The iPhone OS Core OS Layer

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The iPhone OS Core Services LayerInstalling Xcode and the iPhone SDK


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The Core OS Layer is the bottom layer of the iPhone OS stack and sits directly on top of the device hardware. The layer provides a variety of services including low level networking, access to external accessories and the usual fundamental operating system services such as memory management, file system handling and threads.




CFNetwork Framework (CFNetwork.framework)

The CFNetwork framework provides a C-based interface to the TCP/IP networking protocol stack and low level access to BSD sockets. This enables application code to be written that works with HTTP, FTP and Domain Name servers and to establish secure and encrypted connections using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS).

External Accessory framework (ExternalAccessory.framework)

Provides the ability to interrogate and communicate with external accessories connected physically to the iPhone via the 30-pin dock connector or wirelessly via Bluetooth.


Security Framework (Security.framework)

The iPhone OS Security framework provides all the security interfaces you would expect to find on a device that can connect to external networks including certificates, public and private keys, trust policies, keychains, encryption, digests and Hash-based Message Authentication Code (HMAC).

System (LibSystem)

As we have previously mentioned, the iPhone OS is built upon a UNIX-like foundation. The System component of the Core OS Layer provides much the same functionality as any other UNIX like operating system. This layer includes the operating system kernel (based on the Mach kernel developed by Carnegie Mellon University) and device drivers. The kernel is the foundation on which the entire iPhone OS is built and provides the low level interface to the underlying hardware. Amongst other things the kernel is responsible for memory allocation, process lifecycle management, input/output, inter-process communication, thread management, low level networking, file system access and thread management.

As an app developer your access to the System interfaces is restricted for security and stability reasons. Those interfaces that are available to you are contained in a C-based library called LibSystem. As with all other layers of the iPhone OS stack, these interfaces should be used only when you are absolutely certain there is no way to achieve the same objective using a framework located in a higher OS layer.


Purchase the fully updated iOS 10 / Swift 3 / Xcode 8 edition of this book in eBook ($19.99) or Print ($45.99) format.
iOS 10 App Development Essentials Print and eBook (ePub/PDF/Kindle) edition contains over 100 chapters. Learn more...

Buy eBook Buy Print Preview Book



PreviousTable of ContentsNext
The iPhone OS Core Services LayerInstalling Xcode and the iPhone SDK