Zone sharing in CloudKit

Last week we talked about the basics of CloudKit. We learned how to save and fetch data from the storage in the cloud and how to sync the data between devices. This week I want to cover the only reason why I have chosen CloudKit instead of Firebase, and it is data sharing between users.

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CloudKit provides you ready to use data sharing API that allows you to implement collaborative features of your app without much effort. There are two ways to share data via CloudKit: record sharing and zone sharing. In this post, we will talk about zone sharing.

If you are not familiar with CloudKit, please take a look at my “Getting started with CloudKit” post.

A zone is a defined bucket inside the private database of the current user. You can create and assign a zone to any record in the database. You share all the records in the zone by sharing the zone itself. For example, in the todo app, you can create a zone with the name of the todo list and share it with your family.

First of all, we need to create and save a zone in the private database of the current user. Then we have to assign it to a particular record and save or update it in the private database.

private enum FastingRecordKeys {
    static let type = "Fasting"
    static let startDate = "startDate"
    static let endDate = "endDate"
    static let goal = "goal"

private enum SharedZone {
    static let name = "SharedZone"
    static let ID = CKRecordZone.ID(
        zoneName: name,
        ownerName: CKCurrentUserDefaultName

extension Fasting {
    var asRecord: CKRecord {
        let record = CKRecord(
            recordType: FastingRecordKeys.type,
            recordID: .init(zoneID: SharedZone.ID)
        record[FastingRecordKeys.goal] = goal.rawValue
        record[FastingRecordKeys.startDate] = startDate
        record[FastingRecordKeys.endDate] = endDate
        return record
    init?(from record: CKRecord) {
            let startDate = record[FastingRecordKeys.startDate] as? Date,
            let endDate = record[FastingRecordKeys.endDate] as? Date,
            let goalRawValue = record[FastingRecordKeys.goal] as? String,
            let goal = Fasting.Goal(rawValue: goalRawValue)
        else { return nil }
        self = .init(
            startDate: startDate,
            endDate: endDate,
            goal: goal,
            name: record.recordID.recordName

final class CloudKitService {
    static let container = CKContainer(
        identifier: ""
    func save(_ fasting: Fasting) async throws {
        _ = try await Self.container.privateCloudDatabase.modifyRecordZones(
            saving: [CKRecordZone(zoneName:],
            deleting: []
        _ = try await Self.container.privateCloudDatabase.modifyRecords(
            saving: [fasting.asRecord],
            deleting: []

Now we have a zone saved in the private database and associated records. But to start sharing, we should create an instance of CKShare type and save it into the private database.

extension CloudKitService {
    func shareFastingRecords() async throws -> CKShare {
        _ = try await Self.container.privateCloudDatabase.modifyRecordZones(
            saving: [CKRecordZone(zoneName:],
            deleting: []

        let share = CKShare(recordZoneID: SharedZone.ID)
        share.publicPermission = .readOnly
        let result = try await
        return result as! CKShare

As you can see in the example above, we create a new CKShare object and set the public permission to readOnly. The default value is none which blocks anyone from accessing your data without your approval.

Remember that you can have only one instance of CKShare per zone in the database. You need to check if you already have one and fetch if it is available. The next step is to present an instance of UICloudSharingController with the created CKShare object.

struct CloudKitShareView: UIViewControllerRepresentable {
    let share: CKShare

    func makeUIViewController(context: Context) -> UICloudSharingController {
        let sharingController = UICloudSharingController(
            share: share,
            container: CloudKitService.container
        sharingController.availablePermissions = [.allowReadOnly, .allowPrivate]
        sharingController.modalPresentationStyle = .formSheet
        return sharingController

    func updateUIViewController(
        _ uiViewController: UIViewControllerType,
        context: Context
    ) { }

UICloudSharingController provides you with all the needed functionality to add and manage participants of the share. You can also configure available options of the UICloudSharingController instance by setting the value of the availablePermissions property to allowReadOnly, allowPrivate, allowReadWrite, allowPublic. Now let’s talk about how we should implement share accepting functionality.

Before writing any code, we should add the CKSharingSupported boolean key with the value YES to the Info.plist. Whenever a user receives and opens a link shared via UICloudSharingController, the userDidAcceptCloudKitShareWith delegate method will be called by the system. Here we can call the accept method to approve the sharing.

extension CloudKitService {
    func accept(_ metadata: CKShare.Metadata) async throws {
        try await Self.container.accept(metadata)

private final class SceneDelegate: NSObject, UIWindowSceneDelegate {
    private let logger = Logger(
        subsystem: "com.aaplab.fastbot",
        category: "SceneDelegate"
    private let cloudKitService = CloudKitService()

    func windowScene(
        _ windowScene: UIWindowScene,
        userDidAcceptCloudKitShareWith cloudKitShareMetadata: CKShare.Metadata
    ) {
        Task {
            do {
                try await cloudKitService.accept(cloudKitShareMetadata)
            } catch {
                logger.error("\(error.localizedDescription, privacy: .public)")

Finally, we can use the shared database to fetch the content of shared zones.

extension CloudKitService {
    func fetchSharedFastingRecords(
        in interval: DateInterval
    ) async throws -> [Fasting] {
        let sharedZones = try await Self.container.sharedCloudDatabase.allRecordZones()
        return try await withThrowingTaskGroup(
            of: [Fasting].self,
            returning: [Fasting].self
        ) { group in
            for zone in sharedZones {
                group.addTask {
                    let predicate = NSPredicate(
                        format: "\(FastingRecordKeys.endDate) > %@ AND \(FastingRecordKeys.endDate) <= %@",
                        interval.start as NSDate,
                        interval.end as NSDate

                    return try await self.fetchFastingRecords(
                        with: predicate,
                        in: zone.zoneID,
                        from: Self.container.sharedCloudDatabase
            var results: [Fasting] = []
            for try await history in group {
                results.append(contentsOf: history)
            return results
    private func fetchFastingRecords(
        with predicate: NSPredicate,
        in zone: CKRecordZone.ID? = nil,
        from database: CKDatabase
    ) async throws -> [Fasting] {
        let query = CKQuery(recordType: FastingRecordKeys.type, predicate: predicate)
        query.sortDescriptors = [.init(key: FastingRecordKeys.endDate, ascending: true)]

        let response = try await database.records(
            matching: query,
            inZoneWith: zone,
            desiredKeys: nil,
            resultsLimit: CKQueryOperation.maximumResults

        return response.matchResults
            .compactMap { try? $0.1.get() }
            .compactMap { $0.compactMap(Fasting.init) }

Remember that you have to fetch all the zones from the shared database. Even when they have the same name, they have different owners. We can enumerate all the shared zones and fetch shared records in every zone.

I think CloudKit data sharing API is one of the best things about this technology. And today we learned how to use it. I hope you enjoy the post. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask your questions related to this post. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!