Notifications

Notifications are an important tool used on the majority of applications, aimed at improve user experience & used to engage users with your application. The Cloud Messaging module provides basic support for displaying and handling notifications.

iOS Simulators

FCM via APNs does not work on iOS Simulators. To receive messages & notifications a real device is required.

Displaying notifications

As mentioned in the Usage documentation, message payloads can include a notification property which the Firebase SDKs intercept and attempt to display a visible notification to users.

The default behaviour on both Android & iOS is to display a notification only when the app is in the background or terminated. If required, you can override this behaviour by following the Foreground Notifications documentation.

FCM based notifications provide the basics for many use cases, such as displaying text and images. They do not support advanced notifications such as actions, styling, foreground service notifications etc. To learn more, view the Local Notifications documentation.

The documentation below outlines a few different ways you can start to send notification based messages to your devices.

Via Firebase Console

The Firebase Console provides a simple UI to allow devices to display a notification. Using the console, you can:

  • Send a basic notification with custom text and images.
  • Target applications which have been added to your project.
  • Schedule notifications to display at a later date.
  • Send recurring notifications.
  • Assign conversion events for your analytical tracking.
  • A/B test user interaction (called "experiments").
  • Test notifications on your development devices.

The Firebase Console automatically sends a message to your devices containing a notification property which is handled by the Firebase Cloud Messaging package. See Handling Interaction to learn about how to support user interaction.

Via Admin SDKs

Using one of the various Firebase Admin SDKs, you can send customised data payloads to your devices from your own servers.

For example, when using the [firebase-admin] package in a Node.js environment to send messages from a server, a notification property can be added to the message payload:

const admin = require("firebase-admin");
await admin.messaging().sendMulticast({
tokens: ["token_1", "token_2"],
notification: {
title: "Weather Warning!",
body: "A new weather warning has been issued for your location.",
imageUrl: "https://my-cdn.com/extreme-weather.png",
},
});

To learn more about how to integrate Cloud Messaging with your own setup, read the Server Integration documentation.

Via REST

If you are unable to use a Firebase Admin SDK, Firebase also provides support for sending messages to devices via HTTP POST requests:

POST https://fcm.googleapis.com/v1/projects/myproject-b5ae1/messages:send HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Bearer ya29.ElqKBGN2Ri_Uz...HnS_uNreA
{
"message":{
"token":"token_1",
"data":{},
"notification":{
"title":"FCM Message"
"body":"This is an FCM notification message!",
}
}
}

To learn more about the REST API, view the Firebase documentation, and select the "REST" tab under the code examples.

Handling Interaction

Since notifications are a visible cue, it is common for users to interact with it (by pressing them). The default behaviour on both Android & iOS is to open the application. If the application is terminated it will be started, if it is in the background it will be brought to the foreground.

Depending on the content of a notification, you may wish to handle the users interaction when the application opens. For example, if a new chat message is sent via a notification and the user presses it, you may want to open the specific conversation when the application opens.

The firebase-messaging package provides two ways to handle this interaction:

  1. getInitialMessage(): If the application is opened from a terminated state a Future containing a RemoteMessage will be returned. Once consumed, the RemoteMessage will be removed.
  2. onMessageOpenedApp: A Stream which posts a RemoteMessage when the application is opened from a background state.

It is recommended that both scenarios are handled to ensure a smooth UX for your users. The code example below outlines how this can be achieved:

class Application extends StatefulWidget {
@override
State<StatefulWidget> createState() => _Application();
}
class _Application extends State<Application> {
@override
void initState() async {
super.initState();
// Get any messages which caused the application to open from
// a terminated state.
RemoteMessage initialMessage =
await FirebaseMessaging.instance.getInitialMessage();
// If the message also contains a data property with a "type" of "chat",
// navigate to a chat screen
if (initialMessage?.data['type'] == 'chat') {
Navigator.pushNamed(context, '/chat',
arguments: ChatArguments(initialMessage));
}
// Also handle any interaction when the app is in the background via a
// Stream listener
FirebaseMessaging.onMessageOpenedApp.listen((RemoteMessage message) {
if (message.data['type'] == 'chat') {
Navigator.pushNamed(context, '/chat',
arguments: ChatArguments(message));
}
});
}
@override
Widget build(BuildContext context) {
return Text("...");
}
}

How you handle interaction depends on your application setup, however the example above shows a basic example of using a StatefulWidget.

Advanced Usage

The below documentation outlines some advanced usage of notifications.

Foreground Notifications

Foreground notifications (also known as "heads up") are those which display for a brief period of time above existing applications, and should be used for important events.

Android & iOS have different behaviours when handling notifications whilst applications are in the foreground so keep this in mind whilst developing.

iOS Configuration

Enabling foreground notifications is generally a straightforward process. Call the setForegroundNotificationPresentationOptions method with named arguments:

await FirebaseMessaging.instance.setForegroundNotificationPresentationOptions(
alert: true, // Required to display a heads up notification
badge: true,
sound: true,
);

Set all values back to false to revert to the default functionality.

Android configuration

Android handles incoming notifications differently based on a few different factors:

  1. If the application is in the background or terminated, the assigned "Notification Channel" is used to determine how the notification is displayed.
  2. If the application is currently in the foreground, a visible notification is not presented.
Notification Channels

On Android, notification messages are sent to Notification Channels which are used to control how a notification is delivered. The default FCM channel used is hidden from users, however provides a "default" importance level. Heads up notifications require a "max" importance level.

This means that we need to first create a new channel with an maximum importance level & then assign incoming FCM notifications to this channel. Although this is outside of the scope of FlutterFire, we can take advantage of the flutter_local_notifications package to help us:

  1. Add the flutter_local_notifications package to your local project.
  2. Create a new AndroidNotificationChannel instance:
const AndroidNotificationChannel channel = AndroidNotificationChannel(
'high_importance_channel', // id
'High Importance Notifications', // title
'This channel is used for important notifications.', // description
importance: Importance.max,
);
  1. Create the channel on the device (if a channel with an id already exists, it will be updated):
final FlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin flutterLocalNotificationsPlugin =
FlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin();
await flutterLocalNotificationsPlugin
.resolvePlatformSpecificImplementation<AndroidFlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin>()
?.createNotificationChannel(channel);

Once created, we can now update FCM to use our own channel rather than the default FCM one. To do this, open the android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml file for your FlutterProject project. Add the following meta-data schema within the application component:

<meta-data
android:name="com.google.firebase.messaging.default_notification_channel_id"
android:value="high_importance_channel" />

View the official documentation to learn more.

Application in foreground

If your own application is in the foreground, the Firebase Android SDK will block displaying any FCM notification no matter what Notification Channel has been set. We can however still handle an incoming notification message via the onMessage stream and create a custom local notification using flutter_local_notifications:

FirebaseMessaging.onMessage.listen((RemoteMessage message) {
RemoteNotification notification = message.notification;
AndroidNotification android = message.notification?.android;
// If `onMessage` is triggered with a notification, construct our own
// local notification to show to users using the created channel.
if (notification != null && android != null) {
flutterLocalNotificationsPlugin.show(
notification.hashCode,
notification.title,
notification.body,
NotificationDetails(
android: AndroidNotificationDetails(
channel.id,
channel.name,
channel.description,
icon: android?.smallIcon,
// other properties...
),
));
}
});

To learn more about local notifications, view the flutter_local_notifications documentation.