iOS 15.4 appears to suggest that Apple is working on adding support for push notifications for web apps but it isn’t working just yet.
Currently, only apps downloaded via the App Store can send people notifications. That severely limits the abilities offered by web apps and means that developers must get their apps into the App Store if they want to send users notifications. However, that looks like it could be changing in the future.
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Push Notifications coming to web apps (PWAs) on iOS is huge! Once this last barrier drops a lot of apps will migrate from the App Store to PWAs. Check out this great post (and image from @firt’s blog post) about the caveats and about changes to Safari in iOS 15.4 Beta 1. https://t.co/Ja1mSYDiAR pic.twitter.com/qa6gy3cYL2
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) January 31, 2022
Safari on macOS already supports this feature, however, it has been absent on the Cupertino company’s mobile operating system since its release. Enabling the relevant toggles in the experimental features of Safari doesn’t actually have any effect as of now. The feature is broken — which isn’t surprising at all, considering it’s still a first beta.
When working properly, the API will present a permission dialogue box to users asking if a website can indeed send them notifications.
As of iOS 15.4 beta 1, that dialogue isn’t being presented which means the notifications are blocked. That will change in the future, of course.
Giving web developers the chance to send notifications to users will help make web apps more able to compete with apps that are offered via the App Store, something that will no doubt help Apple’s claims that web apps are a viable option for developers.