance since
// directory data does not need to be re-loaded each launch)
NSString *documentsDirectory = [NSSearchPathForDirectoriesInDomains(NSDocumentDirectory, NSUserDomainMask, YES) firstObject];
NSString *torDataDir = [documentsDirectory stringByAppendingPathComponent:@"tor"];

// Initialize a CPAProxyManager
CPAConfiguration *configuration = [CPAConfiguration configurationWithTorrcPath:torrcPath geoipPath:geoipPath torDataDirectoryPath:torDataDir];
CPAProxyManager *cpaProxyManager = [CPAProxyManager proxyWithConfiguration:configuration];

Before doing anything with CPAProxy, you have to create a CPAConfiguration and a CPAProxyManager.

The CPAConfiguration requires paths to a torrc and a geoip file, which can be loaded from your main bundle provided you have added the CPAProxyDependencies folder to your project (recommended).

Torrc is a configuration file used by the Tor process and is documented in length at The GeoIP data is used by Tor to keep a per-country count of how many client addresses have contacted it so that it can help the bridge authority guess which countries have blocked access to it.

⨀ Running Tor

[cpaProxyManager setupWithCompletion:^(NSString *socksHost, NSUInteger socksPort, NSError *error) {
    if (error == nil) {
        // ... do something with Tor socks hostname & port ...
        NSLog(@"Connected: host=%@, port=%lu", socksHost, (long)socksPort);

        // ... like this -- see below for implementation ...
        [self handleCPAProxySetupWithSOCKSHost:socksHost SOCKSPort:socksPort];
} progress:^(NSInteger progress, NSString *summaryString) {
    // ... do something to notify user of tor's initialization progress ...
    NSLog(@"%li %@", (long)progress, summaryString);

After you have initialized an instance of CPAProxyManager, call -setupWithSuccess:failure:. This will create a new thread that runs a Tor process using information from the proxy manager's configuration. On success, a SOCKS hostname and port are returned that can be used to proxy requests. In addition to the block callback, you can also listen for the CPAProxyDidFinishSetupNotification notification to react to a successful setup.

⨀ Sending a request over Tor with NSURLSessionDataTask

- (void)handleCPAProxySetupWithSOCKSHost:(NSString *)SOCKSHost SOCKSPort:(NSUInteger)SOCKSPort
    // Create a NSURLSessionConfiguration that uses the newly setup SOCKS proxy
    NSDictionary *proxyDict = @{
        (NSString *)kCFStreamPropertySOCKSProxyHost : SOCKSHost,
        (NSString *)kCFStreamPropertySOCKSProxyPort : @(SOCKSPort)
    NSURLSessionConfiguration *configuration = [NSURLSessionConfiguration ephemeralSessionConfiguration];
    configuration.connectionProxyDictionary = proxyDict;
    // Create a NSURLSession with the configuration
    NSURLSession *urlSession = [NSURLSession sessionWithConfiguration:configuration delegate:self delegateQueue:[NSOperationQueue mainQueue]];
    // Send an HTTP GET Request using NSURLSessionDataTask
    NSURL *URL = [NSURL URLWithString:@""];
    NSURLSessionDataTask *dataTask = [urlSession dataTaskWithURL:URL];
    [dataTask resume];
    // ...

After you have been notified that a CPAProxyManager setup has been completed, you can use the SOCKS proxy to anonymize your requests. For example, you could create an ephemeral NSURLSessionConfiguration, set kCFStreamPropertySOCKSProxyHost and kCFStreamPropertySOCKSProxyPort on its connectionProxyDictionary, and use NSURLSessions with the configuration to send NSURLSessionTasks over Tor.

System Requirements

CPAProxy supports iOS 8.0+, macOS 10.10+ and the architectures armv7, arm64, i386, x86_64.


  • Security implications of running Tor on iOS seem to be unknown so far, so CPAProxy is not recommended to be used in applications that want to guarantee the anonymity of users
  • This product is produced independently from the Tor® anonymity software and carries no guarantee from The Tor Project about quality, suitability or anything else
  • This project is still in the early stages of development, so things will be broken and not function correctly here and there

More info