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Android vs. iOS Push Notifications: A Comparative Study

In 2020, push notifications subscribers constituted roughly 80% of the mobile users in the world. In other words, it’s hard to imagine a smartphone without push notifications today.

Admit it  – The smooth pull-down motion of the notification banner and the plethora of messages waiting for you to tap on them are part of the experience that completes your smartphone. 

However, the experience might slightly vary based on the operating system of your phone, viz. iOS and Android. It starts right from the way the push notifications are enabled all the way to their presence in the lock screen.

Now, if you’re planning to build an app (say for your business), and you wish to be present on only one of the two platforms (for some reason!), it is critical that you understand the differences between the two platforms on how they let users see and manage push notifications. After all, push notifications are the window to your customers.

Here are five prominent differences you can find in push notifications between the two platforms – 

#1 Notification Permission During Installation

When your app is installed onto your iPhone or Android phone, the two operating systems have two very different methods of getting (or not getting!) permission from the user to display notifications. 

Android

By default, Android allows push notifications for all apps installed on a user’s phone. However, users can always opt-out of receiving notifications from an app. But most casual users might not care enough to disable notifications manually.

iOS

iOS, on the other hand, requires user permission for displaying push notifications in every individual app that’s installed. This means notification access is blocked by default for all apps post-installation. 

Since push notifications are auto-enabled on Android, there are higher chances of reaching your app installers right away.

Notification Visibility on Home Screen

Notifications also have varying levels of visibility in the home screen between Android and iOS devices. 

Android

On the top left of the smartphone screen, Android will provide miniature icons showcasing which apps have notifications to be read. This is a way to let the users know that they have received notifications from your business without having to pull down the notification banner. 

iOS

iOS does not have any mechanism to display app notifications without letting the users access the notification banner. This significantly reduces visibility for your apps amongst iOS users, especially those who like to take a peek at notifications regularly. 

When it comes to notification visibility on the home screen, Android has the advantage for businesses looking to enjoy more visibility throughout the lifecycle of that notification.

Notification Prominence on Lock Screens

Another area where notifications are visible on both Android and iOS is the lock screen. Before the user unlocks their phone, there is a brief window where notifications take up the whole screen’s real estate and provide users with a way to view them.

Android

On Android, all notifications are shown on the lock screen by default. However, when you attempt to pull down any notification banner, you are asked to unlock the phone. To clear notifications, again, again, you need to unlock the phone. Android has always aimed to make all the notifications accessible at every screen so that the users don’t miss any important updates without compromising on security. 

iOS

In iOS, once the phone is unlocked, the notifications are cleared from the lock screen immediately. They’re only available in the notification center. This follows the usual trend of iOS displaying push notifications in a way where the user is encouraged to divide their time between using the phone and paying attention to the notifications when they’re ready. 

Notification Grouping

When an app sends multiple notifications, both iOS and Android group them together to make it very easy to view and act upon.

Android

In Android, multiple notifications from an app are grouped together into a single cluster, which can be expanded after pulling down the notification banner. This method saves a lot of screen space when the user wants to scroll through the notifications. At the same time, it allows expansion when the user wants to look into and respond to a single notification. 

iOS

Currently, iOS has a notification grouping feature that resembles Android’s own. This makes it a lot easier even for iOS users to browse through notifications.

With current Android and iOS versions, notification grouping is almost identical between the two operating systems, leaving no clear advantage or disadvantage between them. 

Interacting with Notifications

Here, iOS and Android are again very competitive, providing very little room for comparison. Both iOS and Android give very similar options when it comes to interacting with notifications. 

Android

Swiping downward can let you perform quick actions such as replying to a message or visiting the app. Additionally, when you want to dismiss a notification on Android, just swipe to the left or right unless the notification is designed to be persistent. 

iOS

When it comes to iOS quick actions, the user can swipe the notification card left or right, tap the View button, and then interact with it via provided quick actions. To dismiss a notification, a user can slide the notification to one side and then tap on the “Clear” button to remove it from the notification banner. 

Final Thoughts

Push notifications are an indispensable part of your marketing strategy to keep engaging with your customers. Understanding how iOS and Android handle push notifications can help manage your marketing strategy better.

When you build a mobile app with Vajro, you can effortlessly send push notifications to users on both iOS and Android devices without ever needing to learn how to code. While creating a push notification, you get to choose whether to send it to one of the platforms or to both.

Protip – In Vajro, you have the option to include videos in your push notifications created for iOS devices.

If you want to know more about all the advanced push notification features of Vajro, talk to us now! 

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