Pushing notifications to users on iOS and Android devices

This week is all about the different options in Microsoft Intune to send push notifications to users on iOS (and iPadOS) and Android devices. The trigger of this post is the option to send push notifications as an action for noncompliance, which was introduced with the 2005 service release of Microsoft Intune. Besides that, it was already possible to send custom notifications to a single device, to the devices of a group of users, or as a bulk action to multiple devices. In this post I want to go through the different options for sending push notifications, followed by showing the end-user experience.

Send custom notifications

Custom notifications can be used to push a notification to the users of managed iOS (including iPadOS) and Android devices. These notifications appear as push notifications from the Company Portal app (or Microsoft Intune app) on the device of the user, just as notifications from other apps. A custom notification message includes a title of 50 characters or fewer and a message body of 500 characters or fewer. Besides those message limitations, the following configurations should be in place for a device to be able to receive push notifications.

  • The device must be MDM enrolled.
  • The device must have the Company Portal app (or Microsoft Intune app).
  • The Company Portal app (or Microsoft Intune app) must be allowed to send push notifications.
  • An Android device depends on the Google Play Services.

Send custom notification to a single device

The method for sending a custom notification to a single device is by using device actions. To use device actions for sending a custom notification to a single device, simply follow the three steps below.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Devices > All devices {{select Android or iOS device} to open the Overview page of the specific device
  2. On the Overview page, select the Send Custom Notification device action (when the option is not available, select the  option first from the upper right side of the page) to open the Send Custom Notification pane
  3. On the Send Custom Notification page, specify the following message details and select Send to send the notification to the device
  • Title – Specify the title of this notification
  • Body – Specify the message body of the custom notifcation

Note: Microsoft Intune will process the message immediately. The only confirmation that the message was sent, is the notification that the administrator will receive.

For automation purposes, automating pushing a custom notification to a single device can be achieved by using the sendCustomNotificationToCompanyPortal object in the Graph API.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/deviceManagement/managedDevices('{IntuneDeviceId}')/sendCustomNotificationToCompanyPortal

Send custom notification to a group of devices

There are actual two methods for sending a custom notification to a group of devices. The first method for sending a custom notification to a group of devices is by using the tenant administration. That can be achieved by using the four steps below. The twist is that those steps will enable the administrator to send a notification to a group, which will only target the users of that group. The notification will then only go to all the iOS (and iPadOS) and Android devices that are enrolled by that user.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Teant administration Custom notifications to open the Tenant admin | Custom notifications blade
  2. On the Basics page, specify the following message details and select Next
  • Title – Specify the title of this notification
  • Body – Specify the message body of the custom notifcation
  1. On the Assignments page, select the group that should be used to send this notification to and click Next
  2. On the Review + Create page, review the information and click Create to send the notification

Note: Microsoft Intune will process the message immediately. The only confirmation that the message was sent, is the notification that the administrator will receive.

For automation purposes, automating pushing a custom notification to the devices of a group of users can be achieved by using the sendCustomNotificationToCompanyPortal object in the Graph API.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/deviceManagement/sendCustomNotificationToCompanyPortal

The second method for sending a custom notification to a group of devices is by using bulk actions. That can be achieved by using the four steps below. Those steps will enable the administrator to send a notification to multiple selected iOS (and iPadOS) and Android devices.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Devices All devicesBulk Device Actions to open the Bulk device actions blade
  2. On the Basics page, specify the following details and select Next
  • OS – Select the platform of the devices that should receive this notification (Android (device administrator), Android (Work Profile), or iOS/iPadOS)
  • Action – Send custom notification
  • Title – Specify the title of this notification
  • Body – Specify the message body of the custom notifcation
  1. On the Assignments page, select the devices to send this custom notification to and click Next
  2. On the Review + Create tab, review the information and click Create to send the notification

Note: Microsoft Intune will process the message immediately. The only confirmation that the message was sent, is the notification that the administrator will receive.

For automation purposes, automating pushing a custom notification to multiple selected devices can be achieved by using the executeAction object in the Graph API.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/deviceManagement/managedDevices/executeAction

Send noncompliance notification

Noncompliance notifications can be used to push a notification to a device about the noncompliance state of the device. These notifications appear as push notifications from the Company Portal app on the device of the user, just as notifications from any other app. The notification is pushed to the device, the first time after the device is noncompliant and checks in with Microsoft Intune (depending on the configured schedule of the push notification). The message of the notification contains the details about the noncompliance and can’t be customized. Also, the notification is only pushed a single time. To push multiple notifications, simply add multiple actions. The four steps below show how to add a noncompliance action that will send a push notification to a compliance policy.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Endpoint security Device compliancePolicies to open the Compliance policies | Policies blade
  2. On the Compliance policies | Policies page, either create a new policy, or edit an existing policy (this example is of editing an existing policy)
  3. On the Actions for noncompliance page, select Send push notification as an additional action
  1. On the Review + save page, click Save

For automation purposes, automating updating a device compliance policy can be achieved by patching the specific deviceCompliancePolicies object in the Graph API.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/deviceManagement/deviceCompliancePolicies/{policyId}

End-user experience

Let’s end this post by having a look at the end-user experience. The push notifications will show on the lock screen just as notifications from any other app. Below on the left (Figure 5) is showing an example of the lock screen that contains a custom notification and a noncompliance notification. Below in the middle (Figure 6) is showing an example of a custom notification when the Company Portal app was open. The user will go to the same page in the Company Portal app, when clicking on the custom notification on the lock screen. Below on the right (Figure 7) is showing an example of the page in the Company Portal app, when clicking the noncompliance notification. That will enable the user to immediately take action.

Note: The experience on Android devices is similar. However, keep in mind that on Android devices, other apps might have access to the data in push notifications.

More information

For more information about the different options to send push notifications to users on iOS and Android devices, refer to the following docs: