Pausing and Resuming Downloads

Allow the user to resume a download without starting over.


Your app or the user may need to cancel an in-progress download and resume it later. By supporting resumable downloads, you save both the user’s time and network bandwidth.

You can also use this technique to resume a download that fails due to a temporary loss of connectivity.

Store the Resume Data Object When You Cancel the Download

You cancel a URLSessionDownloadTask by calling cancel(byProducingResumeData:). This method takes a completion handler which is called once the cancellation is complete. The completion handler receives a resumeData parameter. If it it not nil, this is the token you use later to resume the download. Listing 1 shows how to cancel a download task and store resumeData, if it exists, in a property.

Listing 1

Storing the resume data when canceling a download

downloadTask.cancel { resumeDataOrNil in
    guard let resumeData = resumeDataOrNil else { 
      // download can't be resumed; remove from UI if necessary
    self.resumeData = resumeData

Store the Resume Data Object When a Download Fails

You can also resume a download that has failed due to a temporary loss of connectivity, as when the user walks out of WiFi range.

When the download fails, the session calls your urlSession(_:task:didCompleteWithError:) delegate method. If error is not nil, look in its userInfo dictionary for the key NSURLSessionDownloadTaskResumeData. If the key exists, save the value associated with it to use later when you try to resume the download. If the key does not exist, the download can’t be resumed.

Listing 2 shows an implementation of urlSession(_:task:didCompleteWithError:) that retrieves and saves the resumeData object, if any, from the error.

func urlSession(_ session: URLSession, task: URLSessionTask, didCompleteWithError error: Error?) {
    guard let error = error else {
        // Handle success case.
    let userInfo = (error as NSError).userInfo
    if let resumeData = userInfo[NSURLSessionDownloadTaskResumeData] as? Data {
        self.resumeData = resumeData
    // Perform any other error handling.

Use the Stored Resume Data Object to Resume Downloading

When it’s appropriate to resume the download, create a new URLSessionDownloadTask by using the downloadTask(withResumeData:) or downloadTask(withResumeData:completionHandler:) method of URLSession, passing in the resumeData object you stored earlier. Then call resume() on the task to resume the download.

Listing 3

Creating and starting a download task from resume data

guard let resumeData = resumeData else {
    // inform the user the download can't be resumed
let downloadTask = urlSession.downloadTask(withResumeData: resumeData)
self.downloadTask = downloadTask

If the download resumes successfully, the task calls your delegate’s urlSession(_:downloadTask:didResumeAtOffset:expectedTotalBytes:) method. You can use the offset and byte count parameters to inform the user that the download has resumed and has preserved its earlier progress.

See Also


Downloading Files from Websites

Download files directly to the filesystem.

Downloading Files in the Background

Create tasks that download files while your app is inactive.