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Apple Push Notification Service


Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) is the push notification system for use on iOS with iPhones, iPads and other such iOS devices.

This section describes how to setup your AIR application to use Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) with this extension.

This service is supported by all the variants however we suggest using one of the following variants:

  • base variant (i.e. the main extension)
    • Includes FCM on Android
  • APNS (this is an air package only for apm)
    • iOS only, same as the base variant but includes none of the FCM dependencies for Android

The other variants can be used but there is additional configuration that is needed.


You should firstly setup the APNS service for your application. Follow the setup guide for instructions.


The simplest way to install and manage your AIR native extensions and libraries is to use the AIR Package Manager (apm). We highly recommend using apm, as it will handle downloading all required dependencies and manage your application descriptor (Android manifest additions, iOS info additions etc).

However you can choose to install it manually, as you would have done in the past.


Note: All of the commands below should be run in a terminal / command prompt in the root directory of your application, generally the level above your source directory.

If you don't have an APM project setup, expand the guide below to setup an APM project before installing the extension.

Setup APM

Install APM

If you haven't installed apm follow the install guide on

Setup an APM project

You will need an APM project for your application.

There are many ways to do this and for more options see the APM documentation. Here we will just initialise a new empty project:

apm init

Check your github token

We use github to secure our extensions so you must have created a github personal access token and configured apm to use it.

To do this create a token using this guide from github and then set it in your apm config using:

apm config set github_token ghp_XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

If you don't do this correctly you may find the install will fail.

Install the extension

Install the extension by running:

apm install com.distriqt.PushNotifications

If you are using the iOS only install com.distriqt.PushNotifications-APNS instead.

This will download and install the extension, required assets, and all dependencies.

Once complete apm will have created something like the following file structure:

|____ ane
| |____ com.distriqt.PushNotifications.ane # PushNotifications extension
| |____ [dependencies]
|____ apm_packages # cache directory - ignore
|____ project.apm # apm project file
  • Add the ane directory to your IDE. See the tutorials located here on adding an extension to your IDE.

We suggest you use the locations directly in your builds (rather than copying the files elsewhere) so that updates with apm will be pulled automatically into your build.

  • You must set a few pieces of configuration information for APNS. This will allow apm to automatically insert them into the correct position in your application descriptor. This includes:

    • bundleSeedId: Bundle Seed Id (or App ID Prefix) for your iOS application
    • apsEnvironment: production for release builds and development for development builds
    • getTaskAllow: false for release builds and true for development builds

You can call the following to step through the all the configuration values for this extension:

apm project config set com.distriqt.PushNotifications
Build Types

We suggest creating a build type to allow you to easily switch between the production and development configurations. To do this run the following additional commands (assuming you setup the main configuration for production):

apm -b development project config set apsEnvironment development
apm -b development project config set getTaskAllow true

This will set the values of those properties to be different for the "development" build type.

Application Descriptor

Updating your application descriptor will insert the required extensionID's and generate the manifest and info additions for your application.

You update your application descriptor by running:

apm generate app-descriptor src/MyApp-app.xml

Change the path (src/MyApp-app.xml) to point to your application descriptor.

Build Types

If you setup a development build type you can update your app descriptor with this configuration by using :

apm -b development generate app-descriptor src/MyApp-app.xml

Or you could maintain a separate "development" app descriptor by changing the output eg:

apm -b development generate app-descriptor src/MyApp-dev-app.xml

This will modify your application descriptor replacing the manifest additions and info additions with the ones generated from apm.

You should backup your application descriptor before running this command to ensure you don't lose any information.

If you need to insert custom data into these sections see the guides for Android and iOS


Note the difference between a development and production / adhoc entitlements. The get-task-allow and aps-environment must be set correctly for your build.

These values must match the values in your provisioning profile, ie you must have setup push notifications for the matching environment.

Background notifications


If you are planning to setup your application to receive background notifications then you need to include some additional configuration.

If it is enabled, you will be able to send silent notifications in the background to trigger an event when your application is running in the background. If you do not include it, then you will only receive the notification events in the background when the user clicks a notification.

However it is not required if you do not wish to include it.

Firstly add a custom iOS configuration file by running:

apm generate config ios

Edit the config/ios/InfoAdditions.xml file that was generated to resemble the following, adding the UIBackgroundModes node:

<plist version="1.0">




You can add any other information you need in your info additions in this file as well, such as MinimumOSVersion or your UILaunchStoryboardName.

Once you have added this configuration run the steps above to update / generate your application descriptor.

Critical Alerts


Critical alerts are important notifications that will ignore Do Not Disturb mode, and ringer settings, so they cannot be muted.

This is an opt-in service and developers must request approval from Apple in order to add this feature to an application. Generally only applications that send notifications related to health, public safety and home security are approved.

If you are approved by Apple then to enable critical alerts you will need to add some additions to your Entitlements section.

Firstly add a custom iOS configuration file by running:

apm generate config ios

Edit the config/ios/Entitlements.xml file that was generated to resemble the following:

<plist version="1.0">



You can add any other information you need in your info additions in this file as well, such as MinimumOSVersion or your UILaunchStoryboardName.

Once you have added this configuration run the steps above to update / generate your application descriptor.

Additionally you will need to request authorisation from the user. This is handled as part of the normal authorisation process however you need to inform the extension that you require critical alerts by calling setShouldRequestCriticalAlerts() on your Service configuration:

var service:Service = new Service() 

// Other service options