What are the differences and similarities between iPhone and Android push notifications?

Promatics Technologies
Published on Jun 20, 2018 in App Development
What are the differences and similarities between iPhone and Android push notifications?

Push notifications are an important part of the mobile experience. They can be defined as well structured messages that provide users with latest updates, notifications, alerts and other information. Although the main aim of push notifications is to keep users updated with the latest information, they work in a different way in different operating systems.

We all know that Android and iOS are the major players in the mobile app industry. Each mobile operating system has its own service to improve an app’s retention. As every app have its own user base, it is important that the push notifications are customized as per customer requirements.

When it comes to sending a push notification, companies take a different approach. In a survey, it was found that Smartphone users get 45 push notifications on average. It is a must for marketers to keep in mind the difference between iOS and Android push notifications. There is definitely a different engagement rate on iOS and Android.

Push notifications are not very different in iPhone and Android. Let’s explore the subtle differences and similarities between Android and iOS push notifications.

How to set up push notifications?

There is an increasing demand for both iOS and Android smartphones. When it comes to managing the push notifications, there are some differences. It is very easy to set up push notifications on both Android and iOS.

On the contrary, if you are an Android user - Go to the Apps and Notifications from the Settings icon. Open the app you want to modify and press on the icon for a few seconds. You will get a list of actions and notifications. There is also an info icon that lets users access the app settings.

If you are an iOS user, go to settings and then open Notifications. Check the installed apps to find your app. You can choose from different options like – no notifications, allow notifications, etc. You are allowed to choose if you want notifications to disappear automatically or be on the screen until it is manually dismissed.

Know about the behavior of push notifications

Well, people react to push notifications in a different way in Android and iOS. Understanding this difference will help businesses benchmark their open rates in a better way. After extensive research and study of push notifications sent in the year 2017, it was found that an Android user opens more notifications than the average iOS user.

The main reason is that the push notifications appear repeatedly on lock screen with a sticky icon on the home screen. On the contrary, the push notifications are kept hidden in the notification center. This existing difference causes iOS users to open push notifications quickly. When it comes to iOS users, there are more chances of open interaction compared to Android users.

This is the difference between how both platforms handle notifications when the device is locked. Now, let’s see the difference when the user installs a new app on their phone.

Android push notifications

When a user installs an app, they can select if they want the app to send notifications. If the user doesn’t want notifications, they have to take several steps to opt-out of getting messages. The best way is to allow the app to send push notifications.

When you unlock the phone, both operating systems have their own way of getting notifications. The notifications appear on locked screen for Android. In fact, they are prominent on Android when the screen is locked. The push notifications should be cleared from the notification center. When you unlock the Android phone, they can see the notification icon tray on the top row of the screen. You can swipe down to see the integrated panel of notification as well as controls.

When the phone is unlocked and a push notification happens, Android users can choose to view the message, dismiss the message, respond to the notification and even “snooze” the message for some time.

What are the differences and similarities between iPhone and Android push notifications?

iOS push notifications

When an iOS user installs an app there is no option to decide whether the user wants notifications or not. During onboarding, the iOS users are explained why they need to choose push notifications. The notifications are not seen when an iOS device is locked.

When the iOS phone is unlocked, you can swipe up to see the controls available and wipe down to see the recent notifications. However, users either find it hard to remember this or ignore this feature of iOS. The notifications are cleared from the screen as soon as the iOS device is unlocked. However, they remain visible in the notification center.

When the phone is unlocked and the users get a push notification, they can perform all the actions of Android device, except “snooze” the message. iPhone app developers claim they do not miss this feature much though, as it serves little purpose.


From the above discussion, we can say that push notifications are handled in a different way in both Android and iOS. Although the difference is minimal, it has a great impact on user experience. It’s not a surprise that the difference in push notification impacts the user experience. Android comes out on the top, as Android users are more likely to open push notifications than iOS users.

As we all know, one size doesn’t fit all. You must choose the platform to send push notifications based on your target audience, type of business and geographical location. Before you choose a platform, try different approaches. Do all the things that make push notifications a powerful part of you’re messaging to Android and iOS users.

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About the author
Promatics Technologies
Promatics Technologies
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Promatics is a young, rising software development agency from India. They have wide expertise ready to take on the most demanding projects on web and mobile app development, e-commerce, digital marketing, cloud solutions, quality assurance and IT consulting. In the mobile field, they have expert app developers ready to work on Android, iOS, HTML5 and wearables projects.

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