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Apple finally adds full support for web apps including push notifications on iOS and iPadOS

Apple iOS Web apps notifications

Apple Safari on iOS and iPadOS already allowed users to add any website to their Home Screen by tapping the Share button and then tapping “Add to Home Screen”. Once done, the website icon appears on their Home Screen. Tapping the icon will open the website on Safari browser. This user experience has not changed for almost a decade. If you do similar operation on Android or Windows, you can receive notifications from websites, also notification badges will be displayed on the icon when a notification is received.

Today, with the release of iOS and iPadOS 16.4 beta 1, Apple is catching up with Android and Windows devices. Apple Safari now supports Web Push that will allow web developers to send push notifications to their users using Push API, Notifications API, and Service Workers all working together.

Here’s how it works:

  • A web app that has been added to the Home Screen can request permission to receive push notifications as long as that request is in response to direct user interaction — such as tapping on a ‘subscribe’ button provided by the web app.
  • iOS or iPadOS will then prompt the user to give the web app permission to send notifications. Once allowed, the user can manage those permissions per web app in Notifications Settings — just like any other app on iPhone and iPad.

The notifications sent by web apps work exactly like notifications from other native apps.

Apart from notifications support, Apple added support for following in the latest Safari update in iOS and iPadOS 16.4 beta 1:

  • Screen Wake Lock API
  • Third-party browser support for Add to Home Screen
  • Badging API
  • Screen Orientation API
  • User Activation API
  • Web Codecs API video support
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