Types of Push Notifications for Windows Phone


There are three types of push notifications that a web service can use when sending information to an application: Tile, toast, and raw notifications.

The following figure shows the difference between a Tile and toast notification:


Every application has one assigned 'Tile' – a visual, dynamic representation of the application or its content. A Tile displays in the Start screen if the end user has pinned it. Three elements of the Tile can be updated:

  • Background image. You can use a local resource or remote resource for the background image of a Tile. If you want to use a local resource, it must have been installed as a part of the XAP package. For example, it is not possible to download an image, put it into isolated storage, and then use it as a local resource for the background image of the Tile. For best performance, consider using local resources. For specific guidelines about how to design your Tile, see the UI Design and Interaction Guide for Windows Phone 7. To set a default background image for your Tile, see How to: Create and Modify an Application Tile for Windows Phone.

    The background image will never revert to a previous version after it has been successfully updated, unless a previous background image is sent again with a push notification.

  • Title. A string set in Windows Phone Developer Tools. The Title must fit a single line of text and should not be wider than the actual Tile. If this value is not set, the already-existing Title will display in the Tile. For more information, see How to: Create and Modify an Application Tile for Windows Phone.

  • Count. An integer value from 1 to 99. If not set in the push notification or set to any other integer value, the current Count value will continue to display. For example, if there currently is no Count value set, the circle image and value will not display in the Tile. However, if a Count value is already displayed in the Tile, you must send a value of 0 to clear the Count image and value from the Tile.

It is not possible at this time to update your Tile with animations or sound. The placement of Count and Title is not customizable.

If you wish to update your Tile without sending a push notification, you can alternately set up a Tile schedule that updates the Tile with a remote image. For more information, see How to: Update Your Tile Without Push Notifications for Windows Phone.

Toast notifications are system-wide notifications that do not disrupt the user workflow or require intervention to resolve. They are displayed at the top of the screen for ten seconds before disappearing. If the toast notification is tapped, the application that sent the toast notification will launch. A toast notification can be dismissed with a flick.

Two text elements of a toast notification can be updated:

  • Title. A bolded string that displays immediately after the application icon.

  • Sub-title. A non-bolded string that displays immediately after the Title.

Windows Phone displays a small version of your application icon to the left of Title and Sub-title. While you can define what icon is associated with your application, it is not possible to pass a different icon for a toast notification.

Important noteImportant Note:

If you bind a push notification channel to a toast notification in your application, you must ask the user for permission to receive the toast notifications, and you must allow the user to disable the toast notifications. For more information, see the “Push Notifications Application” section in the Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements.

If you do not wish to update the Tile or send a toast notification, you can instead send raw information to your application using a raw notification. If your application is not currently running, the raw notification is discarded on the Microsoft Push Notification Service and is not delivered to the device. The payload of a raw notification has a maximum size of 1 KB.

Depending on your application type and the scenarios you are trying to cover, you can use one or all of the push notification types accordingly. Your web service should monitor the suppression state of the response you receive from the Push Notification Service, to allow back-off logic for certain notification types. For more information, see Push Notification Service Response Codes for Windows Phone.

Push Notification Type

Scenario examples

Tile notifications

Informational notifications such as a temperature change for a weather application.

Toast notifications

Important notifications for immediate viewing, such as breaking news.

Raw notifications

You can use raw notifications in addition to Tile and toast notifications to send information directly to your application.