sp_setapprole (Transact-SQL)

Applies to: SQL Server Azure SQL Database

Activates the permissions associated with an application role in the current database.

Transact-SQL syntax conventions


    [ @rolename = ] N'rolename'
    , [ @password = ] N'password'
    [ , [ @encrypt = ] 'encrypt' ]
    [ , [ @fCreateCookie = ] fCreateCookie ]
    [ , [ @cookie = ] cookie OUTPUT ]
[ ; ]


[ @rolename = ] N'rolename'

The name of the application role defined in the current database. @rolename is sysname, with no default. @rolename must exist in the current database.

[ @password = ] { encrypt N'password' }

The password required to activate the application role. @password is sysname, with no default. @password can be obfuscated by using the ODBC encrypt function. When you use the encrypt function, the password must be converted to a Unicode string by placing N before the first quotation mark.

The encrypt option isn't supported on connections that use SqlClient.


The ODBC encrypt function doesn't provide encryption. You shouldn't rely on this function to protect passwords that are transmitted over a network. If this information will be transmitted across a network, use TLS or IPSec.

[ @encrypt = ] { 'none' | 'odbc' }

Specifies the encryption type before sending the password to the SQL Server Database Engine. @encrypt is varchar(10), and can be one of these values.

Value Description
none (default) Specifies that no obfuscation is used. The password is passed to SQL Server as plain text.
odbc Specifies that ODBC obfuscates the password by using the ODBC encrypt function before sending the password to the SQL Server Database Engine. This value can be specified only when you're using either an ODBC client or the OLE DB Provider for SQL Server.

[ @fCreateCookie = ] { 'true' | 'false' }

Specifies whether a cookie is to be created. @fCreateCookie is bit, with a default of 0.

true is implicitly converted to 1. false is implicitly converted to 0.

Specifies an output parameter to contain the cookie. @cookie is an OUTPUT parameter of type varbinary(8000). The cookie is generated only if the value of @fCreateCookie is true.


Although the current implementation returns varbinary(50), applications should reserve the documented varbinary(8000), so that the application continues to operate correctly if the cookie return size increases in a future release.

Return code values

0 (success) and 1 (failure).


After an application role is activated by using sp_setapprole, the role remains active until the user either disconnects from the server or executes sp_unsetapprole. You can't use sp_setapprole within another stored procedure, trigger or within a user-defined transaction. It can only be executed as direct Transact-SQL statements.

For an overview of application roles, see Application Roles.

You should always use an encrypted connection when enabling an application role, to protect the application role password when you transmit it over a network.

The Microsoft ODBC encrypt option isn't supported by SqlClient. If you must store credentials, encrypt them with the crypto API functions. The parameter @password is stored as a one-way hash. To preserve compatibility with earlier versions of SQL Server, sp_addapprole doesn't enforce the password complexity policy. To enforce the password complexity policy, use CREATE APPLICATION ROLE.


Requires membership in public and knowledge of the password for the role.


A. Activate an application role without the encrypt option

The following example activates an application role named SalesAppRole, with the plain-text password AsDeF00MbXX, created with permissions designed for the application used by the current user.

EXEC sys.sp_setapprole 'SalesApprole', 'AsDeF00MbXX';

The following example activates the Sales11 application role with password fdsd896#gfdbfdkjgh700mM, and creates a cookie. The example returns the name of the current user, and then reverts to the original context by executing sp_unsetapprole.

DECLARE @cookie VARBINARY(8000);

EXEC sys.sp_setapprole 'Sales11',
    @fCreateCookie = true,
    @cookie = @cookie OUTPUT;

The application role is now active. USER_NAME() returns the name of the application role, Sales11.


Unset the application role.

EXEC sys.sp_unsetapprole @cookie;

The application role is no longer active. The original context is restored. USER_NAME() returns the name of the original user.