Handling push notifications is not a straightforward task, unfortunately. So if you want to handle push notifications in iOS and Android there are a few factors to consider in Flutter, namely:

  • Is the app in the foreground or background?
  • If in the background, is the app in a running or terminated state?

These scenarios require specific handling in Flutter depending on the platform.


You can find a guide to set up push notifications in the Flutter documentation:


Installation and Initialization or FlutterFire

How to use Cloud Messaging in Flutter

My solution to setting up push notification handling

Below is a Dart code extract that sums up how I approached the setting up and handling of push notifications in Flutter for both iOS and Android appications in the following states:

  • Foreground
  • Background (app still running)
  • Terminated (app not running)

The requirement is that in all of these states a push notification message should be handled in the same way.

Future<void> setupPushNotifications() async {
    await FirebaseMessaging.instance.subscribeToTopic('general');

    //handle background messages while app is running

    //handle messages that caused the app to launch
    RemoteMessage? initialMessage =
        await FirebaseMessaging.instance.getInitialMessage();

    if (initialMessage != null) {
          isFromTerminatedState: true);

    //foreground messages ios
    await FirebaseMessaging.instance
      alert: true,
      badge: true,
      sound: true,

    //foreground messages android
    if (Platform.isAndroid) {
      const AndroidNotificationChannel channel = AndroidNotificationChannel(
          'myapp_channel', 'myapp_ Notifications',
          description: 'This channel is used for MyApp notifications.',
          importance: Importance.max);

      final FlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin flutterLocalNotificationsPlugin =

      await flutterLocalNotificationsPlugin

      FirebaseMessaging.onMessage.listen((RemoteMessage message) {
        RemoteNotification? notification = message.notification;
        AndroidNotification? android = message.notification?.android;

        if (notification != null && android != null) {
                android: AndroidNotificationDetails(
                  channelDescription: channel.description,
                  icon: 'ic_notification',

void _handlePushNotificationMessage(RemoteMessage message,
      {isFromTerminatedState = false}) async {
    log('FCM message handled');

Packages required

flutter pub add firebase_core

flutter pub add firebase_messaging

flutter pub add flutter_local_notifications

import 'package:firebase_core/firebase_core.dart';

import 'package:firebase_messaging/firebase_messaging.dart';

import 'package:flutter_local_notifications/flutter_local_notifications.dart';

Firebase Initialization

I opted to use a FutureBuilder for Firebase initialization. This allows to handle error cases and also to display an activity indicator to the user while initialization is taking place.

  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return FutureBuilder(
      future: _initializeFirebase,
      builder: (context, snapshot) {
        if (snapshot.hasError) {
          log('Could not initialise firebase');
          return _buildScaffold();
        if (snapshot.connectionState == ConnectionState.done) {
          return _buildScaffold();
        return const Center(
            child: SizedBox(
                height: 60, width: 60, child: CircularProgressIndicator()));
final Future<void> _initializeFirebase = Firebase.initializeApp();
Scaffold _buildScaffold() {
    return Scaffold(
      appBar: AppBar(
        title: Text(widget.title),
      body: Center(
        child: Column(
          mainAxisAlignment: MainAxisAlignment.center,
          children: const <Widget>[
              'My App',

Ensure Widgets are initialized

void main() {
  runApp(const MyApp());

class MyApp extends StatefulWidget {
  const MyApp({Key? key}) : super(key: key);

  _MyAppState createState() => _MyAppState();

Request permisson

Request permission from the user to send push notifications. Ask for this at the appropriate time. It could be at app start, but in some cases only after successful user login.

Future<void> requestPushNotificationPermission() async {
    FirebaseMessaging messaging = FirebaseMessaging.instance;

    NotificationSettings settings = await messaging.requestPermission(
      alert: true,
      announcement: false,
      badge: true,
      carPlay: false,
      criticalAlert: false,
      provisional: false,
      sound: true,
    log('User granted permission: ${settings.authorizationStatus}');

    var token = await messaging.getToken();
    log('FCM Device Token: $token');

Obtaining the device token

In order to trigger push notifications to individual user devices, you need to obtain and store the device token for the user in your back end data store. Here is how to obtain the token.

Future<bool> saveDeviceTokenForUser(String userId) async {
    var token = await FirebaseMessaging.instance.getToken();

    if (token == null) return false;

    //save token