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iOS Push Notifications: Are we there yet? (Hint:Almost) [2020]

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iOS Push Notifications: Are we there yet? (Hint:Almost) [2020]

iPhone users account for more than 45% of all smartphone users in the United States, and the number is just growing. All the leading browsers with the exception of Safari on iOS support service workers and web push API. While Safari does support push notifications on Mac OS, there is no green signal for web push notification on iOS yet.

But there is finally a workaround to reach out to your users on iOS. Messenger push notifications give you the luxury to reach out to users on iOS and engage with them (similar to the classic web push notifications).

One of the most frequently asked questions by developers is when would they get push notification iOS (iPhones and iPads). They have been waiting for iOS push notifications since Chrome extended web push API, back in April 2015.

"After almost 2.5 years of Chrome releasing support for Service worker, Apple changed the status of Service Worker from being Considered to being under development. Jake Archibald first reported." 

The status of the Service Worker has now changed from 'Supported in Preview ' to 'Supported'.

WebKit service worker status

Web Push Notifications have clearly made difference in every marketing campaign it gets involved in. The Wider impact is because of almost all the browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, UC Browser now support Web Push Notifications and Service Workers.

Device-browser-os-supporting web-push-notifications

Service workers

Web Push Notifications essentially requires Service Workers. The image below shows how delayed iOS Safari is in terms of applying the Service Workers.

web push notifications service worker iOS

As you can see, Safari iOS has finally supported service workers in iOS 11.3. But what is on hold, is their support for Web Push Notifications. So push notification iOS is currently not available.

iOS the reluctant one

iOS prefers to live within its own closed walls of its palace. Hence it is very selective even when it comes to supporting apps. First and foremost not all apps are available for iOS. The ones that are, need to be registered with the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). They have to be manually opted for receiving push notifications. On other android phones, it is the bonus of the marketer to make people opt-in.

iOS has its own sets of rules and a long pre-review checklist for accepting app's push notifications which app developers must abide by. But now, Progressive Web Apps is supported on iOS! Which means that you can now install apps without the stringent app store approval. 

iOS push notifications - Final word

Even though it has started supporting service workers, it doesn't support Web Push Notifications yet. But there is a ray of hope with the support of service workers. 

For now, Safari only supports push notification on Mac. After the release of Chrome 63, Chrome web push notifications are displayed on native Mac OS notification system. Hopefully, push notification iOS will come out in a few years as mentioned in the 5-year plan at the WebKit contributors meeting, 2015.

Here are some additional handy resources around the status of iOS push notifications:

Update # 1 - Webkit team has started development on web app manifest. Latest status here.

Update # 2 - Webkit team now supports service workers, but sadly there is no Push API. Details here and here.


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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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