Apple’s FairPlay DRM Technology Working

apple fairplay drm


Digital Rights Management plays an important role in OTT industry. It provides the protection to content which is beneficial for both content creators and service providers.

Although there are various DRMs available like Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, Adobe Prime TIme and Apple FairPlay. In this article we are going to cover the Apple’s FairPlay DRM.

What Is FairPlay DRM

FairPlay DRM was originally developed by Veridisc. It was later on adopted by the Apple and now known as Apple’s FairPlay DRM. Apple were using the FairPlay for the protection of audio files in iTunes. But later on FairPlay it started using for the both Audio and Video Products.

FairPlay DRM is apple technology used to encrypt the content for the Apple devices like iPad, iPhone and Apple Tv etc. and using the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). FairPlay streaming is used to deliver the secure key which is protected on the network and client side too.

FairPlay files are the basically  MP4 container files. These MP4 files contains the encrypted audios streams with AES algorithm  in MD5 hashes. These MP4 container files contains the encryped Master Key. This Master is used for to decrypt these streams. A key which is used to decrypt the master key is know as User Key.

Whenever a new registration is done on iTune for the purchase of audio. Then  a “user key” is generated, this is sent to Apple server and iTunes too. In the iTunes it is stored in encrypted form. Whenever a music is played then this user key decrypt the Master Key then Master Key decrypt the content and start playing it.

For Safari browser FairPlay is used as Content Decryption Module (CDM).

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Working Of FairPlay DRM

FairPlay DRM working

(1) In this step a request is generated by the Apple’s app to play the content from AV Foundation Framework as shown above in the figure.

(2) Then AV Foundation Framework download the Manifest file m3u8. This manifest file is having the content key.

(3) Now a key is request by the AV Foundation Media Frame from Frame Delegate.

(4) Now a response is give back to AV Foundation Framework to start a request from FairPlay Streaming Server.

(5) Now a playback content is sent to Key Server.

(6) Here key security module is used for the content. Also a content key is found by the key server.

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(7) Now Key Security Module applies the founded content key.

(8) Now AV Foundation delegate provide the key to AV Foundation Framework.

(9) Finally after decryption process, a decrypted content is played by the device.


FairPlay DRM is a Apple technology to protect the content from un-authorised users. It is used for Apple Devices like iPhone, iPad and safari browser on the desktop . It is easily integrated with Apple AirPlay. Power consumption of mobiles is also considered in it. There is no extra cost for this by Apple Developers.

Know More About  Google’s Widevine DRM

reference : apple & encoding

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