iOS Mobile App Security: UI Challenges Resolved

CHI Software
5 min readApr 26


The more time we spend on our smartphones, the more information we are ready to share with them. At present, mobile apps store terabytes of strictly confidential user data, but is it 100% secure? One should think carefully when answering this question.

Today’s article is about not-so-obvious iOS app security issues and protection measures that can get overlooked. What is the next step after you protect data storage, transportation, and encryption? Making sure that the device’s screen is also safe and protected. Illia Khrypunov, iOS Developer at CHI Software, will guide you through this process.

Here you will find helpful instructions on how to make iOS apps secure from screenshots and recording, as well as how to blur app content when switching between opened apps.

How to Blur App Content When Switching Between Opened Apps

Mobile applications often require hiding information on the screen when the user switches between the apps opened in the multitasking panel. To meet this requirement, we use UIVisualEffectView.

We can track the app’s current state to identify at what moment to implement the blur effect. For this, we use AppDelegate/SceneDelegate methods.

func sceneWillResignActive(_ scene: UIScene) {
let blurEffect = UIBlurчEffect(style: UIBlurEffect.Style.dark)
let blurEffectView = UIVisualEffectView(effect: blurEffect)
blurEffectView.frame = window?.frame ?? .zero
blurEffectView.tag = Constants.Tag.blurEffectView


func sceneDidBecomeActive(_ scene: UIScene) {

Another tool allowing you to track application states is NotificationCenter. We add observers to the state, in which our View will hide (blur) sensitive content.

func addSceneNotificationObserver() {
let notificationCenter = NotificationCenter.default
notificationCenter.addObserver(self, selector: #selector(showBlurScreen), name: UIScene.willDeactivateNotification, object: nil)
notificationCenter.addObserver(self, selector: #selector(hideBlurScreen), name: UIScene.didActivateNotification, object: nil)

@objc func showBlurScreen() {
let blurEffect = UIBlurEffect(style: UIBlurEffect.Style.light)
let blurEffectView = UIVisualEffectView(effect: blurEffect)
blurEffectView.frame = view.frame
blurEffectView.tag = Constants.Tag.blurEffectView


@objc func hideBlurScreen() {

How to Prevent Screen Recording?

We can detect that a screen recording is about to start by using the notification UIScreen.capturedDidChangeNotification. After that, we can hide the screen immediately and display a pop-up window notifying users that they are not allowed to record the contents of our app.

func startPreventingRecording() {
NotificationCenter.default.addObserver(self, selector: #selector(didDetectRecording), name: UIScreen.capturedDidChangeNotification, object: nil)
func presentWarningWindow() {
warningWindow.windowScene = nil

guard let frame = appwindow?.bounds else { return }

let windowScene = UIApplication.shared
.first {
$0.activationState == .foregroundActive || $0.activationState == .foregroundInactive

if let windowScene = windowScene as? UIWindowScene {
warningWindow.windowScene = windowScene

warningWindow.frame = frame
warningWindow.isHidden = false

UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.15) {
self.infoLabel.alpha = 1.0
self.infoLabel.transform = .identity


How to Protect Sensitive Information When a User Takes a Screenshot?

We cannot prevent people from taking screenshots when our app is opened. But we can get a notification when a user takes a screenshot via UIApplicationUserDidTakeScreenshotNotification.

This notification doesn’t contain a userInfo
dictionary. This notification posts after the screenshot is taken.

Next, we can hide the provided information, and this notification feature is one of the essential tools to do that. This is what we mean:

  • Concealing sensitive data before the contents move to the background. When an application transitions to the background, the system takes a screenshot of the app’s main screen, which it then presents briefly when transitioning your application back to the foreground.

Before returning from your applicationDidEnterBackground method, you should hide or blur passwords and other personal data that might be captured on the screenshot.

This option is rather unreliable because we need to request access to the gallery. If the user has canceled access, we cannot pull out the desired screenshot and delete it.

let fetchOptions = PHFetchOptions()
fetchOptions.sortDescriptors?[0] = Foundation.NSSortDescriptor(key: "creationDate", ascending: true)
let fetchResult = PHAsset.fetchAssets(with: PHAssetMediaType.image, options: fetchOptions)
guard let lastAsset = fetchResult.lastObject else { return }
PHPhotoLibrary.shared().performChanges {
PHAssetChangeRequest.deleteAssets([lastAsset] as NSFastEnumeration)
} completionHandler: { (success, errorMessage) in
if !success, let errorMessage = errorMessage {
  • Applying UITextField. Starting from iOS 13+, we can hide information on screenshots and screen recordings using UITextField if our textField is secure (isSecureTextEntry = true).
func hideContentOnScreenCapture() {
DispatchQueue.main.async {
let field = UITextField()
field.isSecureTextEntry = true

func removeHideContentOnScreenCapture() {

The workflow of this option is the following:

  1. You need to add a TextField subview to the view that should be hidden;
  2. Next, add a TextFiled sublayer to the superlayer of our view;
  3. Add a layer of our view as a sublayer for our TextField.

Pros: Fast implementation, convenient for screenshots and screen recordings, and nothing needs to be changed.

Cons: The feature will not work properly if our view has several subviews.

View hierarchy

Since iOS 13, we can also “trick” the system by making our content a part of the secure textField layer, which will hide the data when taking screenshots and recording screens.

The two handy libraries for preventing screenshots or screen recordings are SnapshotSafeView and ScreenShieldKit.


iOS application security issues never get too old. Apps become more complex, offering more convenience to mobile users and… more challenges to app developers.

Tasks related to hiding information on screenshots and during screen recording are common, but there is no ready-made solution for each app. You should act according to the situation and choose the option that suits your project best.

In this short article, we described several iOS security tips to help you out when you have to deal with users’ private data. To figure out how it works in more detail, check out a project of our developer on GitHub. Also, feel free to contact CHI Software’s mobile development team to tackle pretty much any challenge on your project.

Feel free to leave your claps, comments, and disturbing questions related to iOS security. The more reactions you leave, the faster we will share a new security guide with you 🙂



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