What is push notification?

What is push notification?

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2021-09-24 10:03:09

In a world that is always connected thanks to the explosion of the internet today, we are constantly receiving incoming notifications on our phones, computers or even smart watches. There are many different types of notifications on electronic devices these days, but one term you’ve probably heard is “push notification”. So what are push notifications? What do they mean? Let’s find out right here.

Push Notification History

Push notifications – something we see every day on smartphones – seems to have originated in 2009. That’s when Apple started releasing a push notification service to iPhone developers.

It sounds strange, but how to receive notifications from an application that is not running in the background was a big problem with the smartphone ecosystem of the time. But the arrival of push notifications changed all that. iPhone users can get notifications about anything, from any app even if it’s not running in the background. This was really a new technology at the time.

Push notifications on the iPhone have become such a hot issue that there is an entire ecosystem of apps that follow this feature. Boxcar was a very popular application at that time, which was responsible for receiving push notifications for applications that did not yet support it. Smartphone users in the “infancy” at that time were really excited about the notifications that appeared on the phone completely automatically.

Android is of course not slow in this new technology. Google released its own service in 2010, providing push notifications to Android developers. And since then, push notifications have become an integral part of every phone/tablet ecosystem. Billions of notifications are being sent to devices every day.

What is push notification?

Basically, whenever you get a notification from an app on your phone it’s a push notification.

For example, when someone comments on an image you posted on Facebook and your phone’s screen lights up to show you a notification about it, this is a push notification. Or when you are about to have a scheduled event and receive a notification about it, this is also a push notification.

Push notifications

The way push notifications work sounds pretty simple, but there’s actually a lot going on in the background. When you install an app, its unique identifier is registered with the operating system’s push notification service. The app publisher also stores the subscription details.

These unique identifiers are what allow apps, devices, and operating systems to communicate securely with each other. Someone comments on your picture on Facebook, this information is sent to the server, then sent to the app on your phone and the operating system shows it again as a push notification.

There’s not just one type of push notification. In fact, both Apple and Google support their own forms of push notifications for iOS and Android. These are also the most common types of push notifications you see today.

Types of push notifications
Types of push notifications

Initial push notifications are extremely basic, showing only the name of the app and then you’ll tap it to open the app. But over time, they have been improved to show more detailed information and allow users to interact directly on the application. For example, you can read entire text messages and even reply to messages right on push notifications. Or you can archive emails from Gmail push notifications without opening the app. All have become much more user-friendly and convenient.

Push Notifications: iPhone and Android

There is a pretty big difference in how iPhone (iOS) and Android handle push notifications. iOS is an “opt-in” model, while Android is an “opt-out” model.

This means that when you install an app on your iPhone, you’ll be asked if you want to allow the app to send notifications to the device. On Android, apps can send notifications from scratch. You can just turn them off.

Android’s way of doing things may be more beneficial for application developers, but sometimes it will make users feel uncomfortable because notifications from many applications will automatically appear. Users will have to turn them off manually.

Above is the basic information about push notifications, hope it can help you!


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