Use File Metadata on iOS

After uploading a file to Cloud Storage reference, you can also get and update the file metadata, for example to update the content type. Files can also store custom key/value pairs with additional file metadata.

Get File Metadata

File metadata contains common properties such as name, size, and contentType (often referred to as MIME type) in addition to some less common ones like contentDisposition and timeCreated. This metadata can be retrieved from a Cloud Storage reference using the metadataWithCompletion: method.

Objective-C

// Create reference to the file whose metadata we want to retrieve
FIRStorageReference *forestRef = [storageRef child:@"images/forest.jpg"];

// Get metadata properties
[forestRef metadataWithCompletion:^(FIRStorageMetadata *metadata, NSError *error) {
  if (error != nil) {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // Metadata now contains the metadata for 'images/forest.jpg'
  }
}];
  

Swift

// Create reference to the file whose metadata we want to retrieve
let forestRef = storageRef.child("images/forest.jpg")

// Get metadata properties
forestRef.getMetadata { metadata, error in
  if let error = error {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // Metadata now contains the metadata for 'images/forest.jpg'
  }
}
    

Update File Metadata

You can update file metadata at any time after the file upload completes by using the updateMetadata:withCompletion: method. Refer to the full list for more information on what properties can be updated. Only the properties specified in the metadata are updated, all others are left unmodified.

Objective-C

// Create reference to the file whose metadata we want to change
FIRStorageReference *forestRef = [storageRef child:@"images/forest.jpg"];

// Create file metadata to update
FIRStorageMetadata *newMetadata = [[FIRStorageMetadata alloc] init];
newMetadata.cacheControl = @"public,max-age=300";
newMetadata.contentType = @"image/jpeg";

// Update metadata properties
[forestRef updateMetadata:newMetadata completion:^(FIRStorageMetadata *metadata, NSError *error){
  if (error != nil) {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // Updated metadata for 'images/forest.jpg' is returned
  }
}];
  

Swift

// Create reference to the file whose metadata we want to change
let forestRef = storageRef.child("images/forest.jpg")

// Create file metadata to update
let newMetadata = StorageMetadata()
newMetadata.cacheControl = "public,max-age=300";
newMetadata.contentType = "image/jpeg";

// Update metadata properties
forestRef.updateMetadata(newMetadata) { metadata, error in
  if let error = error {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // Updated metadata for 'images/forest.jpg' is returned
  }
}
    

You can delete writable metadata properties by passing the empty string:

Objective-C

FIRStorageMetadata *newMetadata = [[FIRStorageMetadata alloc] init];
newMetadata.contentType = @"";

// Delete the metadata property
[forestRef updateMetadata:newMetadata completion:^(FIRStorageMetadata *metadata, NSError *error){
  if (error != nil) {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // metadata.contentType should be nil
  }
}];

Swift

let newMetadata = StorageMetadata()
newMetadata.contentType = "";

// Delete the metadata property
forestRef.updateMetadata(newMetadata) { metadata, error in
  if let error = error {
    // Uh-oh, an error occurred!
  } else {
    // metadata.contentType should be nil
  }
}

Handle Errors

There are a number of reasons why errors may occur on getting or updating metadata, including the file not existing, or the user not having permission to access the desired file. More information on errors can be found in the Handle Errors section of the docs.

Custom Metadata

You can specify custom metadata as an NSDictionary containing NSString properties.

Objective-C

NSDictionary *metadata = @{
  @"customMetadata": @{
    @"location": @"Yosemite, CA, USA",
    @"activity": @"Hiking"
  }
};

Swift

let metadata = [
  "customMetadata": [
    "location": "Yosemite, CA, USA",
    "activity": "Hiking"
  ]
]
    

You can store app-specific data for each file in custom metadata, but we highly recommend using a database (such as the Firebase Realtime Database) to store and synchronize this type of data.

File Metadata Properties

A full list of metadata properties on a file is available below:

Property Type Writable
bucket NSString NO
generation NSString NO
metageneration NSString NO
fullPath NSString NO
name NSString NO
size int64_t NO
timeCreated NSDate NO
updated NSDate NO
md5Hash NSString YES
cacheControl NSString YES
contentDisposition NSString YES
contentEncoding NSString YES
contentLanguage NSString YES
contentType NSString YES
downloadURLs NSArray<NSString> NO
customMetadata NSDictionary<NSString, NSString> YES

Uploading, downloading, and updating files is important, but so is being able to remove them. Let's learn how to delete files from Cloud Storage.

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