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Push Notification Testing and Troubleshooting

January 29, 2023Mohammad Adil
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Push Notification Testing and Troubleshooting
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In today’s landscape, the mobile app industry, undoubtedly, is highly competitive. That’s why marketers always keep an eye out for the latest trends and coherent strategies to be one step ahead of their competitors. Of all the tactics, one thing that might always work is providing customers with the best user experience possible. You need a strategic course of action that instantly leads you to your customers. But how? Well, that’s when push notifications come into the picture to rescue you.

Push notifications are short pop-up messages sent by an application to appear on the users’ devices’ screens. These quick messages are one of the most convenient ways for businesses to connect and engage with their customers. According to a study, 70% of users consider push notifications useful. In fact, 40% of them also interact with these pop-up messages within one hour of the app sending these notifications.

However, it is essential to test push notifications for different platforms in order to make the best out of them. This blog will encircle the best practices for push notification testing and troubleshooting for Android and iOS. So, let’s get started!

How to Test Push Notifications for an Improved Mobile Experience?

Before discussing how to test push notifications, let’s talk about the benefits app publishers can avail of using them. With push notifications, businesses can:

  • Deliver relevant information to their users regarding new products, offers, sales, etc.

  • Offer customized recommendations to the users based on their behavior and preferences. In fact, personalized push notifications enhance the users’ reaction rate by 400%.

  • Retarget users by reminding them about the items left in their shopping cart or Wishlist.

  • Geographically target users based on their previous check-ins and current locations (using GPS).

Now, let’s come back to the original question. In order to test push notifications to deliver a seamless mobile experience, you need to test various push notification cases in your mobile app. Here are some of the prominent ones you can look for:

  1. Evaluate how the notifications appear when the users access their devices.

  2. Confirm the nature of notification receipts when your app is open or closed.

  3. Check whether the notifications are enriched with crucial information and rich text/graphics.

  4. Verify whether the notifications are clickable or not.

  5. Examine the redirection path of the push notifications.

Testing Push Notifications for Published Android Apps

Conducting push notification testing for published Android applications is a straightforward process. However, before you proceed, make sure you enable the app permissions in the settings to receive push notifications.

Also, you need to go to the Firebase Console in order to verify the setup for Android. Then send a test notification using Cloud Messaging in Firebase to check the configuration.

Steps to Send a Test Android Push Notification

After verifying the Firebase setup, you need to follow the steps given below to send a test notification on Android:

  1. Choose a push notification service platform and make an account to start with.

  2. After signing up, go to the main menu on the dashboard and open your project.

  3. Now, select the Settings menu and click on Mobile Apps.

  4. After that, click on the Android App. Ensure that you have configured the Firebase API key.

  5. You will see the Test Push option in the opened menu. Here you have to enter the device token related to the test device.

  6. Lastly, you have to add a test payload so that you can proceed with the test.

Fetch Push Payload

Are you curious about what data is transferred in the push payload? Well, if yes is your answer, you can simply call a method that retrieves the send push notification details from the engagement server’s console.

Besides all the custom data and information about how the users will be notified, the Push payload will also consist of the custom metadata included in the template of your chosen push notification service platform.

Troubleshooting Test Push Notification on Android

1. If you face issues with mobile push notification integration

In such cases, ensure that you have used a valid API key from Firebase. To locate this key, you can simply open your Firebase project and head to the Settings menu. In the next step, you have to navigate Project Settings>Cloud Messaging and look for the correct key in the Project Credentials section.

2. If the test push notification action is not working on your Android device

Generally, this problem occurs when the Firebase setup is not properly configured. Therefore, check your Firebase setup and then evaluate whether the test from Firebase works or not. If the issue persists, ensure that you enter the correct device token for the Android test notification.

3. If the push notification service platform sends the push notification, but your Android testing device does not receive it.

The application receives all push notifications from such platforms in the form of data messages. The SDK renders those notifications. Therefore, ensure that you do not enable ‘OS Notifications’ while accessing SDK integration in such platforms. Furthermore, make sure you have allowed the user’s permission to send push notifications for the particular app.

Testing Push Notifications for Unpublished/Work-in-Progress Android Apps

In the earlier section, you have learned the steps to test push notifications for published Android apps. Now, the following section will discuss the procedure to test push notifications for unpublished or work-in-progress Android applications. The process will be quite similar and intuitive to the earlier one. Here are the steps:

  1. Create an account on any push notification services platform and use a suitable plan as per your requirements.

  2. Now, when the live dashboard appears, select the Uploaded Apps option.

  3. In the next step, you need to select the Upload option to upload a particular application directly from the system.

  4. Once you upload the specific Android app, it will appear in the section of recently uploaded applications. Now, select that app from the list.

  5. Pick the desired Android device from the category of available devices. You will see all the popular vendors in the list, such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, etc.

For instance, consider that you want to test a sample chat application on a OnePlus 10 Pro device.

  1. Now, you will see that a new session has begun on the OnePlus 10 Pro, along with the chat application being installed parallelly. This app will be automatically launched once it gets installed successfully.

  2. Lastly, you need to trigger an Android test notification using Firebase or any other similar service.

Once triggered, you will instantly see a push notification on the device’s home screen as well as on its notification panel. However, make sure that you enable the app permissions to receive push notifications in order to conduct test notifications on Android successfully.

Testing Push Notifications for Published iOS Apps

Compared to the Android test notification process, when you test push notifications in iOS, it could be pretty complex. However, with the following procedure, you can conveniently test push notifications for iOS devices. All you need is a push notification token, an iOS device, and the push notification certificate of your application.

Steps to Send a Test Push Notification in iOS

  1. First of all, you need to export your app’s push notification certificate from Apple.

  2. In chosen push notification testing portal, upload your certificate. You can use any other push notifications service if you want.

  3. Using the test push integration feature, you can send a push notification.

  4. In the portal, navigate mobile apps followed by Integrations.

  5. Click on the Test push to initiate push notification testing for your iOS app.

Getting the Push Notification Token

Getting the push notification token is not a tough nut to crack. You can get it easily through XCode. For that, you can use the following code to get the deviceTokenString

didRegisterForRemoteNotificationsWithDeviceToken

After getting the token, add it to the given column to share a test push notification on an iOS device.

Troubleshooting Test Push Notification on iOS

1. If the test push notification feature using a push notification service does not work on iOS devices.

The test push on a push notification service portal will not work on iOS devices if it is set up incorrectly. You will see an error or invalid token on the Test Push interface. For this, ensure that you use the right token belonging to the correct bundle ID set for the same purpose. For instance, you need to use the token created by the Sandbox app for APNS Sandbox testing.

2. If the push notification services platform sends the notifications, but the iOS device receives nothing.

In such a case, the first thing to check is whether you have given your app users permission to send a push notification. If the problem persists, you must re-export the certificates from apple. Also, make sure you test push notifications on actual iOS devices rather than iOS simulators.In addition, check whether your device is linked with the user’s profile before testing the push templates. You can test push templates using the user’s email address. Consequently, it will fetch your device from the device arrays associated with the user’s profile and send push notifications using a valid device token.

3. If the rich push is not responding

First of all, ensure that the system notifications are working properly. In order to make rich push notifications work, you need to add the service app extensions to your XCode project.

4. If the HTTP links do not work

To ensure better security, iOS applications, by default, do not load HTTP links. If you want them, you have to enable them in the target project of your app.

5. If push notifications sent from the template are failing

In such conditions, check the email address with which you are sending the push notifications. Make sure it is registered with the user’s profile. Also, verify if:

  • If notificationsEnabled is set to true, and

  • If endpointEnabled is set to true.

What’s the Difference Between Testing Push Notifications on iOS and Android?

The push notification testing process in Android and iOS is different at several levels. For instance, testing push notifications on Android does not require specific architecture, processes, or the need to follow special steps while using any push notification service. Once your Android app is developed, you can simply install an emulator or integrate the application with a push notification service. The rest process, you know, is pretty simple.

However, that’s not the case with testing on iOS. When you need to test push notifications on iOS, you must first direct your app so that it can be installed on a specific device. For that, you need to follow the process of signing. You can sign your application in many ways and then install it on a specific iOS device.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I test push notifications on a website?

To test push notifications on a website, you have to follow these steps:

  1. Permit the push notification prompt by allowing it. It will pop up if you visit the website for the first time.

  2. Locate the installation ID in the Inspect or InspectElement option in the context menu. You can find it by right-clicking anywhere on the website page.

  3. Open the developer tools and select the Console tab. Paste this code there to get the details regarding the identifiers.

  4. Ensure that the Registration Token field is not empty and you enable the Subscribed to Notifications option.

  5. Now, navigate Settings and click on the Debug tab. Now, find your device token by pasting the installation ID.

  6. Click on the ‘Save as a test device’ option.

  7. Finally, send a test push notification.

Can we automate push notifications?

Yes, automating push notifications is possible. It involves automatically sending push notifications to your users with negligible or no manual intervention at all. Automating push notifications help businesses save time and effort that could be invested somewhere else. It also assists in re-engaging inactive users and enhancing conversions through automated segmentation.

In order to automate push notifications, you can use any push notification service platform. All you have to do is set your target audience, select the message template, and assign a delivery schedule for your automated pop-up notifications.

Is there a push notification app?

There is no specific push notification application through which you can send notifications to your users. However, many push notification services might help you improve your user engagement strategy. You can pick one of them based on your budget and the specific functionalities you want to send pop-up notifications. Google Firebase, OneSignal, etc., can be some good options to start with.

What is an example of a push notification?

While using smartphones, you might encounter push notifications multiple times a day. For example, an application sending a pop-up message saying “update the app” is one of the most common examples of a push notification that drives users to perform action-oriented tasks. Similarly, the YouTube application notifies its users whenever a new video is uploaded from the respective channels they have subscribed to.

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