Device Flow (OAuth 2.0 Device Authorization Grant)

Table of Contents

What is Device Flow?

RFC 8628 (OAuth 2.0 Device Authorization Grant) is a Proposed Standard, published by IETF in August 2019. It defines an authorization flow (Device Flow) to issue access tokens for API clients running on devices with no Web browsers and/or that have limited capability for inputting text, with end user consent.

How it Works

The device flow implies the following preconditions.

  • User can use devices with Web browsers (e.g. PC, smartphones, tablets)
  • Client (e.g. TV, appliances) is a device that can establish an outbound connection to the Internet
  • Authorization Server (e.g. streaming service providers) exposes Device Authorization Endpoint to clients

Here is an overview of the flow:

  1. Client (device) sends a device authorization request to device authorization endpoint in Authorization Server.
  2. Authorization Server replies a device authorization response to Client. The response contains the following main parameters:
    • user_code: a value to be submitted from User to Authorization Server.
    • device_code: a value for Client to send a token request to Authorization Server.
  3. Client presents user_code to User.
  4. The following processes run simultaneously.
    • Client sends a token request that includes device_code to Authorization Server. The same requests are periodically made (i.e. polling) to Authorization Server until an access token (or an error) is returned.
    • User goes to Authorization Server using an Web browser, authenticates itself, submits user_code and grants access to Client.
  5. Authorization Server verifies the user_code, issues an access token and sends a token response including the token against the token request that contains the device_code that corresponds to the user_code.

As a result of the flow above, Client obtains the access token for authorized API requests.

Authlete and Device Flow

Authlete version 2.1 and later support the device flow. Developers can simply implement their authorization servers that support the device flow, using the following newly added or enhanced Authlete APIs.

  • /device/authorization API (New)
    • Processing a device authorization request. After an authorization server receives the request from a client, it forwards the content of the request as a value to this API. Authlete inspects the content. If it is valid, Authlete creates another content of a device authorization response and send it back to the authorization server. The authorization server passes the device authorization response back to the client.
  • /device/verification API (New)
    • Verifying user_code.
  • /device/complete API (New)
    • Processing approval/denial of the ongoing device flow. The processing result affects a response from /auth/token API.
  • /auth/token API (Enhanced)
    • Processing token requests. It is enhanced to support grant_type=urn:ietf:params:oauth:grant-type:device_code and corresponding device_code parameter.

You can manage settings for the device flow using Service Owner Console.

Detailed Information