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Installation & Setup on Apple platforms

The Firebase Realtime Database is a cloud-hosted database. Data is stored as JSON and synchronized in realtime to every connected client. When you build cross-platform apps with our Android, iOS, and JavaScript SDKs, all of your clients share one Realtime Database instance and automatically receive updates with the newest data.

Firebase Realtime Database is available on all Apple platforms, including iOS, macOS, macOS Catalyst, tvOS, and watchOS. It is not available for App Clips. The setup instructions in this page reference iOS in specific examples, but are generic and work for any Apple platform target.

Prerequisites

  1. Install the Firebase SDK.
  2. Add your app to your Firebase project in the Firebase console.

Create a Database

  1. Navigate to the Realtime Database section of the Firebase console. You'll be prompted to select an existing Firebase project. Follow the database creation workflow.

  2. Select a starting mode for your Firebase Security Rules:

    Test mode

    Good for getting started with the mobile and web client libraries, but allows anyone to read and overwrite your data. After testing, make sure to review the Understand Firebase Realtime Database Rules section.

    To get started with the web, Apple, or Android SDK, select testmode.

    Locked mode

    Denies all reads and writes from mobile and web clients. Your authenticated application servers can still access your database.

  3. Choose a location for the database.

    Depending on the location of the database, the URL for the new database will be in one of the following forms:

    • DATABASE_NAME.firebaseio.com (for databases in us-central1)

    • DATABASE_NAME.REGION.firebasedatabase.app (for databases in all other locations)

  4. Click Done.

When you enable Realtime Database, it also enables the API in the Cloud API Manager.

Add Firebase Realtime Database to your app

Use Swift Package Manager to install and manage Firebase dependencies.

  1. In Xcode, with your app project open, navigate to File > Add Packages.
  2. When prompted, add the Firebase Apple platforms SDK repository:
  3.   https://github.com/firebase/firebase-ios-sdk
  4. Choose the Realtime Database library.
  5. When finished, Xcode will automatically begin resolving and downloading your dependencies in the background.

Configure Realtime Database Rules

The Realtime Database provides a declarative rules language that allows you to define how your data should be structured, how it should be indexed, and when your data can be read from and written to.

Set up Firebase Realtime Database

You must initialize Firebase before any Firebase app reference is created or used. If you have already done this for another Firebase feature, you can skip this step.

  1. Import the FirebaseCore module in your UIApplicationDelegate, as well as any other Firebase modules your app delegate uses. For example, to use Cloud Firestore and Authentication:

    Swift

    import FirebaseCore
    import FirebaseFirestore
    import FirebaseAuth
    // ...
          

    Objective-C

    @import FirebaseCore;
    @import FirebaseFirestore;
    @import FirebaseAuth;
    // ...
          
  2. Configure a FirebaseApp shared instance, typically in your App's initializer or app delegate's application(_:didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:) method:

    Swift

    // Use Firebase library to configure APIs
    FirebaseApp.configure()

    Objective-C

    // Use Firebase library to configure APIs
    [FIRApp configure];
  3. Create a reference to your database and specify the location you want to write to.

    Swift

    Note: This Firebase product is not available on the App Clip target.
    var ref: DatabaseReference!
    
    ref = Database.database().reference()

    Objective-C

    Note: This Firebase product is not available on the App Clip target.
    @property (strong, nonatomic) FIRDatabaseReference *ref;
    
    self.ref = [[FIRDatabase database] reference];

Next Steps