We are all aware of the push notification benefits, but lot of times when user installs an app they say no to push notifications inadvertently or willingly. How can we bring back those users to opt in, I am under impression that once user says no to push, the app cannot request again to opt in for push notification in iOS as it prevents it and user needs to manually go to device settings and optin which many users are not aware of. One possible solution I could think of is when user makes any purchase or any action we can come up with a custom made dialog asking him to subscribe for push notification. Not sure whether this would be the best user experience.

Your thoughts on any new approach/ thoughts about this would help.

3 Answers 3


Technically there are no other ways to make the user activate the push notifications but telling him to manually go in the settings panel and do it.

So the only thing you can do is to soften the pain in some way

  • if you have a commercial app (i guess, given you have in app purchase), provide some discount code or special offer that will be sent just via push. In this way the user will be more willing to do it
  • otherwise I guess that the push notifications will serve some extended functionality: be clear about that and let the user understand the gain of activating the push.

My suggestion is always, though, to show the system push activation dialog only when the chances of having a conversion is maximum. What we do in our app is to show, before the real push activation dialog, a custom one, explaining the user the purpose of the notifications. On this dialog there will be then 3 buttons: activate, later, no. This way, the user can delay the choice to a point when he can think better about that. Even better than this would be to show the dialogs in a point of the app when the user is already kinda "fond" of the service, so for sure not at the beginning. Just an example: the user wants to order a pizza via an app. After he does it, the app could say "activate the push in order to be notified when the pizza is delivered". Chances that the user accepts in this moment are definitely higher than the first time he opens the app.

It all boils down to: give him always a strong motivation to do it, let him clearly know what's the gain for something that, in some cases, could be just a means for spamming.

  • Ya, I had the same idea, Could you please let us know your app, let me have a quick look at that.
    – Santhosh
    Jun 24, 2013 at 0:54
  • Of course, it's JustBook Jun 24, 2013 at 8:27
  • Would be of great help if you could share screenshots of the custom alert. As I hope I would not be able to see that in your app until I purchase,though I have installed your app. I dont stay in europe may not be able to do a purchase.
    – Santhosh
    Jun 24, 2013 at 19:11
  • Here we go Jun 25, 2013 at 7:32

You're on the right track, Santosh and Nicola has given you good details on the approach.

  1. Value of your app's system notifications should be clear to the user.
  2. System notifications (and any other intrusive communications for that matter) should be relevant and contextual to user's behavior.
  3. Engage your user with appropriate in-app announcement whilst she is in session. You'll know one is actually using the app and you already have some kind of traction with them.
  4. Collect stats on the acceptance rate for notifications if you can (delivered/viewed/intended action performed if any).

Nicola's point about asking for permission before it is actually required is spot-on. It should be an integral part of user flow.

I'm personally not sure there's a need for a elaborate multi-step opt-in though. That does give you a legitimate reason to re-engage users answering "Later", but hurts immediate conversion rate of the process. And I don't think users are putting enough thought into thinking about their future use of the app.

It should be perfectly ok to revisit those who haven't enabled notification at a later time with contextual in-app notification.

Disclaimer: I work for a data-driven push notification platform company.


A better alternative would be to ask for the user's email id. The benefits are:

  • Acts as a backup incase the user forgets their login credentials (in-case you have login)
  • Easy to send reminders via email. No need to worry about push notification (when blocked).
  • At least for me, device notifications and e-mails are in totally different comfort levels. I would not be comfortable with an app that started asking to e-mail me (or, worse, started sending e-mail unannounced).
    – quietmint
    Jun 22, 2013 at 1:49
  • @user113215 What is unannounced when you gave the app your email address 'for communication purposes'? I fail to see the reason for downvoting a valid suggestion
    – rk.
    Jun 22, 2013 at 1:55
  • In general, I don't believe mobile apps should e-mail me. If I'm interacting with an app on my phone, notify me on my phone. My e-mail is everywhere, but the mobile app is not. Unless the e-mail is a receipt for a purchase or something of that sort (i.e., my money exists outside the context of the app), e-mail probably isn't the correct method of communication.
    – quietmint
    Jun 22, 2013 at 2:14
  • @user113215 If you are using using the application, you will not receive the 'reminder' email. And if you are not using the app, and have not given it a push notification permission, then email is a good and standard communication medium.
    – rk.
    Jun 22, 2013 at 2:16
  • The problem with email is not lot of conversions is happening as it is in push.
    – Santhosh
    Jun 24, 2013 at 0:55

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