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Apple Push Notification Service

4 Best Practices for iOS PWA Push Notifications

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

Unlike typical mobile apps, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are websites that behave like native mobile apps. This unusual setup has one big advantage: websites and web applications can send push notifications like apps. These notifications give you a direct line of communication with users, simplifying customer relationship-building at scale.

PWAs are an innovative solution that keeps you in touch with your end-users, but following best practices will help you make the most of this setup. In this guide, we’ll explore what they are and share best practices for iOS PWA push notifications to help you create effective notifications that turn heads.

In this article:

What Are iOS PWA Push Notifications?

iOS devices
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic from Unsplash

iOS PWA push notifications are messages from a Progressive Web App, displayed on an iOS device. Unlike traditional native app notifications, these are associated with web applications that combine the flexibility of the web with the features of an app.

These notifications appear on users' devices even when the web app is not actively open, providing a seamless and integrated user experience. Brands use iOS PWA push notifications for a variety of reasons, including:

  • User re-engagement: Push notifications bring iOS users back to the PWA by notifying them about new content, updates, messages, sales, and more.
  • Timely alerts: PWAs can send notifications about time-sensitive events or transactions, similar to native apps.
  • Marketing: Businesses rely on PWAs to deepen customer relationships without being too intrusive.

The trick is finding a way to work with Apple’s requirements for PWA push notifications. Developers must stay on top of Apple’s support and updates to the Safari browser and iOS system. Because of that, it isn’t unusual for developers to look for workarounds to send iOS push notifications, especially after Apple updates.

One Caveat: PWAs Are Not Supported in the EU

The back of an iOS device
Photo by Marc-André Julien from Unsplash

Before we get into the best practices for creating effective iOS PWA push notifications, we need to talk about a significant caveat. In February 2024, Apple announced that it has removed Home Screen web apps (PWAs) for iOS users in the European Union (EU) in the iOS 17.4 release. This move was necessary, the company says, to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

“Apple supports PWAs in iOS through WebKit, the company's proprietary browser engine that's primarily used in its Safari browser. Under the DMA, Apple would be required to allow for home screen web apps built-upon alternative web browsers – without the need for Safari or WebKit,” Mashable explains. “Apple claims that this could result in malicious web apps gaining access to users' devices, so the company has opted to remove PWA-support entirely.”

Users in the EU can still open Home Screen web apps, but they’ll have to open them within a browser window rather than as a stand-alone app. Another blow is that opening PWAs within a browser means those apps won’t have certain functions, most notably push notifications.

What does this mean for developers? When designing iOS PWA push notifications, it’s important to keep in mind that they won’t reach iOS users in the EU.

4 Best Practices for Creating Effective Push Notifications in iOS PWA

Hand holding an iOS device
Photo by Bagus Hernawan from Unsplash

Action is the ultimate goal of a push notification. iOS PWA push notifications require a careful balance of art and technical skill to display your message correctly and to persuade subscribers to re-engage with your website.

Following these tips will enable you to craft more effective push notifications for iOS users.

1. Understand Your Audience

Some users might welcome frequent push notifications, while others prefer once-monthly alerts. So, how can you keep everyone happy?

The key is audience intel. Analyze user data to understand preferences, behaviors, and patterns. Tailor notifications to fit the interests and needs of your audience, not only in terms of frequency but also content. Each notification should offer something valuable to the user, whether information, a discount, a reminder, or entertainment.

Chances are, you’re targeting more than one type of user with your push notifications. If that’s the case, try segmenting your audience and tailor notifications to each audience segment. This makes it easier to personalize content based on each group’s expectations and preferences.

2. Optimize Sending Frequency

Timing is everything, especially with push notifications. You might think a sale is urgent, but reminding users about a lightning sale five times a day is a bit much. Always set messaging caps to prevent the system from sending excessive notifications. This is the number one reason users unsubscribe from push notifications, so respect their time and only send a message when it truly matters.

3. Tweak Your Messaging

The back-end setup of your iOS PWA push notification campaign matters, but the meat of the message is also important. Users won’t see your sending rules or segmentation lists, but they will see your messaging, so it needs to be on point.

Keep your notifications short, clear, and to the point. Users should understand the message at a glance. Always include a simple call to action (CTA) in the push notification that tells users what to do next.

If users aren’t engaging with your web push notifications, try personalizing your messages. Pull in user data to write more relevant messages and boost user engagement. If website engagement is what you’re going for, add deep links in your notifications to direct users to specific pages or actions within your PWA.

4. Test, Test, and Test Again

Push notifications deserve just as much testing as email, blogs, and social media campaigns. Continuously test different notification styles, frequencies, and timing. Push notification analytics will tell you what is and isn’t working, helping you create more refined campaigns over time.

Designing Experiences Beyond the Notification Bell

It takes a careful blend of art and science to develop effective iOS PWA push notifications. By understanding your audience, personalizing content, and respecting user preferences, you’ll create notifications that capture attention and deliver value.

The ultimate goal of push notifications is to authentically connect with your users in an integrated way. Following the best practices in this guide will put you in your users’ shoes and help you write more relevant, actionable push notifications that build relationships.

Need help implementing push notifications? Go with MagicBell. To easily test your iOS PWA push notifications for free, check out

Frequently Asked Questions

Are iOS PWAs more limited than native apps?

In some ways, yes. PWA push notifications are a great middle-ground between a website and a native app, although they have limited customization. iOS privacy and security policies also make it difficult to track user data.

How do I test iOS PWA push notifications?

Always run through different scenarios when you test push notifications. Look at different user states (active, inactive, and offline) and device settings. iOS does have some limitations, so consider using browser-based emulators and real-device testing to understand the user experience better. Visit for a demo of standards-based web-push notifications on all platforms, including iOS.

Can I manage push notifications for iOS PWA with a third-party service?

Yes. Services like MagicBell provide more features and analytics that you might not be able to get natively through the basic PWA setup.