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Use file metadata with Cloud Storage on Apple platforms

Stay organized with collections Save and categorize content based on your preferences.

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.

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'
  }
}
    

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'
  }
}];
  

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.

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
  }
}
    

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
  }
}];
  

You can delete writable metadata properties by setting them to nil:

Objective-C

FIRStorageMetadata *newMetadata = [[FIRStorageMetadata alloc] init];
newMetadata.contentType = nil;

// 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 = nil

// 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.

Swift

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

Objective-C

NSDictionary *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 String No
generation String No
metageneration String No
fullPath String No
name String No
size Int64 No
timeCreated Date No
updated Date No
md5Hash String Yes
cacheControl String Yes
contentDisposition String Yes
contentEncoding String Yes
contentLanguage String Yes
contentType String Yes
customMetadata [String: String] 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.