Before starting to develop your application with the Navigation SDK, you'll need to configure your credentials and add the SDK as a dependency.

Configure credentials

Before installing the SDK, you will need to gather the appropriate credentials. The SDK requires two pieces of sensitive information from your Mapbox account. If you don't have a Mapbox account: sign up and navigate to your Account page. You'll need:

  • A public access token: From your account's tokens page, you can either copy your default public token or click the Create a token button to create a new public token.
  • A secret access token with the Downloads:Read scope.
    1. From your account's tokens page, click the Create a token button.
    2. From the token creation page, give your token a name and make sure the box next to the Downloads:Read scope is checked.
    3. Click the Create token button at the bottom of the page to create your token.
    4. The token you've created is a secret token, which means you will only have one opportunity to copy it somewhere secure.

You should not expose these access tokens in publicly-accessible source code where unauthorized users might find them. Instead, you should store them somewhere safe on your computer and make sure they're only added when your app is compiled. Once this configuration step has been completed, you will be able to reference your credentials in other parts of your app.

Configure your secret token

Your secret token enables you to download the SDK directly from Mapbox. In order to use your secret token, you will need to store it in a .netrc file in your home directory (not your project folder). This approach helps avoid accidentally exposing your secret token by keeping it out of your application's source code. Depending on your environment, you may have this file already, so check first before creating a new one.

The .netrc file is a plain text file that is used in certain development environments to store credentials used to access remote servers. The login should always be mapbox. It should not be your personal username used to create the secret token. To set up the credentials required to download the SDK, add the following entry to your .netrc file:

login mapbox

Configure your public token

To configure your public access token, open your project's Info.plist file and add a MGLMapboxAccessToken key whose value is your public access token.

If you ever need to rotate your access token, you will need to update the token value in your Info.plist file accordingly.

Users expect the SDK to continue to track the user’s location and deliver audible instructions even while a different application is visible or the device is locked. To do this, go to the Signing & Capabilities tab. Under the Background Modes section, enable “Audio, AirPlay, and Picture in Picture” and “Location updates”. (Alternatively, add the audio and location values to the UIBackgroundModes array in the Info tab.)

Add the dependency

Installing MapboxNavigation versus MapboxCoreNavigation

MapboxCoreNavigation is a dependency of MapboxNavigation. If you install MapboxNavigation you will also have access to all MapboxCoreNavigation's classes and methods. If you do not plan to use the drop-in UI, you can replace MapboxNavigation with MapboxCoreNavigation in the Podfile code snippet below.

Mapbox provides the Navigation SDK via CocoaPods and Carthage. You can choose whichever you prefer.

To add the Mapbox Navigation SDK dependency with CocoaPods, you will need to configure your build to download the Navigation SDK from Mapbox directly. This requires a valid username and an access token with the Downloads: Read scope. In a previous step, you added these items to your .netrc file.

  1. Create a Podfile with the following specification:

    target 'TargetNameForYourApp' do
      pod 'MapboxNavigation', '~> 1.0'
  2. Run pod repo update && pod install and open the resulting Xcode workspace.

Request a route

Request your first route and simulate a navigation experience using our drop-in UI.

Insert the following code snippets into your ViewController.

import MapboxDirections
import MapboxCoreNavigation
import MapboxNavigation
class ViewController: UIViewController {
override func viewDidLoad() {
// Define two waypoints to travel between
let origin = Waypoint(coordinate: CLLocationCoordinate2D(latitude: 38.9131752, longitude: -77.0324047), name: "Mapbox")
let destination = Waypoint(coordinate: CLLocationCoordinate2D(latitude: 38.8977, longitude: -77.0365), name: "White House")
// Set options
let routeOptions = NavigationRouteOptions(waypoints: [origin, destination])
// Request a route using MapboxDirections.swift
Directions.shared.calculate(routeOptions) { [weak self] (session, result) in
switch result {
case .failure(let error):
case .success(let response):
guard let route = response.routes?.first, let strongSelf = self else {
// Pass the first generated route to the the NavigationViewController
let viewController = NavigationViewController(for: route, routeIndex: 0, routeOptions: routeOptions)
viewController.modalPresentationStyle = .fullScreen
strongSelf.present(viewController, animated: true, completion: nil)

Run the application and you will see a simulated navigation experience along a route.

Access token best practices

Learn how to keep access tokens private in mobile apps.

Testing and development

Simulate a route

Use MapboxNavigationService(simulating:.always) to simulate progress along a route. This simulation mode is different from the simulation features built into both the Simulator and Xcode. The simulation mode built into the Navigation SDK never deviates from the current route, but it does behave more realistically by accounting for the expected travel speed and course at any given time. While navigating, you can double-tap the left or right side of the “Simulating” banner to adjust the playback speed.

let navigationService = MapboxNavigationService(route: route, routeOptions: routeOptions, simulating: .always)
let navigationOptions = NavigationOptions(navigationService: navigationService)
let viewController = NavigationViewController(for: route, routeOptions: routeOptions, navigationOptions: navigationOptions)