OS X Mavericks preview: Website push notifications deliver updates without Safari

OS X Mavericks preview: Website push notifications

OS X Mavericks will introduce big changes to Notifications. Among them is the ability for web developers to send notifications to Mavericks users, so you can get up to date info from web sites without even running Safari.

OS X Mavericks' improvements to Notifications include new interactivity that lets you do more without breaking your stride. Another improvement to Notifications is on the developer side, and it makes it possible for you to receive updates from web sites without having Safari open, and without using an RSS reader.

Apple calls the new capability website push notifications. Here's what they have to say about them:

Keep users up-to-date with news and other alerts using Apple push notifications. Once users have signed up for notifications from your website in Safari, you can send them push notifications that appear just like Mac app notifications, even when Safari isn’t running. Users can then click on your push notification to launch your website.

The important thing to understand here is that you won't be deluged by every web site under the sun sending you notifications. The only ones that can do it are ones that have your permission. And the only web developers that can do it are registered with Apple, so you can be reasonably certain that they're not causing trouble.

Website push notification example

Once you've done it, though, you'll see web site notifications appear in the upper right hand corner of the screen along side any other system and app notifications. This will come in handy if you want to keep up on breaking news, sports scores, auction notifications and other kinds of content that might be time-sensitive.

Website push notifications have erroneously been reported elsewhere as the return of RSS to Safari - that isn't the case. RSS through Safari had been supported prior to Mountain Lion's release. With Mountain Lion and beyond, though, if you want to read RSS feeds, you'll need to use a separate application or service.

Instead, the new notifications functionality is entirely separate. It's tied in with Apple Push Notification (APN) Service, which has been around since 2009, when Apple launched iOS 3.0. That means web developers will have to implement it for their sites individually, which means it may be a while before we see wholesale support for the service.

When you migrate to Mavericks, will you start to use website push notifications? Or does this seem intrusive and weird? If you're a web developer, do you see a future for this technology on your sites? Tell me in the comments.

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Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

OS X Mavericks preview: Website push notifications deliver updates without Safari


I will use this but hope there is a way for notifications to also sync with any iOS app notifications like will happen between iOS devices in iOS 7. Example: if I receive a push notification from the CNN app on my phone and interact with it will will I also receive a web push on my Mac from CNN's website. Really looking forward to my office not sounding like a war zone whenever I receive an iMessage.

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How much of my battery life will this chew up?

Presently on iOS 6.1 when I use these types of features like Location Services, Notifications, even Passbook, they all seem to suck the life right out of my phone to the point where I can't go 2 hours without plugging in. Visit the "genius bar" to look for remedies and they start recommending you turn off the very features Apple makes a big deal about in their product launches and marketing.

So, yes please Apple, add all the great new features you want but get a battery in there too that can at least manage to get me to work and back home without plugging in.

As an enterprise web developer, this is a big deal for us. The Blackberry platform (using BES) has had this capability for quite some time (to mobile devices, not desktop). If Apple brings this to iOS then it will be a huge boon for us web developers.