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How to Create iOS Live Streaming App

How to Create iOS Live Streaming App

Creating an iOS live streaming app involves designing a user-friendly interface and utilizing robust technologies to deliver high-quality video and audio content. This guide will walk you through developing a live streaming application on iOS, from leveraging Apple’s frameworks to implementing streaming protocols for real-time engagement with users around the globe.

What is a Live Streaming App?

A Live Streaming app allows users to broadcast video and audio content in real-time to an online audience. These apps enable streamers to share live events, shows, and personal experiences globally, facilitating real-time interaction through features like comments and likes. Viewers can access content on various devices, enhancing the flexibility and reach of broadcasts.

Live streaming apps are not just platforms for sharing content but also tools for engagement and monetization. They offer functionalities for managing broadcasts, analyzing viewer behavior, and monetizing content through advertisements, subscriptions, and donations. This makes live streaming a dynamic and interactive way for creators to connect with their audience and generate revenue.

Types of Live Streaming Apps

Live streaming apps can be categorized based on their primary purpose or the type of content they focus on. Here are some of the main types of live-streaming apps:

Social Media Streaming Apps

These apps are primarily social media platforms but have a live streaming feature. Examples include Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Twitter’s Periscope. Users can broadcast live videos to their followers, who can interact with the stream in real-time.

Dedicated Live Streaming Platforms

Live streaming platforms often have more advanced features and are used for various purposes, from personal broadcasting to professional webinars. Examples include Twitch, Livestream, and Ustream.

Video Conferencing Apps

Video conferencing apps allow live, interactive video communication, often for business or educational purposes. They typically include features like screen sharing, recording, and chat. Examples include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.

Gaming Streaming Apps

Apps intended to stream video gameplay have interactive features for viewers, including chat and donations. Twitch is the most popular, but other alternatives like YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming exist.

Music and Entertainment Streaming Apps

These apps are designed for streaming music, concerts, or other entertainment events. Examples include Spotify (for audio streaming), Vevo (for music videos), and apps like Netflix Party that allow for synchronized video viewing.

Educational and Webinar Apps

Online learning is the main purpose of these apps. They often include screen sharing, Q&A, and recording features. Examples are Zoom, Webex, and BigBlueButton.

Fitness and Wellness Apps

Fitness classes, yoga sessions, meditation, and other wellness content is broadcasted in these apps. Examples include Peloton and ClassPass.

News and Sports Streaming Apps

These apps are designed for live-streaming news broadcasts or sports events. Popular streaming news apps are ESPN, CBS Sports, and BBC iPlayer.

Why is Live Streaming for iOS Important?

Mobile streaming is important because it offers accessibility, convenience, interactivity, and monetization opportunities, and it plays a significant role in entertainment, education, and information sharing. There are some reasons why mobile live streaming is important here:

  1. Accessibility: Mobile devices are ubiquitous and often the primary device people use to access the internet. Mobile streaming allows users to consume content wherever they are, whether they’re commuting, waiting in line, or relaxing at home.
  2. Convenience: Mobile live streaming provides instant access to vast content. Users can watch movies, listen to music, tune into live events, or catch up on news broadcasts at their convenience.
  3. Interactivity: Many mobile streaming platforms offer interactive features, such as live chats and reactions, which can enhance the user experience and foster a sense of community.
  4. Personalization: Mobile streaming apps can offer personalized recommendations based on a user’s viewing history, creating a tailored content experience.
  5. Monetization Opportunities: For content creators and businesses, mobile streaming opens up new avenues for monetization. This can include subscription fees, advertising revenue, and in-app purchases.
  6. Live Streaming: Mobile devices not only allow users to consume content but also to create it. With live streaming features, users can broadcast their own videos in real-time, whether sharing personal moments, hosting webinars, or live-streaming events.
  7. Education and Information Sharing: Mobile streaming has become a vital tool for online learning and information dissemination, especially during situations like the COVID-19 pandemic when remote learning and work have become the norm.
  8. Growth of Mobile Gaming: Mobile gaming has seen exponential growth, and game streaming is a big part of that. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming allow gamers to stream their gameplay right from their mobile devices.

What is an iOS Video Streaming API?

An iOS Video Streaming API is a set of protocols and tools that allow developers to implement video streaming functionalities within iOS applications. These APIs provide the necessary interfaces to capture, process, and stream video content in real-time from an iOS device to other devices or platforms over the internet.

Key Features of iOS Video Streaming APIs

  1. Capture and Encoding: They can access the device’s camera to capture live video and then encode this video in a format suitable for streaming. This is typically done using codecs like H.264 or H.265, which are efficient at compressing video while maintaining quality.
  2. Network Communication: These APIs manage the network connections needed to send the video from the source (the iOS device) to the destination (the server or another device). This involves using protocols such as RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), or WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) to facilitate the streaming process.
  3. Playback: On the receiving end, video streaming APIs ensure that the streamed video can be decoded and played back smoothly. This involves buffering, which helps to avoid interruptions due to network latency or variability.
  4. Adaptability: Many video streaming APIs include features to adapt the video stream based on the current network conditions. For example, they might reduce the video quality or resolution to ensure that the stream remains smooth when the network is slow.
  5. Security: These APIs often include mechanisms to secure the video stream, such as encryption and secure key exchange, to prevent unauthorized access and ensure that the content is safe during transmission.
  6. Interaction: Advanced streaming APIs might support additional features like chat or interactive video, allowing users to communicate with the broadcaster or with each other in real-time.

What Features Do You Need for iOS Live Streaming APP?

According to eMarketer forecasts, 2.72 billion people will watch videos on their mobile phones in 2023. In 2019 the number was 2.16 billion, increasing with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%. With the continuous expansion of the live streaming industry, this industry specializes in several sub-industries: game live streaming, education live streaming, sales live streaming, and entertainment live streaming.


Different live-streaming industries require specific functions.

The essential functions are:

  • Room management
  • Audio and video chat push-pull stream management
  • Device management
  • Member management
  • Barrage

Among advanced functions, there are:

  • Screen sharing
  • shopping cart
  • Gift effects
  • Host PK
  • Make co-hosts

A comprehensive live-streaming application is a complex system. Most enterprises opt for a live stream SDK to quickly build a live broadcast platform and access the live streaming market.

How Can ZEGOCLOUD Help for Live Streaming App Development

ZEGOCLOUD significantly enhances live streaming app development by offering comprehensive tools like UIKits and a fully customizable live streaming SDK. These resources help developers create high-quality, engaging live streaming experiences efficiently.

ZEGOCLOUD UIKits simplify the development process by providing pre-built user interface components. These UIKits allow developers to quickly integrate common live streaming functionalities such as video players, chat windows, and interactive buttons, reducing development time and ensuring UI consistency across different devices. This means developers can focus more on core functionalities, speeding up the development process while maintaining a high-quality user experience.

On the other hand, the 100% Customized Live Streaming SDK from ZEGOCLOUD offers full control over the streaming experience, enabling developers to tailor every aspect of their app. This customization allows for the integration of unique features such as multi-angle streaming, augmented reality effects, and more, making it possible to create distinctive and innovative live streaming apps that stand out in the market. Additionally, this SDK can be optimized for performance, enhancing video quality, reducing latency, and ensuring efficient bandwidth usage according to specific app requirements.

Overall, ZEGOCLOUD provides a robust platform for building live streaming apps, with benefits including:

  • Scalability: Effortlessly scales with your user base, supporting everything from small audiences to millions of simultaneous viewers.
  • Low Latency: Ensures real-time streaming with ultra-low latency, ideal for interactive and engaging live sessions.
  • Global Reach: Offers reliable, high-quality streaming globally, even in varying network conditions, thanks to ZEGOCLOUD’s distributed network.

By utilizing ZEGOCLOUD’s UIKits and customizable SDK, developers can create powerful live streaming apps quickly and efficiently, enhancing the user experience and expanding their app’s reach and capabilities.

How to Develop a Live Streaming App with ZEGOCLOUD

Next, I will use the ZEGOCLOUD UIKits to quickly demonstrate how to build a live video streaming app for iOS.

1) Add ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreaming as a dependency

Integrate ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreaming SDK through the pod as follows, add pod ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreaming in Podfile file. Then execute the command pod install in Terminal. For detailed operation, please refer to Quick Access Documentation.

target 'ZegoCallDemo' do
  # Pods for ZegoCallDemo
  pod 'ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreaming'

2) Import ZegoUIKitSDK & ZegoUIKitPrebuiltCall to your project

In the file that needs to be called the SDK interface, import the SDK through import.

import ZegoUIKitSDK
import ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreaming
// YourViewController.swift
class MainViewController: UIViewController {
    //Other code...

3) Using the ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingVC in your project

  • Go to ZEGOCLOUD Admin Console, get the appID and appSign of your project.
  • Specify the userID and userName for connecting the Live Streaming Kit service.
  • liveID Represents the live streaming you want to start or watch (only supports single-host live streaming for now).
// YourViewController.swift
class MainViewController: UIViewController {
    // Other code...
    var userID: String = <#UserID#>
    var userName: String = <#UserName#>
    var liveID: String = <#liveID#>
func startLive() {
        let config: ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingConfig = ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingConfig(kPresetRoleHost)
        let liveVC: ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingVC = ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingVC(yourAppID, appSign: yourAppSign, userID: self.userID, userName: self.userName, liveID: self.liveID, config: config)
        liveVC.modalPresentationStyle = .fullScreen
        self.present(liveVC, animated: true, completion: nil)
func watchLive() {
      let config: ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingConfig = ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingConfig(kPresetRoleAudience)
      let liveVC: ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingVC = ZegoUIKitPrebuiltLiveStreamingVC(yourAppID, appSign: yourAppSign, userID: self.userID, userName: self.userName, liveID: self.liveID, config: config)
      liveVC.modalPresentationStyle = .fullScreen
      self.present(liveVC, animated: true, completion: nil)

Then, you can begin to live streaming by presenting the liveVC.

4) Configure your project

Open the Info.plistAdd the following code inside the dict part:

<string>We require camera access to connect to a call</string>
<string>We require microphone access to connect to a call</string>

Run the demo

ZEGOCLOUD’s UIKIts makes it easy to build a powerful live-streaming iOS app. With it, you can own the app you love easily and quickly. Get started now with 10000 free minutes to make a live streaming app for iOS with ZEGOCLOUD SDK!


In conclusion, building an iOS live streaming app involves careful planning, selecting the right tools, and focusing on user engagement and quality. By leveraging powerful technologies like ZEGOCLOUD’s UIKits and customized SDK, developers can streamline the development process and create a robust app capable of delivering high-quality live streaming experiences. Remember to test thoroughly, gather user feedback, and iterate to ensure your app meets the demands of your audience. With dedication and the right approach, your iOS live streaming app can become a dynamic platform that connects and entertains people around the world.

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