How do you implement a secure OAuth 2.0 authentication flow in a Flutter application?

13 June 2024

When it comes to modern app development, security is paramount. One of the most robust and widely-used mechanisms for securing applications is the OAuth 2.0 protocol. If you're developing a Flutter application and you need to integrate secure OAuth 2.0 authentication flow, you're in the right place. This article will guide you through the process step-by-step.

Understanding OAuth 2.0 and Its Importance

Before diving into the implementation, it's crucial to understand the OAuth 2.0 protocol. OAuth 2.0 is an authorization framework that allows third-party applications to access a user's resources without exposing their credentials. This is done by issuing access tokens that represent the user's authorization.

In the context of a Flutter app, OAuth 2.0 will enable users to login using third-party services like Google, while keeping your application secure. This involves multiple entities, including the authorization server, the resource server, and the OAuth client (your app).

Setting Up Your Flutter App for OAuth 2.0

Starting with your Flutter application, the first step involves configuring your development environment.

  1. Install Flutter: Ensure you have Flutter installed and set up on your machine. You can follow the official Flutter installation guide.
  2. Create a New Flutter Project: Open your terminal and run:
    flutter create oauth_example

    Navigate to the project folder:

    cd oauth_example
  3. Add Dependencies: To get started with OAuth 2.0 in Flutter, you'll need the oauth package. Add it to your pubspec.yaml file:
        sdk: flutter
  4. Import the Package: You'll need to import package dart to use OAuth 2.0. Open your main.dart file and add:
    import 'package:oauth2/oauth2.dart' as oauth2;

Implementing the OAuth 2.0 Authorization Code Flow

The Authorization Code Flow is the most secure OAuth 2.0 flow, especially for server-side applications. Here's a breakdown of how you can implement it.

Step 1: Register Your Application

Start by registering your application with the OAuth provider (e.g., Google). You'll receive a client ID and client secret. These credentials are used to identify your application.

Step 2: Generate the Authorization URL

You need to direct your users to an authorization URL where they will authenticate and authorize your app. Use your client ID and a redirect URI (a URL to which the authorization server will send the user after they authorize):

final authorizationEndpoint = Uri.parse('');
final identifier = 'your_client_id';
final redirectUri = Uri.parse('your_redirect_uri');

final state = 'some_random_state_string';
final uri = authorizationEndpoint.replace(queryParameters: {
  'response_type': 'code',
  'client_id': identifier,
  'redirect_uri': redirectUri.toString(),
  'scope': 'openid profile email',
  'state': state,

Step 3: Handling the Redirect

Once the user authorizes your app, they will be redirected to your specified redirect URI with an authorization code. Capture this code and exchange it for an access token.

final grant = oauth2.AuthorizationCodeGrant(
  secret: 'your_client_secret',

final authUri = grant.getAuthorizationUrl(redirectUri);

// Redirect the user to the authUri in a **fullscreen mode**

Step 4: Exchange the Authorization Code for an Access Token

After the user is redirected back to your app, extract the authorization code from the redirect URI and exchange it for an access token:

final responseUri = // Extract the redirect URI received
final client = await grant.handleAuthorizationResponse(responseUri.queryParameters);

Step 5: Securely Store the Access Token

With the access token in hand, you can now make authorized requests on behalf of your users. It's critical to store this token securely and manage its expiration with a refresh token mechanism.

// Store the token securely
final credentials = client.credentials;

Handling Token Refresh and Secure Storage

One of the pillars of a secure OAuth 2.0 implementation is managing token expiration and refreshing tokens seamlessly.

Implementing Token Refresh

The access token has a limited lifespan. When it expires, the refresh token is used to obtain a new access token without requiring the user to re-authenticate.

if (client.credentials.isExpired) {
  await client.refreshCredentials();

Secure Storage of Tokens

To store tokens securely, you can use the flutter_secure_storage package. Add it to your pubspec.yaml:


Then, in your Dart code:

import 'package:flutter_secure_storage/flutter_secure_storage.dart';

final storage = FlutterSecureStorage();

await storage.write(key: 'refresh_token', value: client.credentials.refreshToken);

Implementing Login with Google in Flutter

Google sign-in is a popular use case for OAuth 2.0 in Flutter applications. Here's how to implement it:

  1. Configure Google Developer Console: Create a project and obtain your OAuth 2.0 client ID and client secret.
  2. Set Up Flutter Project:
  3. Implement Google Sign-In:
    import 'package:google_sign_in/google_sign_in.dart';
    final GoogleSignIn _googleSignIn = GoogleSignIn(
      clientId: 'your_google_client_id',
      scopes: ['email', 'profile'],
    Future<void> _handleSignIn() async {
      try {
        final account = await _googleSignIn.signIn();
        if (account != null) {
          print('User signed in: ${account.displayName}');
      } catch (error) {
        print('Sign in failed: $error');

Testing and Debugging

Testing your OAuth 2.0 implementation is crucial to ensure that all flows work correctly and securely.

  1. Simulate Different Scenarios: Test token expiration, refresh mechanisms, and error handling.
  2. Use Flutter DevTools: Utilize Flutter DevTools for debugging and monitoring your app's performance.

Implementing a secure OAuth 2.0 authentication flow in a Flutter application involves multiple steps, from setting up your environment and registering your app to handling authorization codes and access tokens. By following this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your Flutter app not only provides a seamless login experience for users but also maintains robust security standards.

OAuth 2.0, with its ability to securely grant access to resources without compromising user credentials, is a powerful tool in modern app development. By leveraging packages like oauth2 and flutter_secure_storage, and following best practices for token management and secure storage, you can build a secure and efficient authentication system for your Flutter application.

So, how do you implement a secure OAuth 2.0 authentication flow in a Flutter application? By carefully setting up your environment, correctly handling the authorization flow, and ensuring secure token management, you create a robust and secure authentication mechanism for your users.

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