Integrate Google Login in React Native apps (iOS) with Firebase



In this post, we’ll learn how to setup Google Login in React Native apps using Firebase. We’ll implement the authentication using react-native-google-signin npm package, and then test it on iOS

I have another blog explaining how to implement Google Login in React Native for Android, using Firebase.

Complete source code of this tutorial is available here — React-Native-google-login

Google login — What and why

There are several reasons why you should use a Google login in your app

  • Ease of use — When a new user uses your app, only two buttons clicks are required to login using Google. In other scenario, user will have to type in an email/password and login
  • No “forgot password” — When your app uses Google login, the user does not have to worry about forgetting password for your app’s login
  • No “verify email” — If you use a custom-email authentication of your own, you will have to verify the email if it is a valid one or not. Google login will always have a valid email/phone number associated.
  • Single solution — Google login can allow your users to use single login credentials across multiple devices
  • Google integration — If your app uses Google authentication, you can use Google APIs inside your app as well. This can include fetching user tweets etc.
  • Trust — Nowadays, people generally trust social logins more over custom email logins. Social logins follows standard privacy protocols and hence are more reliable for information sharing

Authentication in React Native

React Native has been around for around 4 years, and has been very popular among developers for its ease of usage over Swift / Java. Also you get to keep a single source code for both Android and iOS app. What more can a developer ask for!

React Native 0.60 is the latest version (at the time of writing this post), and is much more reliable and robust than previous versions. It also includes breaking changes related to AndroidX, but don’t worry we’ll create an Android test app as well. 

There are several ways of Authentication in React Native Apps

  • Social logins — Social logins are a popular and easy way of authentication in mobile apps. You must have seen Google, Facebook, Instagram logins in almost all the modern apps. Social logins are easy to use and more reliable for quick integrations.
  • Create you own back-end — You can create your own back-end in Node.js, Go, Django or Ruby-on-rails, and connect your app authentication to your own back-end. This method is favored by developers who need full control over the user authentication. But this method is the most time taking one as well.
  • Back-end as a Service (BaaS) — You can use pre-built BaaS platforms which allows easy integration of authentication in your apps. Basically, these platforms provide you a ready-made back-end, so you don’t have to make one on your own. Firebase, Parse, Back4App are some BaaS platforms.

Firebase is the most popular among these for mobile apps, which we’ll study in next section

Firebase

Firebase is a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform. It started as a YC11 startup and grew up into a next-generation app-development platform on Google Cloud Platform. It is getting popular by the day because of the ease of integration and variety of functionalities available on it.

A lot of quick integrations are available with Firebase. Some of these are listed below:

  • Real-time database
  • Email Authentication
  • Social logins
  • In-app messages
  • Push notifications
  • Analytics
  • Crashlytics
  • Remote config

Firebase is quickly growing to become the most popular mobile app back-end platform.

Firebase Authentication Options

Firebase not only provides ready-made email authentication, but also provides authentication using a variety of social logins. You can see the authentication options available with Firebase



Authentication options available in Firebase

We will use Firebase to store user profile information once the Google login is done. This is the preferred method, as it is reliable for both apps and PWA.

Steps for Google authentication

We will follow these step-by-step instructions to create our React Native app with Google authentication

Step 1: Create Firebase Project and Add your Platforms 

‌Step 2: Enable Google Sign-In in Firebase project

Step 3: Create a Basic React Native app

‌Step 4: Install the react-native-google-signin package for Google Login

Step 5: Implement Google auth functions in RN app

Step 6: Test your app on iOS

Step 7: Use Firebase to auto-login the user

So let’s jump right in

Step 1: Create Firebase Project

For authentication, we need a back-end. For this tutorial, Firebase is our back-end, so we need to configure few things in Firebase. First of all we’ll create a new Firebase project and new app inside it.

1.1 If you don’t have an existing Firebase Project

If you already have a Firebase project, skip to step 1.2. Otherwise, create a new Firebase project by going toFirebase Console. Give your project a name and that’s it ! 



1.2 Create and attach new app to the project

Now that the project is created, create a new app in the project dashboard. 



Add new app to the project

First, let’s create an iOS app and attach it to the project



Create a new iOS app

Just mention the correct bundle_id of your app in the iOS bundle ID input. Give it a nickname to remember. 

Next step, download the GoogleService-Info.plist file and put it in the root of your iOS project folder. You can skip rest of the steps for now. Your app is created now, and you should see it in the dashboard. 

‌Step 2: Enable Google Login in Firebase

Now that your app is connect to Firebase project, we need to go into our Firebase console and enable Google authentication for our app.

‌Once you’re inside the app’s dashboard, you’re going to go into

Authentication → Sign-In Method → Google, and click the Enable toggle.



Enable google-login and save Web-client ID

Give a name to for your Auth consent screen and save your web client Id as well. This will be used to integrate the React Native app with Firebase.

We will also need areversed_client_id , but that we can get from the GoogleService-Info.plist file you just downloaded in above step. This reversed_client_id can also be obtained from Google developer console, but let’s not get into that for now.

Step 3: Create a basic React Native app

First, make sure you have all pre-requisites to create a react-native app as per the official documentation.

At the time of this post, I have React-Native version 0.60

Create a blank react-native app (Replace myApp with your own name)

$ react-native init RNGoogleLogin

This will create a basic React-native app which you can run in a device or simulator. (let’s first run iOS)

Let’s run the app in iOS using (I’m using emulator)

$ react-native run-ios

You’ll see the default start screen



Default start screen for React Native app

Change the UI of this front page by changing app.js and the page will look like this. (The Google login button here actually comes after the package integration, as explained in next section)



Modified home page for our sample React Native app

Step 4: Install the package for Google Login

To enable Google Login, we’ll install a package named react-native-google-signinThis is a widely used package for Google Login, and also very reliable.

Install package

Install the package using

$ yarn add react-native-google-signin 

Link the package with your platforms using 

$ react-native link react-native-google-signin

Add Google Auth SDK to iOS platform

This is usually done using Pods. Pods are package manager for iOS project, similar to yarn or npm for Javascript projects. Pod file is found in your iOS project’s root. 

Open the podfile with any text editor, add pod 'GoogleSignIn', '~> 4.4.0' in your Podfile and run pod install

Note: If you don’t have a Podfile, follow these instructions:

1 . pod init creates a Podfile.

2 . add GoogleSignIn pod (see example below)

3 . run pod install

4 . from now on, use Xcode to open the <your project>.xcodeworkspace file (do not open the .xcodeproj any more)

Sample Podfile 

# Uncomment the next line to define a global platform for your project
# platform :ios, '9.0'
target 'test_google_signin' do
# Uncomment the next line if you're using Swift or would like to use dynamic frameworks
# use_frameworks!
  # Pods for test_google_signin
pod 'GoogleSignIn', '~> 4.4.0' // RNGoogleSignin requires GoogleSignIn >= 4.3.0
  target 'test_google_signin-tvOSTests' do
inherit! :search_paths
# Pods for testing
end
  target 'test_google_signinTests' do
inherit! :search_paths
# Pods for testing
end
end


At the end, the dependencies should be linked like in this picture



Linked GoogleSignIn dependency in XCode

Also notice that GoogleServiceInfo.plist is added to resources. If you don’t see it here, click the + button in Copy Bundle Resources section, and add the file. 

XCode configuration

In XCode, add your REVERSED_CLIENT_ID (found inside GoogleService-Info.plist) to the URL schemes as shown below



Add revers_client_id to URL types
If you are having issues with Pod install, Xcode configuration or if you have more than one social login in the app, check further details here

Now your iOS project is all set to connect to Firebase and Google Login. Notice that at this point, we are using Firebase only as a way to create a Google Project and obtain web_client_id and reverse_client_id . We haven’t yet connected Firebase with the app, as such. We will do that later in another section.

Step 5: Implement Google auth functions in RN app

Now that the app is all connected to Google Auth, let’s write the actual code to call login / logout etc functions. 

First of all, I have created a separate file LoginController.js and imported it in App.js , just to maintain a good code structure. 



My App.js looks like following (nothing fancy, I’m not even gonna waste a gist here)

import React, { Fragment } from 'react';
import LoginController from './LoginController';
const App = () => {return (<LoginController/>);};
export default App;

Yes, that’s it 😆

5.1 Implement Google Login button

In the LoginController.js , I add Google login button using following code

import { GoogleSignin, GoogleSigninButton, statusCodes } from 'react-native-google-signin';
.....(inside render)
<GoogleSigninButton
style={{ width: 192, height: 48 }}
size={GoogleSigninButton.Size.Wide}
color={GoogleSigninButton.Color.Dark}
onPress={this._signIn}
disabled={this.state.isSigninInProgress} />
....

This shows the beautiful Google Button as per their marketing guidelines

5.2 Configure Sign In on App start 

Before calling signIn method, we need to call configure method, which sets the parameters for Google Auth. You can call this method in componentDidMount 

GoogleSignin.configure({
scopes: ['https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.readonly'], webClientId: 'XXXXXX-qXXXXXn7umiXXXXXXe1ekgubrXXe.apps.googleusercontent.com', 
offlineAccess: true, 
hostedDomain: '', 
loginHint: '', 
forceConsentPrompt: true, 
accountName: '',
iosClientId: 'XXXXXX-krv1hjXXXXXXp51pisuc1104q5XXXXXXe.apps.googleusercontent.com'
});

Let’s look at this in more detail

  •  scopes: This tell what API you want to access on behalf of the user, leave it blank for just email and profile access. For more API access, you might have to get your app verified, or you’ll see this warning when logging in


Verification message for broader scopes
  • webClientId: Client ID of type WEB for your server needed to verify user ID and offline access. This is what we copied from Firebase console in Step 2
  • offlineAccess: If you want to access Google API on behalf of the user from your server
  • hostedDomain: Specifies a hosted domain restriction for auth
  • loginHint: Only for iOS - The user’s ID, or email address, to be prefilled in the authentication UI if possible. (See docs here)
  • forceConsentPrompt: Only for Android —  if you want to show the authorization prompt at each login.
  • accountName: Only for Android —  Specifies an account name on the device that should be used
  • iosClientId: Only for iOS — Optional, if you want to specify the client ID of type iOS (otherwise, it is taken from GoogleService-Info.plist). Of course, if you omit this, yourGoogleService-Info.plist needs to be correctly configured in XCode.

5.3 Sign In Method

The signIn method called from the Google Login button goes like this


The userinfo is saved in the state and hence can work to take user to next page, or change elements in the same page. For the sake of simplicity, I won’t put in another page and trouble you with concepts of routing. Instead, we’ll just change the elements of our homepage when user gets logged in. Sounds fair ? Cool ! 

5.4 Sign Out Method

The sing out method looks like this


5.5 Silent login

When user logs in once, on next app start you don’t want user to login again. Hence you try to silently login the user. If user is already logged in and has a valid session, the user will silently login. You can call this method as well in componentDidMount . Remember to call configure method before this as well. If the user does not have a valid session, this method will return null and you can ask user to sign in


There are more methods like isSignedIn() , getCurrentUser() , getTokens() etc, whose details you can get on the package’s Github.

Overall, my LoginController.js file looks like this (a bit long, I know)


Step 6: Test your app on iOS

Let’s now build the app for iOS. I am using a simulator, but you can always use a real device as well.

Run the app on iOS simulator using

$ react-native run-ios --simulator="iPhone 8"

or simply on a connected device (or default simulator) using 

$ react-native run-ios

Here’s how my Google Login app works 



Google Login in React Native app

Note : If you have more scopes than just basic info, you’ll see an App Not Verified screen. You can skip the warning and still login. But that warning won’t look good to your user. You might consider getting your app verified if you get that warning. 

UserInfo

After login, here’s how my user data looks like in essence


I have arranged this in the LoginController.js in a list format for better UI.

Step 7: Use Firebase to auto-login the user

We have seen above that using “Silent Login”, we can login the user silently. Also, notice that we haven’t connected Firebase directly to our app till now, and still managed to login using Google. That’s why the Firebase user table is still empty



We only used Firebase for 

  • Creating a Google project
  • Obtaining web_client_id and reversed_client_id 

Both of which can be done in Google Developer Console as well, without touching Firebase. 

So why do we need to attach Firebase at all ? 

  1. Well, we don’t need to. If you have an app, you’re probably going to have a back-end with it as well. Generally we store auth credentials like token and ID in back-end, so the server can authorize access based on valid sessions. In case you are using Firebase as a back-end for your app (which is a great choice btw), you can attach Firebase to Google Login, and store the token and userID in Firebase. This way, Firebase will take care of your user sessions.
  2. If you have more than one login methods e.g. Facebook login, direct email login, you would like to have the control in single place. Firebase is perfect for such a situation. 
  3. Storing user info in Firebase is useful for analytics and so many other purposes, rather than having the info just in the user’s app.
  4. And because you can ! 😎

Connect Firebase to your React Native app using react-native-firebase

react-native-firebase is a popular package to connect React Native apps to Firebase various functionalities.

React-native-firebase also recommends using react-native-google-signin for Google authentication, which we just used above.

  • To connect it to your app, make sure the GoogleService-Info.plist file to your iOS app using ‘File → Add Files to “[YOUR APP NAME]”…’ in XCode, as shown in the screenshot below


Add the GoogleService-Info.plist file to the App Folder in XCode
  • Install react-native-firebasepackage using
$ npm install --save react-native-firebase 

This installs the package, but it still needs to be connected to XCode properly

Modify Xcode files

To initilize the native SDK in your app, add the following to your ios/[YOUR APP NAME]/AppDelegate.m file:

#import <Firebase.h> 

Also, at the beginning of the didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions method add the following line:

[FIRApp configure]; 

Install required Pods

Open your pod file in iOS root folder and add two dependencies

pod 'Firebase/Core', '~> 6.3.0'
pod 'Firebase/Auth', '~> 6.3.0'

Runpod install to install the dependencies. If you face an error of versions, try running pod repo update and then run pod install 

Link the react-native-firebase package with iOS platform

Link the react-native-firebase package with iOS platform using

$ react-native link react-native-firebase

However, from RN ≥0.60, you don’t need to manually link packages. It is done automatically when packaging the platform for build. 

Changes in LoginController.js

Now that we are going to save the login info in Firebase, we’ll call a Fierbase method to store the required data in back-end. Following function logs the user in , and then saves the info in Firebase


Note, firebase.auth().signInWithCredential is the method used to store user credentials in back-end. 

Now, run the app again using CLI or XCode, log in as usual and you’ll see that a user pops up in Firebase Users list 



User registered in Firebase via Google Login

You have successfully 

  • Logged in a user using Google Login in React Native
  • Attached the authentication to Firebase to store user credentials

🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉

Firebase, further

You can now go ahead and attach more Firebase functions like logout, silent login, userinfo etc. since you have user credentials in Firebase. 

Note, not all userInfo that we receive after Google Login gets stored in Firebase by default. If you want all the information to be stored, then you should use the FireStore database to store it, and retrieve it when required. 

For more details on functions like

  • CRUD operations in Firestore
  • Image Upload
  • Phone authentication

check out this blog.

Firebase phone auth, crud and image upload in react native

Check out this blog for more details on Firebase with React Native Apps

Conclusion

In this blog, you learnt how to implement Google Login in React Native apps. You also learnt how to attach this authentication to Firebase for better handling using back-end. We also built the app in iOS and ran on a simulator. 

Complete source code of this tutorial is available here — React-Native-google-login

Next Steps

Now that you have learnt about setting up React Native in React Native apps, here are some other topics you can look into

If you need a base to start your next React Native app, you can make your next awesome app using React Native Full App





Title
Subtitle
Kicker