iOS documentation

The MOTIONTAG Mobility & Location Analytics SDK collects an iPhone's raw sensor data in a battery efficient way. This data is then transmitted to the MotionTag back-end system (ISO 27001 certified). In the backend, the sensor events are processed and a partial journey is constructed. Journeys consist either solely of tracks or tracks plus stays. Tracks describe a movement from a origin to a destination with a certain mode of transport. Stays symbolize a stationary behaviour with a particular purpose for the visit.

The use cases for the SDK are manifold. In the mobility sector it can be used to get detailed mobility data for planning purposes. The collected data enables to compare how the transport network is being used. This way the effectiveness of the current infrastructure and the passenger flow management is measured and the design of new mobility services. By implementing and using the SDK you can make use of these findings to improve timetables and routes, expand transport supply and attract more passengers.

If you integrate the MOTIONTAG Tracker SDK inside your own application, you can either download user journeys via a provided dump interface on the admin dashboard or we tailor a customized solution to your needs.

1. Changelog

You can find the latest SDK version in our changelog page.

2. Native sample app

A native iOS sample app can be found on our GitHub page: This sample app showcases the best practices in integrating the SDK into native iOS apps.

3. Required App Settings

  • Capabilities -> Background Modes:

    • Location Updates
  • Add to Info.plist:

    • "Privacy - Motion Usage Description" string
    • "Privacy - Location Always & When in Use Description" string
    • "Privacy - When in Use Description" string
  • minimum deployment target is 12.3.


The SDK requires two authorizations:

  1. Location (Always)
  2. Motion

Both would be need to be obtained by your app before calling the start method the first time.


On iOS > 13.5, the "Always" authorization can be obtained by obtaining the "While Using" authorization, and elevating it to "Always" right away as demonstrated in our sample app.


The "Motion authorization" is not essential, but it is recommended for improved battery usage. Unfortunately, iOS provides no such way for requesting "Motion authorization" - it is automatically requested when you start gathering motion data the first time. This is also demonstrated in the sample app.

4. Interface

public protocol MotionTag {
    weak var delegate: MotionTagDelegate? { get set }
    var isTrackingActive: Bool { get }
    var userToken: String { get set }
    var wifiOnlyDataTransfer: Bool { get set }
    func start()
    func stop()
    func handleEvents(forBackgroundURLSession identifier: String, completionHandler: @escaping () -> Void)
    func clearData(completionHandler: @escaping () -> Void)

open class MotionTagCore : NSObject {
    open class var sharedInstance: NSObjectProtocol & MotionTag { get }

public protocol MotionTagDelegate : NSObjectProtocol {
    optional func trackingStatusChanged(_ isTracking: Bool)
    optional func locationAuthorizationStatusDidChange(_ status: CLAuthorizationStatus, precise: Bool)
    optional func motionActivityAuthorized(_ authorized: Bool)
    optional func didTrackLocation(_ location: CLLocation)
    optional func dataUploadWithTracked(from startDate: Date, to endDate: Date, didCompleteWithError error: Error?)

5. SDK user authentication

The SDK must be configured at runtime with a user-specific token.

Tokens can be generated on your backend, or manually with the form below (only accessible when signed in). They are signed JWTs (see Users are identified by distinct UUIDs – the creation and management of the user UUIDs is up to you. MOTIONTAG creates a user entry in its database when data from the SDK for a new user UUID arrives for the first time.

To generate the JWTs on your backend, encode and sign a payload like the example below with the shared secret, which is accessible in the admin dashboard under "Authentication tokens". Include these claims:

  • iss claim: the tenant key that you have received from MOTIONTAG
  • sub claim: the user UUID
  • exp claim: expiry integer timestamp (optional)

Example payload:

  "iss": "my-tenant-key",
  "sub": "aaaaaaaa-1111-2222-3333-bbbbbbbbbbbb"
Generate JWTs from user UUIDs
Only accessible when signed in. You need a custom domain setup by MOTIONTAG (e.g. and an account to sign in. Contact MOTIONTAG Support to request a custom domain setup and an account. If you already have both, visit your custom domain and sign in to see a customized version of this documentation.

6. Setup

Initialize the library by accessing its singleton property:

let motionTag = MotionTagCore.sharedInstance

This needs to be done somewhere near the top of didFinishLaunchingWithOptions. The reason is that the app may be started from the background by the system. By initializing the tracking library early, you guarantee that all location managers are set up to retreive new incoming locations.

Also, the AppDelegate's handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession method needs to be implemented like below;

func application(_ application: UIApplication, handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession identifier: String, completionHandler: @escaping () -> Void) {
   motionTag.handleEvents(forBackgroundURLSession: identifier, completionHandler: completionHandler)

If you're using FirebaseAnalytics, you need to call its handleEvents(forBackgroundURLSession ... here as well. Moreover addFirebaseAppDelegateProxyEnabled to your App's Info.plist and set its value to NO. Please see:

This goes for similar frameworks which swizzle the handleEventsForBackgroundURLSession method by default.

If you want to receive callbacks, set the appropriate delegate (MotionTagDelegate):

motionTag.delegate = self

To start tracking, first a valid user token (JWT) needs to be set (otherwise the SDK will throw an exception):

motionTag.userToken = "A_VALID_JWT"

The token does not need to be set on every initialization, as the SDK keeps it in the keychain. This property can be used to retrieve the token when necessary.

After that, the start() method should be called to activate tracking:


To stop tracking, just call the stop method:


The SDK preserves the tracking state across app and device restarts, therefore we recommend only calling the start and stop functions when the user manually enables or disables tracking in the App UI.

IMPORTANT: The token is user-specific and should not be used on multiple devices at the same time.

To delete the tracked data, call the clearData(completionHandler: @escaping () -> Void) method. If you're planning to switch users, you need to stop tracking first, and wait for the completionHandler to return before starting tracking with a different user.

Please note that this function does not clear a previously specified userToken, the app should update it after switching to a new user.

7. SDK Settings

The only setting that can be changed on the SDK is to allow data transmission on mobile network:

motionTag.wifiOnlyDataTransfer = false

The default value is true, which means the SDK will only transmit when connected to a WiFi network. This value is persisted internally.

8. Callbacks


trackingStatusChanged(_ isTracking: Bool)

  • gets called upon a change in the tracking state, whether directly toggled by the user, or due to changes in location authorizations.

locationAuthorizationStatusDidChange(_ status: CLAuthorizationStatus, precise: Bool)

  • if the user changes the location authorization status of the app this callback will be called. The precise parameter is status of the iOS 14 "Precise Location" authorization. This parameter will be true on versions before 14.

motionActivityAuthorized(_ authorized: Bool)

  • called once when the SDK starts tracking, reflecting the "Motion & Fitness" authorization status.

didTrackLocation(_ location: CLLocation)

  • gets called whenever the SDK tracks a new location, also providing the timestamp of the last event transmitted.

dataUploadWithTracked(from startDate: Date, to endDate: Date, didCompleteWithError error: Error?)

  • gets called after the SDK uploads an event batch to the backend. If the transmission has been successful, error will be nil, otherwise it will contain the type and reason of the error. In case of an invalid token,error.localizedDescription will be Unauthorized. The parameters startDate and endDate are the timestamps of the earliest and latest events in the batch.

9. Installation

The SDK contains both the armv64 and the x86_64 symbols (which are necessary to run it on the simulator). When building a release version the cocoapods scripts will strip out all x86_64 symbols so that the release will be compatible with the App Store.

pod 'MotionTagSDK'

You can also integrate a specific SDK version:

pod 'MotionTagSDK', '~> 4.3.1'

10. License

The SDK is licensed under the MOTIONTAG SDK Test License.

11. Open Source Software Licenses

The SDK relies on Open Source Software components. See their respective Open Source Licenses.