Push notifications are the most efficient and fastest way for publishers to reach out to their readers. These notifications have been pretty straightforward to enable and access on the desktop and on Android smartphones. However, iOS didn’t offer this ability. Things have changed now and Apple has introduced Safari push notifications in iOS 16.4.
So, why should you care you ask? A significant chunk of website visitors use an Apple iPhone, and can now be reached via push notifications. According to StatCounter, iPhones account for 28% market share globally, now that’s a healthy chunk of the audience you can reach out to. If you are a US-based news publisher, the metrics are completely different. In the US, iOS accounts for over a whopping 56% market share followed by Android at 42%. If iPhone users are a sizeable chunk of your audience, here is how you can help them receive push notifications on their smartphones.
Enabling Safari Push Notifications on iOS
If you want to reach out to your audience on iOS devices such as the iPhone and the iPad, you will need them to enable Push API in Safari settings and then add your website to their home screen. I’ll break this down into two steps.
Enable Push API on Safari
For readers to receive push notifications they need to enable the Push API toggle in Safari settings. This is a one-time step and isn’t required to be done for every website.
- Go to Settings and then scroll down to Safari.
- Click Advanced and then Experimental Features
- The reader has to switch on the Push API toggle.
The user is now ready to receive push notifications on Safari. They now have to add your website to get notifications.
Follow these steps to get users to get your readers to add your website to their home screen.
- The reader must use the Safari browser on an Apple iPhone running iOS 16.4 or above.
- In Safari, get them to click the Share button and scroll down to the Add to home screen option.
- Users can then save the app to their home screen.
- Once the app is on their home screen they can now click it to access your website.
- They need to click subscribe, followed by accepting the default iOS prompt for notifications.
- All done, your subscriber can now receive notifications on their iPhone.
This is a complex process and will need you to handhold your reader through this process. For starters, you can add a banner on the website prompting iPhone users to enable push notifications. You can reach out to your repeat users using an iPhone first since they are more likely to be willing to go through this entire process. They are your loyal users after all.
Getting your readers to add your website to the home screen is a big win in itself and is likely to increase repeat visits to your website.
You can try a bottom banner for Safari on iOS like the one we see here. Check it out on GitHub
We expect Apple to enable Push API by default on Safari opening up a new audience for news and media publishers to target. It's time to start reaching out to your audience on iOS devices right away.