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Stitch is a swift library to sync a CoreData store to CloudKit

Stitch, a CoreData to CloudKit sync library

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macOS Tests Coverage
iOS Tests Coverage
tvOS Tests Coverage
watchOS build info only - soon

Stitch is a framework built to sync a CoreData store to CloudKit, with backwards compatibility to older OS's than CloudKit+CoreData.

This is a work in progress. It builds, it syncs, it has tests for a lot of things, but not all failure conditions and options.


Stitch like it's namesake has some prickly parts to be aware of right off the bat.

  • It doesn't suport public CloudKit databases.
  • It doesn't support CloudKit shared private databases.
  • It doesn't support direct many to many relationships, but you can work around this by building a linking table entity.
  • It doesn't support the store version system
  • It doesn't support ordered relationships
  • Migrations involving renaming or changing properties, entities, or relationships
  • CloudKit containers created with Stitch won't be compatible with CloudKit+CoreData but will be backwards compatible with older OS's
  • You must handle iCloud account observation externally to Stitch.
  • When sync finishes, you must integrate those changes in to your UI.
  • Conflict resolution has been simplified to either server or local record wins.
  • watchOS 5.x and older can't support push notifications and doesn't setup the subscription for them

It was built primarily for my needs, and I haven't needed these, but I am not opposed to working in support for those that make sense

What does it do then?

So after seeing that scary list of sharp points, what does Stitch have to offer?

  • Complete local cache, the store is fully usable offline, and changes will be queued for the next time the user connects to a network with the app open.
  • Assets/External Data can be downloaded separately from the text data, either on demand or just as a separate sync phase (for instance, you can implement a download all assets when on wifi)
  • Stitch supports both adding new entities and new fields to the database. Keep in mind that older versions of your app won't see the new properties until the user updates. Keep this in mind when designing your database.
  • It does support as best it can, a lot of NSSQLiteStore features, as the default local backing store is an NSSQLiteStore
  • It does allow for other backing store types, although some may have some issues vs NSSQLiteStore
  • Syncing can happen automatically on save
  • Store sets up CloudKit database zone, and subscription automatically
  • Customizable CloudKit database identifier, zone and subscription names
  • Cross Apple device, it supports macOS, iOS and tvOS, and watchOS

CoreData to CloudKit


CoreData CloudKit
Date Date/Time
Data Bytes
External Stored Data CKAsset
String String
Int16 Int(64)
Int32 Int(64)
Int64 Int(64)
Decimal Double
Float Double
Boolean Int(64)
NSManagedObject Reference


CoreData Relationship Translation on CloudKit
To - one To one relationships are translated as CKReferences in the CloudKit Container.
To - many To many relationships are not explicitly created, Stitch only creates and manages to-one relationships in CloudKit and then translates those back when syncing down.Example -> If an Employee has a to-one relationship to Department and Department has a to-many relationship to Employee than Stitch will only link the employee to the department in CloudKit. During sync, it translates these back in the local store
many - many Stitch does not support these directly. You can create them though using a linking table

Note : You must create inverse relationships in your app's CoreData Model or Stitch won't be able to translate CoreData Models in to CloudKit Records. Unexpected errors and curroption of data can possibly occur.


Stitch keeps the CoreData store in sync with the CloudKit Servers.

After a sync completes, you must integrate the changes in to your UI. More on this to come.

Conflict Resolution Policies

In case of any sync conflicts, Stitch exposes 2 conflict resolution policies. Defined in StitchStore.ConflictPolicy

  • serverWins - This is the default. It considers the server record as the true record.
  • clientWins - This considers the client record as the true record.

How to use

  • Add a store type of StitchStore.storeType to your app's NSPersistentStoreCoordinator and assign it to the property created in the previous step. Pass in an appropriate options dictionary, more on supported options below.
do {
   let store  = try coordinator.addPersistentStoreWithType(StitchStore.storeType,
                                                           configuration: nil,
                                                           URL: url,
                                                           options: options) as? StitchStore
} catch {
   print("There was an error adding the store! \(error)")
  • Enable Push Notifications for your app.
  • Register for push notifications somewhere, such as applicationDidFinishLaunching
  • iOS:
  • macOS:
NSApp.registerForRemoteNotifications(matching: .alert)
  • Implement didReceiveRemoteNotification Method in your AppDelegate and call handlePush on the instance of SMStore created earlier. (macOS shown)
func application(application: UIApplication, 
                 didReceiveRemoteNotification userInfo: [NSObject : AnyObject]) 
   self.smStore?.handlePush(userInfo: userInfo)
  • Listen for sync finished notification somewhere appropriate
                                       selector: #selector(cloudKitSyncComplete),
                                       name: StitchStore.Notifications.DidFinishSync,
                                       object: nil)

  • Integrate synced changes in to your view context
func realObjectsFromCloudKitSyncIDs(ids: Array<NSManagedObjectID>) -> Set<NSManagedObject> {
   return Set<NSManagedObject>(ids.compactMap { persistentContainer.viewContext.object(with: $0) })
@objc func cloudKitSyncComplete(note: NSNotification) {
   let noteInserted = note.userInfo?[NSInsertedObjectsKey] as? Array<NSManagedObjectID> ?? []
   let noteDeleted = note.userInfo?[NSDeletedObjectsKey] as? Array<NSManagedObjectID> ?? []
   let noteUpdated = note.userInfo?[NSUpdatedObjectsKey] as? Array<NSManagedObjectID> ?? []
   if noteInserted.count == 0 && noteDeleted.count == 0 && noteUpdated.count == 0 {

   let objectArrays = [NSInsertedObjectsKey: realObjectsFromCloudKitSyncIDs(ids: noteInserted),
                       NSDeletedObjectsKey: realObjectsFromCloudKitSyncIDs(ids: noteDeleted),
                       NSUpdatedObjectsKey: realObjectsFromCloudKitSyncIDs(ids: noteUpdated)]
   let modifiedNote = Notification(name: .NSManagedObjectContextDidSave,
                                   object: note.object,
                                   userInfo: objectArrays)
   persistentContainer.viewContext.mergeChanges(fromContextDidSave: modifiedNote)

Some notes on using Stitch via Swift Package Manager in Objective-C projects

Swift targets managed by Swift Package Manager can't be imported in to Obj-C code directly. You will need to use some swift code around touching stuff in the Stitch module.

If you want to use it in a framework, such as might be shared between main app and extensions, Xcode tries to add it as an import to the generated [ModuleName]-Swift.h for the framework which will cause it to error. This can be fixed by adding a private module map to the framework target. Make a file with the extension .modulemap with the contents

module Stitch {
   export *

Then in the build settings put your modulemap's project relative path in the setting MODULEMAP_PRIVATE_FILE. Stitch won't be accessible from Objective-C either in the framework or the app that links against it, but it will be available in Swift in either.

(There may be better ways of dealing with this, but it has worked for me)


Defined in StitchStore.Options

  • FetchRequestPredicateReplacement NSNumber boolean that enables replacement of NSManagedObjects in NSPredicates on NSFetchRequests. Defaults to false. Requires objects to be replaced be saved prior to replacing them, otherwise errors will be thrown. Supports replacing managed objects in: "keyPath == %@", "keyPath in %@" and "%@ contains %@" predicates, as well as compound predicates with those as sub predicates.

  • SyncConflictResolutionPolicy is an NSNumber of the raw value of one of the options in StitchStore.ConflictPolicy. Defaults to StitchStore.ConflictPolicy.serverWins

  • CloudKitContainerIdentifier is a String identifying which CloudKit container ID to use if your app uses an identifier which does not match your Bundle ID. Defaults to using CKContainer.default().privateCloudDatabase. Important that your app on different platforms all be set to use the same CloudKit container.

  • ConnectionStatusDelegate an object which conforms to StitchConnectionStatus for asking whether we have an internet connection at the moment

  • ExcludedUnchangingAsyncAssetKeys is an array of Strings which indicate keys which should not be synced down during the main cycle due to being a large CKAsset Syncing down can be done later on request or demand based on application need. Your asset containing properties should not overlap in name with other keys you want synced down to use this. Defaults to nil.

  • BackingStoreType is a string which defines what type of backing store is to be used. Defaults to NSSQLiteStoreType and testing is done against this type. Other stores may have issues.

  • SyncOnSave an NSNumber boolean value for whether to automatically sync when the database is told to save. Defaults to true.

  • ZoneNameOption Lets you specify a string to use as the CloudKitZone ID name. Defaults to StitchStore.SubscriptionInfo.CustomZoneName

  • SubscriptionNameOption Lets you specify a string to use as the CloudKit subscription name ID. Defaults to StitchStore.SubscriptionInfo.SubscriptioName


Xcode 11

Swift 5.1


Getting Started


Simply add the git url to Swift Package Manager in Xcode 11


Stitch was created by Elizabeth Siemer, based on a heavily modified by me fork of Seam by Nofel Mahmood but it has been nearly completely rewritten.


Follow Elizabeth on Twitter and GitHub or email her at elizabeth@darkchocolatesoftware.com


Stitch is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.