Custom Alert Sounds and Increased Reliability for Push Notifications

by Amy Chantasirivisal May 27, 2014 | 3 min read

push_notificationIn our quest to bring better and more functionality to our iOS and Android mobile apps, we will soon be releasing a new version that should help you get the most out of your push notifications.

Six months ago, we talked about how push notification growth began overtaking voice, SMS and email alerts. We have seen this trend continue to grow. Because of high adoption, bringing more utility to push notifications became a top priority.

In our upcoming iOS and Android apps, we will provide push notifications improvements in two ways: testing push notifications and adding custom alert sounds, the latter being a feature many of our customers have requested through our support team and via Twitter.

Testing Push Notifications

When you log into the PagerDuty mobile app, we capture the device’s unique ID in order to send push notifications. However, when your device ID changes, push notifications may not arrive on your device. This could happen when you upgrade your device’s OS or reset your device.

To mitigate and treat this kind issue, we are adding use cases into our code to ensure we are capturing and storing the correct device ID, even if that ID periodically changes. Customers will also be able to send test push notifications from the web application.

It’s worth noting that while push notifications can be quite helpful, they may not be as reliable as our other notification methods. Neither Google Cloud Messaging nor Apple Push Notification Service guarantee delivery times for push notifications and it’s not yet possible to add redundancy to increase reliability and exchange providers during outages. We recommend that you set up additional alert channels to ensure you never miss an alert.

Custom Alert Sounds

Since launching our mobile apps, we’ve received lots of requests for custom alert sounds for push notifications. When you receive a PagerDuty push notification on your mobile device, you need a way to distinguish that alert from all your other apps sending you push notifications, whether it’s your latest Facebook status getting a new like or your friend besting your top score in Candy Crush.

The next version of our app will be bundled with 10 sound options that you can set as the sound for your PagerDuty push notifications. We used the vast Creative Commons library to bring you a wide array of bleeps, bloops, alarms, and unique sounds that will ensure you won’t mistake a PagerDuty push notification with FourSquare asking you to check into your apartment when you walk in for the night.

Are there any other features you would like to see in our mobile app? Shoot us an email at or send us a tweet, @PagerDuty.