How to Manage Push Notifications in Your Web Browser

browser push notifications
Getty Images (Credit: Hong Li #507850016)

Push notifications allow apps, websites and even some browser extensions to send you alerts, personal messages and other types of advisories. Once reserved for mobile apps, push notifications can now be sent to your computer or portable device -- sometimes while the browser and/or related applications are not active.

The purpose of these notifications can vary greatly, ranging from the latest news updates to a drop in price on an item you've been watching.

Initiated server-side, their overall format and presentation methods tend to be unique to the browser and/or operating system.

While this added level of interaction can prove useful, it may seem a bit intrusive and at times be flat out annoying. When it comes to browsers and push notifications, most provide the ability to control which sites and Web apps are allowed to reach you in this fashion by utilizing the Push API or a related standard. The tutorials below explain how to modify these settings in some of the most popular desktop and mobile browsers.

Google Chrome

Android

  1. Select the Chrome menu button, denoted by three vertically-placed dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings.
  3. Chrome's Settings interface should now be visible. Select Site Settings.
  4. Under Site Settings, scroll down and select Notifications.
  5. The following two settings are offered.
    Ask first: The default option requires your permission to allow a site to send a push notification.
    Blocked: Restricts all sites from sending push notifications through Chrome.
  1. You can also permit or deny notifications from individual sites by first selecting the lock icon that appears on the left side of Chrome's address bar when you visit a respective site. Next, tap the Notifications option and select either Allow or Block.

Chrome OS, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows

  1. Click on the Chrome menu button, located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window and denoted by three horizontal lines.
  1. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option. You can also enter the following text into Chrome's address bar (also known as the Omnibox) in place of clicking on this menu item: chrome://settings
  2. Chrome's Settings interface should now be displayed in the active tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Show advanced settings link.
  3. Scroll down a bit more until you see the Privacy section. Click on the Content settings button.
  4. Chrome's Content settings ​should now be visible, overlaying the main browser window. Scroll down until you locate the Notifications section, which provides the following three options; each accompanied by a radio button.
  5. Allow all sites to show notifications: Lets all websites send push notifications through Chrome without requiring your permission.
    Ask when a site wants to show notifications: Instructs Chrome to prompt you for a response each time a site attempts to push a notification to the browser. This is the default and recommended setting.
    Do not allow any site to show notifications: Restricts apps and sites from sending push notifications.
  6. Also found in the Notifications section is the Manage exceptions button, which allows you to allow or block notifications from individual websites or domains. These exceptions will override the aforementioned settings.

    Push notifications will not be sent while browsing in Incognito Mode.

    Mozilla Firefox

    Mac OS X, Linux and Windows

    1. Type the following into Firefox's address bar and hit the Enter key: about:preferences.
    2. Firefox's Preferences interface should now be visible in the current tab. Click on Content, located in the left menu pane.
    3. The browser's Content preferences should now be visible. Locate the Notifications section.
    4. Whenever a website requests your explicit permission to send notifications via Firefox's Web Push feature your response is stored for future use. You can revoke that permission at any time by clicking on the Choose button, which launches the Notification Permissions dialog.
    1. Firefox also provides the ability to block notifications altogether, including any related permission requests. To disable this functionality, place a check mark in the box accompanying the Do not disturb me option by clicking on it once.

    You may need to restart Firefox for your new settings to take effect.

    Microsoft Edge

    Per Microsoft, this feature is coming soon to the Edge browser.

    Opera

    Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows

    1. Enter the following text in Opera's address bar and hit Enter: opera://settings.
    2. Opera's Settings/Preferences should now be displayed in a new tab or window. Click on Websites, located in the left menu pane.
    3. Scroll down until you see the Notifications section, offering the following three options accompanied by radio buttons.
      Allow all sites to show desktop notifications: Permits any website to automatically send notifications via Opera.
      Ask me when a site wants to show desktop notifications: This setting, which is recommended, causes Opera to ask you for permission each time a notification is sent.
      Do not allow any site to show desktop notifications: This blanket restriction prevents all sites from pushing notifications.
    4. Also found in the Notifications section is a button labeled Manage Exceptions. Selecting the button launches the Notifications exceptions interface, which provides the ability to allow or block push notifications from specific sites or domains. These site-specific settings override whichever radio button option is selected above.

    Opera Coast

    iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch)

    1. Select the Settings icon, typically located on your device's Home Screen.
    2. The iOS Settings interface should now be visible. Scroll down, if necessary, and select the option labeled Notifications; located in the left menu pane.
    3. A list of iOS apps which have notification-related settings should now be displayed, located in the NOTIFICATION STYLE section. Scroll down, if necessary, and select Opera Coast.
    4. Opera Coast's notification settings screen should now be visible, containing one option which is disabled by default. To enable push notifications in the Opera Coast browser app, select the accompanying button so that it turns green. To disable these notifications at a later time, simply select this button again.

    Safari

    Mac OS X

    1. Click on Safari in your browser menu, located at the top of the screen.
    2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Preferences. You can also use the following keyboard shortcut in place of clicking on this menu item: Command + Comma(,).
    3. Safari's Preferences interface should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Click on the Notifications icon, located along the top row.
    4. The Notification Preferences should now be visible. By default, websites will ask for your permission the first time they attempt to send an alert to the OS X Notification Center. These sites, along with the level of permission that you granted them, are stored and listed on this screen. Accompanying each site are two radio buttons, labeled Allow or Deny. Select the desired option for each site/domain, or leave them as is.
    5. At the bottom of the Notification Preferences dialog, there  are two additional buttons, labeled Remove and Remove All, which allow you to delete saved preferences for one or more sites. When an individual site's setting is deleted, that site will then prompt you for action the next time it attempts to send a notification via the Safari browser.
    6. Also at the bottom of the screen is the following option, accompanied by a check box and enabled by default: Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications. If this setting is disabled, accomplished by removing its check mark with a single mouse click, all websites will automatically be allowed to push alerts to your Mac's Notification Center without requiring your explicit permission. Disabling this option is not recommended.