Android app notifications via red number icon on home screen


(Eoin Ryan) #1

I’ve tested both the Android and iOS apps with our self-hosted discourse; and I don’t see the icon on the home screen change to include a number for notifications (mock-up below)

I see that push-notifications are a feature only available to Discourse-hosted sites (and I understand why, no issues).

Also, as far as I can tell, the number on the icon is a push notification (quote from google On Android devices, when a device receives a push notification, your application’s icon and a message appear in the status bar.)

I also have this forum connected in the Android app; which I assume is Discourse-hosted, and there is no number shown on the icon to indicate alerts. When I click into the app I see some ‘new’ and ‘unread’ shown for this forum, but my current status on the forum is that there are no alerts.

I think that when someone replies to this post, that the Discourse app icon on my home screen will change to have a red number 1; can someone please reply to confirm?


(Sam Saffron) #2

sort of, it will turn to 1 next time you open the app or a background fetch happens.

“background fetch” is a feature apple have that has non-deterministic behavior. It may happen once every 30 minutes, it may happen once a day.


(Eoin Ryan) #3

Feck, I went and read this reply on the desktop browser and now the notification has cleared! I did check the Android icon before that and there was no notification.

In contrast; when someone tags me on Facebook, the app icon instantly shows a number.

Is there a way to achieve the instant app icon change?


(Sam Saffron) #4

Yes, this is technically doable, but would require some additional push notification handling. I do want to make it happen.

Basically we would change our push notifications to be “hidden from users” and then handle them in the app re-publishing to users.


(Eoin Ryan) #5

Thanks for the explanation. I think it would enhance the app to have it; phone users are in the habit of reacting to icons with highlighted red numbers!

Commercially, I can see a value in Discourse keeping push notifications as a premium feature that comes with Discourse hosting; that might help to secure the project long term’s future.


(Eoin Ryan) #6

Could someone make a test reply to this thread please?

It’s a test to see if the Discourse app icon on Android gets a red number to indicate a new notification. I’ve seen one part of the push notification (text in the system tray), but I’ve never seen the icon with a red number as per mockup above.

I think I just need to wait a while longer after someone replies and that’s the reason for asking someone to make a test reply.


(Felix Freiberger) #7

Sure! Here is your test reply.
(For more extensive testing, you might want to use https://try.discourse.org/ :slight_smile:)


(Eoin Ryan) #8

Thanks. Result is that there is NOT a red number on the Discourse icon (Android) after 1h of waiting (may be different on ios as per post above)

The Android system tray (not sure of its correct name) push notification worked fine.

I’ll have a look at try; wasn’t aware it existed. I do have a self-hosted instance but obviously the push notification can’t be tested on my self-hosted.


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #9

There is no red number on pure Android. Google never implemented it.

That’s exactly the behavior of push notifications on Android.


(Eoin Ryan) #10

But other Android apps (Whatsapp; Facebook; Slack) do show a red circle & number on the app icon for notifications.

It’s a small thing but I would have thought it’s a big deal for engaging non-techies.

I’m expecting our forum members to be non technical, mobile users that want to engage mainly by app. I want to notify them as soon as possible and as obviously as possible (red circle) to foster prompt discussion.


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #11

Whatsapp on my Nexus 6P (Android 7.1.1) doesn’t show with the default launcher a red circle & number on the app icon for notifications.

Neither with Nova Launcher.


(Eoin Ryan) #12

I don’t know what a launcher is; but on my generic Samsung S4 with Samsung android, Facebook and Whatsapp do show a red circle. Just to ensure we’re talking about the same thing, I’ll add a screenshot.

Ideally (to get approval to purchase Discourse hosting); we’d want that red circle notification for new events.


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #13

Oh it’s a Samsung feature. Long time I have used one of those.

Looks like there is a lib to enable it:


(Jeff Atwood) #14

This is not an Android feature, sorry.


(Eoin Ryan) #15

Fair enough. Thanks all; I’ve learnt a lot on this thread. (not least that if I leave the shallow waters of Samsung I’ll lose my little red circles. First world problems! )