In this digital age, notifications are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they can keep us informed of important updates or news about topics we care about - but on the other hand, it’s all too easy for websites to start spamming users with intrusive notifications. Apple’s new update to their iOS operating system helps manage these issues by restricting permission requests for website notifications only to apps that have been added to the Home Screen.
This is a great step forward in both usability and security. Without reading through the article, you might easily miss this important detail - so it’s worth taking notice of! By limiting web notification requests only to websites that have been added as an app on the user’s Home Screen, it makes sure that users have taken time to consider whether they actually want those notifications before being spammed with them. This approach also helps protect against malicious actors who could use those pop-up prompts for nefarious purposes – something which other browser companies don’t seem quite aware of yet!
The idea of granting access via ‘installing’ a PWA is also an interesting concept; rather than requiring users to click through endless yes/no dialog boxes and potentially not understanding what they’re giving away when they do so, this ties permissions into something more intuitive – like downloading an app on mobile devices – and allows users more agency over their device capabilities in general. It would be great if other browsers followed suit and adopted similar approaches!
Finally, I’d like to see Apple make it easier for people install web apps onto their home screen. Right now you need go through the Share Sheet menu which can be off-screen until scrolled down – not ideal at all! If there was some kind of Smart App Banner (like native app developers can use) then things would become much simpler and easier for everyone involved.
Overall Apple has done great work here in creating both usability and security improvements around website notifications while also allowing greater control over device capabilities by tying them into ‘installing’ PWAs rather than using request pop ups or forcing people into ‘yes/no’ dialog boxes without any real context or understanding as to what they’re agreeing too. Let’s hope other browser companies follow suit soon!
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Author Eliza Ng