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iOS Web Push Notifications: Future Trends and Developments

Angela Stringfellow

Last updated on

Web push notifications grab users’ attention and bring them into your online experience—but these notifications are much more than just little pop-ups. Web push notifications are becoming smarter, more interactive, and essential to your users’ daily digital diets.

However, tech changes often, so it’s critical for both marketers and developers to stay on top of the latest developments. Recent trends are transforming push notifications from simple alerts into sophisticated, interactive tools that redefine how users interact with your brand.

From advancements in personalization to better integrations, the future is bright—and potentially buzzing with new notifications.

Apple introduced support for web push notifications with the release of iOS 16.4, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for businesses, particularly those operating with a web-first business model. In this guide, we’ll break down the most compelling iOS web push notification trends of 2024 and offer tips to help you make the most of them.

In this article:

Restrictions in the EU

iOS device on an open tablet or journal
Photo by Jonathan Robles from Pexels

iOS users have always been able to add app-like shortcuts to websites on their device’s home screen, but those web apps were not able to send notifications or show notification badges until recently, with the release of iOS 16.4 in March 2023 (the first beta of Safari 16.4 was released in February 2023).

For iOS users in the European Union (EU), however, these new capabilities were short-lived. In February 2024—Less than one year after the release of iOS.4—Apple announced that Home Screen web apps (also known as Progressive Web Apps or PWAs) will no longer be supported for EU users with the release of iOS 17.4.

TechCrunch reports that, according to Apple, this decision was necessary to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Typically, web apps were aligned with the same privacy and security models as native apps, as support was built directly on Safari’s browser engine (WebKit) and its underlying security architecture.

The DMA requires Apple to allow alternative browser engines, which doesn’t allow the enforcement of the rules that apply to WebKit-based web apps—at least not without building new integration architecture from scratch.

This opens users up to potential security risks, such as malicious apps that can read data or gain access to other device features without the user’s consent. So, in order to comply with the DMA’s requirements, Apple removed support for PWAs for iOS users in the EU. 

Developers and companies can still take advantage of the ability to send iOS web push notifications. However, in doing so, it’s important to keep in mind that these notifications won’t reach or engage users in the EU.

Innovative Formats

Text-based alerts get the message across to your users but aren’t very engaging. Fortunately, more interactive multimedia elements are becoming available for iOS web push notifications.

These elements allow developers to think beyond text and create innovative push notifications. Imagine notifications with mini-games, polls, and even short videos.

Start experimenting with rich media and interactive elements in your notifications. As always, keep an eye on user feedback and test everything thoroughly to ensure your notifications render correctly.

Apple’s Shifting Focus

iOS device with notifications on the lock screen
Photo by Jamie Street from Unsplash

iOS web push notifications depend heavily on Apple updates and policies. It’s tricky, but developers need to strike a balance between convenience and disruption while being as unobtrusive as possible.

Pay close attention to all Apple updates and guidelines, as the company is shifting towards a personalized user experience that doesn’t jeopardize user privacy or freedom. With that in mind, lean toward designing notifications that respect data privacy laws and the user’s context while also being catchy.

Better Integrations

The rumor mill is abuzz with talk about future integrations with iOS features, like augmented reality (AR) and Siri. Imagine receiving a notification that seamlessly connects with AR for shopping or Siri for instant, voice-activated responses.

This opens up a world of possibilities for personalized and contextually relevant user experiences.

The rumor mill is often correct about upcoming iOS trends, so consider how your site will leverage these integrations. Start by exploring the existing APIs and familiarizing yourself with how they work.

AI and Machine Learning-Powered Personalization

Welcome back login screen, personalization
Photo by Mojahid Mottakin from Unsplash

Personalization normally takes a lot of hands-on effort, but AI and machine learning make it possible to personalize at scale. This trend can significantly boost user engagement without hands-on effort from your team.

AI delivers content based on user behavior and preferences, often predicting users’ needs to deliver timely notifications.

Of course, the key is to avoid being too intrusive or annoying. Watch your notification frequency settings to avoid over-contacting users.

This trend also requires a lot of user data, so if you don’t have enough information to train an AI algorithm, start collecting first-party data now. The more data you have to train the AI, the more effective your iOS web push notifications will be.

Strict Data Usage Policies

There are plenty of positive trends on the horizon, although this trend will likely make things trickier for developers. As more consumers are conscious about their personal data security, Apple—and all companies, for that matter—are increasingly focusing on user privacy.

Stricter data usage policies will affect how you write and send notifications. Be cautious about the data you collect and use, and always follow Apple guidelines and applicable industry and regional regulations, like CCPA or GDPR.

iOS Notifications: What’s Next?

Web push notifications are a great way to engage with users, especially if you don’t have a native app. However, these notifications can do more than alert users about upcoming sales. Leverage up-and-coming iOS web push notification trends to boost engagement and give your users the one-on-one experiences they crave.

You don’t have to do this alone, either. MagicBell is a real-time notification inbox that allows multi-channel delivery wherever your users are: checking their email, reading Slack messages, or reading browser push notifications.

See the MagicBell difference firsthand: create your free account now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do web push notifications differ from app push notifications?

iOS web push notifications go through a web browser on an iOS device. On the other hand, app push notifications are sent from an app installed on a user’s device. Web push notifications allow websites to send user notifications even when the browser isn’t actively open, giving businesses a broader reach without the need for a native app.

Can you personalize iOS web push notifications based on user location?

Yes, as long as the user authorizes it. If the user opts in, location data will give you more contextually relevant notifications. You can send location-based alerts about local events or location-specific coupons and offers, giving users a better overall experience.

How do iOS updates affect web push notifications?

iOS updates have a big impact on web push notifications. The biggest changes usually come from user privacy, data processing, and notification features. Developers must stay updated on the latest iOS changes to ensure their notifications comply with new policies and technical capabilities.