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Parse push notifications for your Android and iOS Cordova app

Note: This post is over 6 months old and may now be out of date. Some of the links not work anymore.

(1 minute read)

I recently had to get Parse push notifications working with a Phonegap/Cordova application. It took of a lot of Google-ing and documentation reading to figure out all the steps needed. I'm documenting what's needed here in case it helps anybody else.

Instructions are for both Android (Jellybean ) and iOS (8 ). I'm running Phonegap v4.2.0-0.24.2.


These steps are based on what's in Parse's Quickstart guide.

First of all let's write our application code for handling incoming notifications. We need an Application class which will be responsible for registering with Parse.

package com.mypackage.MyApp;
import android.app.Application;
import com.parse.Parse;
import com.parse.PushService;
public class MyApp extends Application {
    public void onCreate() {
        Parse.initialize(this, "<parse app key>", "<parse client key>" );
        ParseInstallation currentInstallation = ParseInstallation.getCurrentInstallation();
          At this point you may wish to set some data on the installation object in order for you to target this specific instance of the app with a push.

Then we need to extend ParsePushBroadcastReceiver with our own class so that we can customize how we handle pushes:

package com.mypackage.MyApp;
import android.content.Context;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.util.Log;
import com.parse.ParseAnalytics;
import com.parse.ParsePushBroadcastReceiver;
public class MyAppPushReceiver extends ParsePushBroadcastReceiver {
    public void onPushOpen(Context context, Intent intent) {
        //To track "App Opens"
        // start main UI in case we are running in the background
        Intent i = new Intent(context, MyAppActivity.class);

Finally we need to create our Activity which will actually launch the UI:

package com.mypackage.MyApp;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.util.Log;
import org.apache.cordova.Config;
import org.apache.cordova.CordovaActivity;
import org.json.JSONException;
import org.json.JSONObject;
import java.util.Iterator;
public class MyAppActivity extends CordovaActivity
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState)
        // lanch cordova web UI
    protected void onNewIntent(Intent intent) {
    protected void onResume()
        Intent intent = this.getIntent();
        Bundle intentExtras = intent.getExtras();
        if (null != intentExtras) {
            String dataString = intentExtras.getString("com.parse.Data");
            if (null != dataString) {
                    We're going to assume dataString is JSON and decode it as such.
                    We're then going to call pushCallback() within the Cordova app and pass through
                    some parameters.
                    JSONObject json = new JSONObject(dataString);
                    String javascript = "pushCallback('" + json.getString("item1") + "', '" + json.getString("item2")+ "')";

Note: the sendJavascript method has recently been deprecated in CordovaActivity. Check out how the Ionic framework does it.

Now we just need to update AndroidManifest.xml to hook everything up:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<manifest android:hardwareAccelerated="true" android:versionCode="10000" android:versionName="1.0.0" android:windowSoftInputMode="adjustPan" package="com.mypackage.MyApp" xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
    <supports-screens android:anyDensity="true" android:largeScreens="true" android:normalScreens="true" android:resizeable="true" android:smallScreens="true" android:xlargeScreens="true" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
    <application android:hardwareAccelerated="true" android:icon="@drawable/icon" android:label="@string/app_name" android:name=".MyApp">
        <activity android:configChanges="orientation|keyboardHidden|keyboard|screenSize|locale" android:label="@string/app_name" android:launchMode="singleTop" android:name="MyAppActivity" android:theme="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar">
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
                <data android:scheme="cc" />
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
                <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
        <service android:name="com.parse.PushService" />
        <receiver android:name="com.parse.ParseBroadcastReceiver">
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED" />
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.USER_PRESENT" />
        <receiver android:name=".MyAppPushReceiver" android:exported="false">
                <action android:name="com.parse.push.intent.RECEIVE" />
                <action android:name="com.parse.push.intent.DELETE" />
                <action android:name="com.parse.push.intent.OPEN" />
        <receiver android:name="com.parse.GcmBroadcastReceiver" android:permission="com.google.android.c2dm.permission.SEND">
                <action android:name="com.google.android.c2dm.intent.RECEIVE" />
                <action android:name="com.google.android.c2dm.intent.REGISTRATION" />
                <category android:name="com.mypackage.MyApp" />
        <meta-data android:name="com.google.android.gms.version" android:value="@integer/google_play_services_version" />
    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="18" android:targetSdkVersion="18" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WAKE_LOCK" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.VIBRATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.GET_ACCOUNTS" />
    <uses-permission android:name="com.google.android.c2dm.permission.RECEIVE" />    
    <permission android:protectionLevel="signature" android:name="com.mypackage.MyApp.permission.C2D_MESSAGE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="com.mypackage.MyApp.permission.C2D_MESSAGE" />

I copied Parse-1.9.0.jar and the accompanying bolts-android-1.1.4.jar (you get both of these in the download from Parse) into the libs folder and then updated my build.gradle file accordingly:

dependencies {
    compile fileTree(dir: 'libs', include: '*.jar')
    for (subproject in getProjectList()) {
        compile project(subproject)
    ... // other dependencies

That's it. If all goes well you should be able to receive pushes once the app has started.


Follow the instructions in the QuickStart guide. Near the end you are told to insert the following method:

- (void)application:(UIApplication *)application didReceiveRemoteNotification:(NSDictionary *)userInfo {
  [PFPush handlePush:userInfo];

Instead of adding this, add the one recommended by the official iOS docs:

- (void)application:(UIApplication *)application
didReceiveRemoteNotification:(NSDictionary *)userInfo
fetchCompletionHandler:(void (^)(UIBackgroundFetchResult result))handler {
    // Process the remote notification
    [PFPush handlePush:userInfo];
    // Clear notification badge
    [[UIApplication sharedApplication] setApplicationIconBadgeNumber:0];
    [[UIApplication sharedApplication] cancelAllLocalNotifications];
    // Let's invoke the pushCallback() method within Cordova with data from the userInfo boject
    NSString *jsCallBack = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"pushCallback('%@', '%@');", userInfo[@"item1"], userInfo[@"item2"]];
    [self.viewController.webView stringByEvaluatingJavaScriptFromString:jsCallBack];

That's it. You're ready.