Community, Engineering

APN’s and iOS Notification Center Management

Mar 09, 2022
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APN’s  and iOS Notification Center Management

What are APNs?

Apple Push Notification service (APNs) is a cloud service that allows approved third-party apps installed on Apple devices to send push notifications from a remote server to users over a secure connection. For example, a news application like CNN might use APNs to send a text alert to an iPhone user about a breaking news story. It might also apply a numerical badge to the app’s icon, informing the user how many stories are waiting.

Why Not Just Use Pull Notifications?

Push notifications are popular on mobile devices, with almost every app having a form of notification or not. With pull notifications, mobile apps are required to continually poll the developer’s server, connecting every few minutes to determine if new information is available. With push notifications, however, the cloud service acts on behalf of the app and only connects to the mobile device when there are new notifications. If the device is powered on but the app is not running, the service will still forward the notification. If the device is powered off when a notification is sent, the service will hold on to the message and try again later.

How Do I Set Up APNs?

To receive APNs push notifications, the app must be configured properly and registered with the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs). The service delivers notifications through an application programming interface (API) that is included in all iOS and Mac OS X devices. Apple first introduced APNs in June 2009 with iOS 3 for the iPhone. A Notification Center, which was first included in 2012 with the release of iOS 5, allows users to manage and read notifications in one place. Setting up Push Notifications in Your Application Now that we have a clear knowledge of what APNs is and what they can do, now it’s time to see how you would go about implementing them in your application. As with anything having to do with iOS, the official reference point is the Apple Developer Documentation. Refer to that in the case of any questions.

APNs make use of certificate-based authentication, meaning a certificate must be issued by Apple before you can establish a secure connection between your app’s server and APNs. This certificate must be obtained through a developer account.

Steps Required to Obtain a Certificate from Apple

After these steps are undertaken, you should have a certificate. Install both the certificate and the private key (the CSR) on your provider server.

The above is a short description of the Apple Push Notification service. If you need more information, check out the Apple Developer Documentation

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