Safari Push Notifications: Everything you need to know

Web push notifications for Safari were introduced in OS X Maverick. The Apple Push Notification Service is used to send precise and clickable messages to your website users on their Mac desktop, even when the Safari browser is not running. Safari push notifications work the same way as app push notifications. They display your website […]

Web push notifications for Safari were introduced in OS X Maverick. The Apple Push Notification Service is used to send precise and clickable messages to your website users on their Mac desktop, even when the Safari browser is not running. Safari push notifications work the same way as app push notifications. They display your website icon and notification text, which users can click to go straight to your website.

An important point to note is that push notifications can be sent to Safari on a Mac rather than an iPhone. But don’t worry, there is an alternative.

 

There are two types of website notification:

  • Safari Push Notifications, an Apple-exclusive technology that is triggered remotely via the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs). These are delivered to customers when Safari is not open.
  • Local notifications, set by a W3C standard and triggered locally using JavaScript. These can lead to notifications being displayed as long as the website is in an open tab.

 

This article is essentially about the Safari push notifications.

To integrate push notifications into your website, you first present a user interface through which the user can register to receive notifications. If the user agrees, Safari will contact your website and request their credentials in the form of a file called a push package. The push package also contains notification resources that are used in OS X and data that is used to communicate with a web service that you have configured. If the push packet is valid, you will be given a unique identifier for the user on the device, known as a device token. The user receives the notification when you send the combination of this device token and your message or payload to APNs.

After receiving the notification, the user can click on it to open a webpage of their choice in Safari.

 

Managing notifications: deactivation

Wondering how to stop notifications in Safari? By default, users visiting websites that have Safari push notifications enabled see a banner at the top of the window the first time they visit the website. Here, the user can choose whether notifications should be allowed from the website. These notifications appear as the default notifications for the Notification Center when the page publishes new content or manually sends a notification, including the appearance of a banner in the upper right corner of the screen and an entry in the Notification Center.

Web notifications look and work like any other notification. Its appearance can be adjusted by the user in the system settings so that it is displayed as a temporary banner that disappears by itself, or as a warning that must be clicked to close.

The user can also turn off notifications across the service or system using “Do Not Disturb”, a feature introduced in iOS 6 that appears in OS X Mavericks on the Mac. As on mobile devices, users can set “Do Not Disturb” to turn off incoming notifications for a specified period of time, for example when the screen is asleep or during presentations.

 

What you should know about push notifications from Apple

With the opening of the App Store in 2008, Apple announced that it would set up a central push notification service with which apps can react to updates from external services without having to remain active in the background, constantly “listening” and using the battery.

However, Apple grossly underestimated the overwhelming demand for apps and push notifications, kicking the company back to the drawing board after a stress test beta program involving the Associated Press and other app developers, and delayed rolling out push notifications on iOS 3.0.

In 2010, Apple brought push notifications to the Mac as an API, first to support FaceTime notifications and then more generally as a public API in OS X Lion 2011.

You can easily choose whether you want notifications to appear as banners, warnings, or not at all. You can also view them on the lock screen and control how many recent items are shown in the Safari Notification Center.

 

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