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Web push notifications on iPhone and iPad are finally here – but you still need a PWA to use them

Apple has just enabled web push notifications for Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) in iOS & iPadOS 16.4 beta 1. The release is still in beta, but you can start testing the feature right now.

Web push notifications were one of the few things that you couldn’t do without an app on iOS. To get them working, you need to add the web page to your iOS Home screen and approve push notifications.

Google has supported web pushing and other PWA features on Android for years, so you could say it’s about time.

Safari 16.4 Beta brought web push notifications to PWAs on iOS Home screens.

While Apple has never publicly used the term ‘PWA’, they’ve been supporting the technologies to make PWAs installable and offline-capable on Safari for iPhones and iPads with limited features since 2018.

PWAs offer a compelling alternative to traditional web apps and native mobile apps, with benefits including improved user experience, increased engagement, greater reach, lower development costs and improved discoverability.

There are still limitations in iOS. For example, web apps can only store offline data and files totaling a maximum of 50 MB. They don’t have access to some hardware features, such as Bluetooth, and they can’t execute code while in the background (Background Sync).

Ready to support push notifications on your PWA?

PWAs have several benefits, including SEO friendliness, ease of maintenance, effective security and many more, and will soon include push notifications in iOS as well.

According to Statista’s 2021 study, around 17% of North American and European e-commerce companies planning on investing in PWAs will introduce them or have already done so and 28% are still evaluating the matter.

You can boost your user engagement with push notifications. But the most important thing is to use them wisely and in a way that benefits the user. I also recommend reading my colleague Aija Malmioja’s article Notifications are better than ever. But don’t push it. to help you plan your best push notification strategy.

To start using web push notifications, you obviously first need to have a PWA. When you have a PWA and a plan on how to use web push notifications, all you need is the technical implementation.

What’s your status with PWAs and web push notifications strategy? We’d be more than happy to continue the discussion and do a demo or POC for your needs. Feel free to contact us!

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Illustration: Midjourney AI