Safari on Mac, iPhone and iPad will allow web notifications

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Apple’s Safari web browser has lagged behind on some features in recent years, especially with background services. After years of waiting, it looks like Safari will finally support web push notifications on all platforms.

Following today’s WWDC event, Apple published a post on the WebKit Blog explaining what’s new in Safari 16 Beta. Perhaps the most surprising addition is support for Web Push, which already works in the beta version of macOS Ventura. The feature will allow websites and web applications to send push notifications, even when they are not open.

“Web Push is coming to Safari 16 on macOS Ventura,” Apple said in the blog post. “This allows you to remotely push notifications to users of your websites and web applications, and deliver those notifications even when Safari isn’t running. It uses the same combination of web standards you may be familiar with in other browsers: Push API and Notifications API, along with Service Worker.

Chrome push notification on Windows 11
Chrome web push notification on Windows 11

Similar to Firefox, Safari will only allow a website to display a message to enable notifications after you’ve interacted with the page; for example, you won’t see the popup right after a page loads, but you might see one after you. click a link or button. That won’t prevent pages from displaying buttons on the page to enable notifications, but it will prevent Safari from spamming you.

Safari on macOS has technically supported push notifications since Mac OS X 10.9, but Safari notifications worked differently than other browsers’ push notifications: sites had to sign up for a paid Apple developer license, and the technology for sending alerts was not similar in absolute. This new implementation uses the same push standard that all other browsers use, and sites don’t have to pay for Apple developer accounts to provide notifications to visitors.

Importantly, Apple says Web Push will come to iPhone and iPad sometime in 2023. That’s a massive win for web apps on Apple mobile devices: You can always use alternative browsers on Mac if you need push notifications, but Apple doesn’t allow third-party browser engines on iPhone and iPad. Web Push will make Progressive Web Apps better than ever on iPhone and iPad, as long as Apple doesn’t introduce weird limitations or missing features.

Source: WebKit Blog