This is a category applied to NSData that I wrote. It returns a hexadecimal NSString representing the NSData, where the data can be any length. Returns an empty string if NSData is empty.


#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>

@interface NSData (NSData_Conversion)

#pragma mark - String Conversion
- (NSString *)hexadecimalString;



#import "NSData+Conversion.h"

@implementation NSData (NSData_Conversion)

#pragma mark - String Conversion
- (NSString *)hexadecimalString {
    /* Returns hexadecimal string of NSData. Empty string if data is empty.   */

    const unsigned char *dataBuffer = (const unsigned char *)[self bytes];

    if (!dataBuffer)
        return [NSString string];

    NSUInteger          dataLength  = [self length];
    NSMutableString     *hexString  = [NSMutableString stringWithCapacity:(dataLength * 2)];

    for (int i = 0; i < dataLength; ++i)
        [hexString appendString:[NSString stringWithFormat:@"%02lx", (unsigned long)dataBuffer[i]]];

    return [NSString stringWithString:hexString];



NSData *someData = ...;
NSString *someDataHexadecimalString = [someData hexadecimalString];

This is "probably" better than calling [someData description] and then stripping the spaces, <'s, and >'s. Stripping characters just feels too "hacky". Plus you never know if Apple will change the formatting of NSData's -description in the future.

NOTE: I have had people reach out to me about licensing for the code in this answer. I hereby dedicate my copyright in the code I posted in this answer to the public domain.