iOS Audio Room Tutorial

This tutorial will unlock simple steps to build an iOS audio room app experience using SwiftUI. You will create VoiceDorm, a SwiftUI app with functionalities and features similar to Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse.

This tutorial will teach you how to build an audio room experience like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse. The end result will look like the image on the right and support the following features:

  • Backstage mode. You can start the call with your co-hosts and chat a bit before going live
  • Calls run on Stream's global edge network for optimal latency and scalability
  • There is no cap to how many listeners you can have in a room
  • Listeners can raise their hand, and be invited to speak by the host
  • Audio tracks are send multiple times for optimal reliability

Preview of the final result

Time to get started building an audio-room for your app.

Step 1 - Create a new SwiftUI Application in Xcode

  1. Make sure you have Xcode installed and that you are running 14.3 or later
  2. Open Xcode and select "Create a new Project"
  3. Select "iOS" as the platform and "App" as the type of Application
  4. Name your project "AudioRooms" and select "SwiftUI" as the interface

Step 2 - Install the SDK & Setup permissions

Next you need to add our SDK dependencies to your project using Swift Package Manager from Xcode.

  1. Click on "Add packages..." from the File menu
  2. Add https://github.com/GetStream/stream-video-swift in the search bar
  3. Select "StreamVideo" and "StreamVideoSwiftUI" and then click Add Package

App Permissions

Joining an audio room requires microphone access, you need to request permissions to use them in your app. In order to do this, you will need to add the following key to the Info.plist file.

  • Privacy - Microphone Usage Description - "AudioRooms requires microphone access in order to capture and transmit audio"

Screenshot shows permissions in the .plist file

Step 3 - Create & Join a call

Open up AudioRooms/AudioRoomsApp.swift and replace it with this code:

Let's review the example above and go over the details.

User setup. First we create a user object. You typically sync your users via a server side integration from your own backend. Alternatively, you can also use guest or anonymous users.

Client init. Next we initialize the client by passing the API Key, user and user token.

Create and join call After the user and client are created, we create a call like this:

  • This joins and creates a call with the type: "audio_room" and the specified callId
  • The users with id john_smith and jane_doe are added as members to the call
  • And we set the title and description custom field on the call object

To actually run this sample we need a valid user token. The user token is typically generated by your server side API. When a user logs in to your app you return the user token that gives them access to the call. To make this tutorial easier to follow we'll generate a user token for you:

Please update REPLACE_WITH_USER_ID, REPLACE_WITH_TOKEN and REPLACE_WITH_CALL_ID with the actual values shown below:

Here are credentials to try out the app with:

PropertyValue
API KeyWaiting for an API key ...
Token Token is generated ...
User IDLoading ...
Call IDCreating random call ID ...
For testing you can join the call on our web-app: Join Call

With valid credentials in place, we can join the call. When you run the app you'll see the following:

Preview of the app after step 3

Step 4 - Adding audio room UI elements

In this next step we'll add:

  • Room title and description
  • Controls to toggle live mode on/off
  • A list of participants with their speaking status

Room Title & Description

Let's create the components we need to render this and add them to the main app view

That's it for the basics, here's how the app Scene should look like now:

If you run the app now, it should look like this:

Preview of the app after step 4

The approach is the same for all components. We take the states of the call by observing call.state published vars, such as call.state.participants and use it to power our UI.

To make this a little more interactive let's join the audio room from the browser.

For testing you can join the call on our web-app: Join Call

Backstage & Live mode control

As you probably noticed by opening the same room from the browser, audio rooms by default are not live. Regular users can only join an audio room when it is in live mode. Let's expand the ControlView and add a button that controls the backstage or the room.

Now the app exposes a fake mic control button (more on that later) and a button that allows to toggle live mode on/off. If you try the web demo of the audio room you should be able to join as a regular user.

Preview of the app with live button

List Participants

As a next step, let's render the actual list of participants and show an indicator when they are speaking. To do this we are going to create a ParticipantView and render it from the ParticipantsView

With these changes things get more interesting, the app is now showing a list of all participants connected to the call and displays a small circle next to the ones that are speaking.

Preview of the app with participants list

Step 5 - Go live and join from the browser

If you now join the call from the browser you will see that the participant list updates as you open/close the browser tab.

Note how the web interface won't allow you to share your audio/video. The reason for this is that by default the audio_room call type only allows moderators or admins to speak. Regular participants can request permission. And if different defaults make sense for your app you can edit the call type in the dashboard or create your own.

Step 6 - Requesting permission to speak

Requesting permission to speak is easy. Let's first have a quick look at how the SDK call object exposes this:

Requesting permission to speak

Handling permission requests

Permission requests are exposed from call.state on the permissionRequests published variable.

Let's add another view that shows the last incoming request as well as the buttons to grant / reject it

And here is the updated Scene code that includes it:

Now when a user requests access to speak the app will look like this:

Permission requests

Step 7 - Add microphone control

You can read & manage the microphone status from the call.microphone published variable.

Let's update the MicButtonView with microphone handling.

We can now pass the microphone ObservedObject from the ControlsView

Step 8 - Group participants

It is common for audio rooms and similar interactive audio/video experiences to show users in separate groups. Let's see how we can update this application to render participants in two separate sections: speakers and listeners.

Building custom layouts is very simple, all we need to do is to apply some filtering to the call.participants observable.

We already have a view to display participants so all we need to do is to create another one, here's how the scene body looks

SplitUI

Other built-in features

There are a few more exciting features that you can use to build audio rooms

  • Query Calls: You can query calls to easily show upcoming calls, calls that recently finished as well as call previews.
  • Reactions & Custom events: Reactions and custom events are supported.
  • Recording & Broadcasting: You can record your calls Chat Stream's chat SDKs are fully featured, and you can integrate them in the call.
  • Moderation: Moderation capabilities are built-in to the product
  • Transcriptions: Transcriptions aren't available yet, but they are due to launch soon

Recap

It was fun to see just how quickly you can build an audio-room for your app. Please do let us know if you ran into any issues. Our team is also happy to review your UI designs and offer recommendations on how to achieve it with Stream.

To recap what we've learned:

  • You set up a call with call = client.call(callType: "audio_room", callId: "123")
  • The call type "audio_room" controls which features are enabled and how permissions are set up
  • The audio_room by default enables "backstage" mode, and only allows admins and the creator of the call to join before the call goes live
  • When you join a call, realtime communication is set up for audio & video calling: call.join()
  • State objects in call.state and call.state.participants make it easy to build your own UI
  • Calls run on Stream's global edge network of video servers. Being closer to your users improves the latency and reliability of calls. For audio rooms we use Opus RED and Opus DTX for optimal audio quality.

The SDKs enable you to build audio rooms, video calling and livestreaming in days.

We hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and please do feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions or questions. You can find the code for this tutorial in this Github repository.

Final Thoughts

In this video app tutorial we built a fully functioning iOS messaging app with our iOS SDK component library. We also showed how easy it is to customize the behavior and the style of the iOS video app components with minimal code changes.

Both the video SDK for iOS and the API have plenty more features available to support more advanced use-cases.

Give us Feedback!

Did you find this tutorial helpful in getting you up and running with iOS for adding video to your project? Either good or bad, we’re looking for your honest feedback so we can improve.

Next Steps

Create your free Stream account to start building with our Video & Audio SDKs at no charge during the open beta. Contact our Product team for free onboarding support or to share any feedback.

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