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🔑 JSON Web Token (JWT) signing and verification (HMAC, ECDSA, EdDSA, RSA, PSS) with support for JWS and JWK


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Documentation Team Chat MIT License Continuous Integration Swift 5.10+ SSWG Incubation Level: Graduated

🔑 JSON Web Token signing and verification (HMAC, RSA, PSS, ECDSA, EdDSA) using SwiftCrypto.

Major Releases

The table below shows a list of JWTKit major releases alongside their compatible Swift versions.

Version Swift SPM
5.0 5.10+ from: "5.0.0"

Use the SPM string to easily include the dependendency in your Package.swift file

.package(url: "", from: "5.0.0-beta.3")

and add it to your target's dependencies:

.product(name: "JWTKit", package: "jwt-kit")

Note: Prior to version 4.0, this package was part of vapor/jwt.

Supported Platforms

JWTKit supports all platforms supported by Swift 5.10 and later, with the exception of Windows.


JWTKit provides APIs for signing and verifying JSON Web Tokens, as specified by RFC 7519. The following features are supported:

  • Signing and Verification with Custom Headers
  • Customisable Parsing and Serialization
  • JSON Web Keys (JWK, JWKS)

The following algorithms, as defined in RFC 7518 § 3 and RFC 8037 § 3, are supported for both signing and verification:

JWS Algorithm Description
HS256 HMAC256 HMAC with SHA-256
HS384 HMAC384 HMAC with SHA-384
HS512 HMAC512 HMAC with SHA-512
RS256 RSA256 RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with SHA-256
RS384 RSA384 RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with SHA-384
RS512 RSA512 RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with SHA-512
ES256 ECDSA256 ECDSA with curve P-256 and SHA-256
ES384 ECDSA384 ECDSA with curve P-384 and SHA-384
ES512 ECDSA512 ECDSA with curve P-521 and SHA-512
EdDSA EdDSA EdDSA with Ed25519
none None No digital signature or MAC


The vapor/jwt package provides first-class integration with Vapor and is recommended for all Vapor projects which want to use JWTKit.

Getting Started

A JWTKeyCollection object is used to load signing keys and keysets, and to sign and verify tokens:

import JWTKit

// Signs and verifies JWTs
let keys = JWTKeyCollection()

To add a signing key to the collection, use the add method for the respective algorithm:

// Registers an HS256 (HMAC-SHA-256) signer.
await keys.addHMAC(key: "secret", digestAlgorithm: .sha256)

This example uses the very secure key "secret".

You can also add an optional key identifier (kid) to the key:

// Registers an HS256 (HMAC-SHA-256) signer with a key identifier.
await keys.addHMAC(key: "secret", digestAlgorithm: .sha256, kid: "my-key")

This is useful when you have multiple keys and need to select the correct one for verification. Based on the kid defined in the JWT header, the correct key will be selected for verification. If you don't provide a kid, the key will be added to the collection as default.

To ensure thread-safety, JWTKeyCollection is an actor. This means that all of its methods are async and must be awaited.


We can generate JWTs, also known as signing. To demonstrate this, let's create a payload. Each property of the payload type corresponds to a claim in the token. JWTKit provides predefined types for all of the claims specified by RFC 7519, as well as some convenience types for working with custom claims. For the example token, the payload looks like this:

struct ExamplePayload: JWTPayload {
    var sub: SubjectClaim
    var exp: ExpirationClaim
    var admin: BoolClaim

    func verify(using key: some JWTAlgorithm) throws {
        try self.exp.verifyNotExpired()

// Create a new instance of our JWTPayload
let payload = ExamplePayload(
    subject: "vapor",
    expiration: .init(value: .distantFuture),
    isAdmin: true

Then, pass the payload to JWTKeyCollection.sign.

// Sign the payload, returning the JWT as String
let jwt = try await keys.sign(payload, header: ["kid": "my-key"])

Here we've added a custom header to the JWT. Any key-value pair can be added to the header. In this case the kid will be used to look up the correct key for verification from the JWTKeyCollection.

You should see a JWT printed. This can be fed back into the verify method to access the payload.


Let's try to verify the following example JWT:

let exampleJWT = """

You can inspect the contents of this token by visiting and pasting the token in the debugger. Set the key in the "Verify Signature" section to secret.

To verify a token, the format of the payload must be known. In this case, we know that the payload is of type ExamplePayload. Using this payload, the JWTKeyCollection object can process and verify the example JWT, returning its payload on success:

// Parse the JWT, verifies its signature, and decodes its content
let payload = try await keys.verify(exampleJWT, as: ExamplePayload.self)

If all works correctly, this code will print something like this:

    sub: SubjectClaim(value: "vapor"),
    exp: ExpirationClaim(value: 4001-01-01 00:00:00 +0000),
    admin: BoolClaim(value: true)


The admin property of the example payload did not have to use the BoolClaim type; a simple Bool would have worked as well. The BoolClaim type is provided by JWTKit for convenience in working with the many JWT implementations which encode boolean values as JSON strings (e.g. "true" and "false") rather than using JSON's true and false keywords.


A JSON Web Key (JWK) is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data structure that represents a cryptographic key, defined in RFC7517. These are commonly used to supply clients with keys for verifying JWTs. For example, Apple hosts their Sign in with Apple JWKS at the URL

You can add this JSON Web Key Set (JWKS) to your JWTSigners:

import Foundation
import JWTKit

let rsaModulus = "..."

let json = """
    "keys": [
        {"kty": "RSA", "alg": "RS256", "kid": "a", "n": "\(rsaModulus)", "e": "AQAB"},
        {"kty": "RSA", "alg": "RS512", "kid": "b", "n": "\(rsaModulus)", "e": "AQAB"},

// Create key collection and add JWKS
let keys = try await JWTKeyCollection().use(jwksJSON: json)

You can now pass JWTs from Apple to the verify method. The key identifier (kid) in the JWT header will be used to automatically select the correct key for verification. A JWKS may contain any of the key types supported by JWTKit.


HMAC is the simplest JWT signing algorithm. It uses a single key that can both sign and verify tokens. The key can be any length.

To add an HMAC key to the key collection, use the addHS256, addHS384, or addHS512 methods:

// Add HMAC with SHA-256 signer.
await keys.addHMAC(key: "secret", digestAlgorithm: .sha256)


Cryptography is a complex topic, and the decision of algorithm can directly impact the integrity, security, and privacy of your data. This README does not attempt to offer a meaningful discussion of these concerns; the package authors recommend doing your own research before making a final decision.


ECDSA is a modern asymmetric algorithm based on elliptic curve cryptography. It uses a public key to verify tokens and a private key to sign them.

You can load ECDSA keys using PEM files:

let ecdsaPublicKey = "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY----- ... -----END PUBLIC KEY-----"

// Initialize an ECDSA key with public pem.
let key = try ES256PublicKey(pem: ecdsaPublicKey)

Once you have an ECDSA key, you can add to the key collection using the following methods:

  • addES256: ECDSA with SHA-256
  • addES384: ECDSA with SHA-384
  • addES512: ECDSA with SHA-512
// Add ECDSA with SHA-256 algorithm
await keys.addECDSA(key: key)


EdDSA is a modern algorithm that is considered to be more secure than RSA and ECDSA. It is based on the Edwards-curve Digital Signature Algorithm. The only currently supported curve by JWTKit is Ed25519.

You can create an EdDSA key using its coordinates:

// Initialize an EdDSA key with public PEM
let publicKey = try EdDSA.PublicKey(x: "...", curve: .ed25519)

// Initialize an EdDSA key with private PEM
let privateKey = try EdDSA.PrivateKey(x: "...", d: "...", curve: .ed25519)

// Add public key to the key collection
await keys.addEdDSA(key: publicKey)

// Add private key to the key collection
await keys.addEdDSA(key: privateKey)


RSA is an asymmetric algorithm. It uses a public key to verify tokens and a private key to sign them.


RSA is no longer recommended for new applications. If possible, use EdDSA or ECDSA instead. Infosec Insights' June 2020 blog post "ECDSA vs RSA: Everything You Need to Know" provides a detailed discussion on the differences between the two.

To create an RSA signer, first initialize an RSAKey. This can be done by passing in the components:

// Initialize an RSA key with components.
let key = try Insecure.RSA.PrivateKey(
    modulus: "...",
    exponent: "...",
    privateExponent: "..."

The same initializer can be used for public keys without the privateExponent parameter.

You can also choose to load a PEM file:

let rsaPublicKey = "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY----- ... -----END PUBLIC KEY-----"

// Initialize an RSA key with public PEM
let key = try Insecure.RSA.PublicKey(pem: rsaPublicKey)

Use Insecure.RSA.PrivateKey(pem:) for loading private RSA pem keys and Insecure.RSA.PublicKey(certificatePEM:) for loading X.509 certificates. Once you have an RSA key, you can add to the key collection using the following methods depending on the digest and the padding:

  • addRS256: RSA with SHA-256 and PKCS1.5 padding
  • addRS384: RSA with SHA-384 and PKCS1.5 padding
  • addRS512: RSA with SHA-512 and PKCS1.5 padding
  • addPS256: RSA with SHA-256 and PSS padding
  • addPS384: RSA with SHA-384 and PSS padding
  • addPS512: RSA with SHA-512 and PSS padding
// Add RSA with SHA-256 algorithm 
await keys.addRSA(key: key, digestAlgorithm: .sha256)

// Add RSA with SHA-256 and PSS padding algorithm
await keys.addPSS(key: key, digestAlgorithm: .sha256)


JWTKit includes several helpers for implementing the "standard" JWT claims defined by RFC § 4.1:

Claim Type Verify Method
aud AudienceClaim verifyIntendedAudience(includes:)
exp ExpirationClaim verifyNotExpired(currentDate:)
jti IDClaim n/a
iat IssuedAtClaim n/a
iss IssuerClaim n/a
nbf NotBeforeClaim verifyNotBefore(currentDate:)
sub SubjectClaim n/a

Whenever possible, all of a payload's claims should be verified in the verify(using:) method; those which do not have verification methods of their own may be verified manually.

Additional helpers are provided for common types of claims not defined by the RFC:

  • BoolClaim: May be used for any claim whose value is a boolean flag. Will recognize both boolean JSON values and the strings "true" and "false".
  • GoogleHostedDomainClaim: For use with the GoogleIdentityToken vendor token type.
  • JWTMultiValueClaim: A protocol for claims, such as AudienceClaim which can optionally be encoded as an array with multiple values.
  • JWTUnixEpochClaim: A protocol for claims, such as ExpirationClaim and IssuedAtClaim, whose value is a count of seconds since the UNIX epoch (midnight of January 1, 1970).
  • LocaleClaim: A claim whose value is a BCP 47 language tag. Also used by GoogleIdentityToken.

Custom Parsing and Serialization

The JWTParser and JWTSerializer protocols allow you to define custom parsing and serialization for your payload types. This is useful when you need to work with a non-standard JWT format.

For example you might need to set the b64 header to false, which does not base64 encode the payload. You can create your own JWTParser and JWTSerializer to handle this.

struct CustomSerializer: JWTSerializer {
    // Here you can set a custom encoder or just leave this as default
    var jsonEncoder: JWTJSONEncoder = .defaultForJWT

    // This method should return the payload in the way you want/need it
    func serialize(_ payload: some JWTPayload, header: JWTHeader) throws -> Data {
        // Check if the b64 header is set. If it is, base64URL encode the payload, don't otherwise
        if header.b64?.asBool == true {
            try Data(jsonEncoder.encode(payload).base64URLEncodedBytes())
        } else {
            try jsonEncoder.encode(payload)

struct CustomParser: JWTParser {
    // Here you can set a custom decoder or just leave this as default
    var jsonDecoder: JWTJSONDecoder = .defaultForJWT

    // This method parses the token into a tuple containing the various token's elements
    func parse<Payload>(_ token: some DataProtocol, as: Payload.Type) throws -> (header: JWTHeader, payload: Payload, signature: Data) where Payload: JWTPayload {
        // A helper method is provided to split the token correctly
        let (encodedHeader, encodedPayload, encodedSignature) = try getTokenParts(token)

        // The header is usually always encoded the same way
        let header = try jsonDecoder.decode(JWTHeader.self, from: .init(encodedHeader.base64URLDecodedBytes()))

        // If the b64 header field is non present or true, base64URL decode the payload, don't otherwise
        let payload = if header.b64?.asBool ?? true {
            try jsonDecoder.decode(Payload.self, from: .init(encodedPayload.base64URLDecodedBytes()))
        } else {
            try jsonDecoder.decode(Payload.self, from: .init(encodedPayload))

        // The signature is usually also always encoded the same way
        let signature = Data(encodedSignature.base64URLDecodedBytes())

        return (header: header, payload: payload, signature: signature)

And then use them like this:

let keyCollection = await JWTKeyCollection().addHMAC(
    key: "secret", 
    digestAlgorithm: .sha256,
    parser: CustomParser(), 
    serializer: CustomSerializer()

let payload = TestPayload(sub: "vapor", name: "Foo", admin: false, exp: .init(value: .init(timeIntervalSince1970: 2_000_000_000)))

let token = try await keyCollection.sign(payload, header: ["b64": true])

Custom JSON Encoder and Decoder

If you don't need to specify custom parsing and serializing but you do need to use a custom JSON Encoder or Decoder, you can use the the DefaultJWTParser and DefaultJWTSerializer types to create a JWTKeyCollection with a custom JSON Encoder and Decoder.

let encoder = JSONEncoder(); encoder.dateEncodingStrategy = .iso8601
let decoder = JSONDecoder(); decoder.dateDecodingStrategy = .iso8601

let parser = DefaultJWTParser(jsonDecoder: decoder)
let serializer = DefaultJWTSerializer(jsonEncoder: encoder)

let keyCollection = await JWTKeyCollection().addHMAC(
    key: "secret",
    digestAlgorithm: .sha256,
    parser: parser, 
    serializer: serializer

This package was originally authored by the wonderful @siemensikkema.