Explainedback-iconApple Device Managementback-iconWhat is Apple Push Notification Service (APNs)?

What is Apple Push Notification Service (APNs)?

Apple Push Notification Service is a cloud platform by Apple, which allows third party application developers to send push notifications to their applications installed on Apple devices. This enables application providers with options to send custom alert messages, play a sound, set a badge (with a number) over the app, provide actions that users can take without opening the app, show a media attachment and more.

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How does APNs work?

On the initial launch of the application, an encrypted IP tunnel is established automatically between the app and APNs server. Receiving APNs push notifications, requires the application to be configured by registering with Apple Push Notification Service. This set up is carried out through the encrypted tunnel. To do this, the app must:

  1. Enable push notifications.
  2. Ask user’s permission to send notifications.
  3. Register with APNs and receive an app-specific device token.
  4. Send the device token to notification provider server.

For UEMs, APNs provides a way to communicate and send messages/notifications to connected Apple devices. The communication between a UEM server and it’s connected Apple endpoints, happens through the APNs server, where it acts as a gateway between the two. The notification is sent to the APNs server, which reroutes it to the correct device (or a group of devices). For this, you’ll first need to create an APNs certificate, which will be valid for one year. After the expiration, you’ll have to renew the certificate which follows the same process of creating one.