This functionality is currently in beta and available for testing.

The mobile app industry is only getting more competitive, so staying ahead of the curve is paramount. One way to achieve this is by leveraging the latest user engagement features. We’ve seen apps across industries adopt iOS Live Activities to do just that — stand out from the crowd, rise to the top of their lock screens, and stay top of mind. However, one requirement has limited their reach: an app had to be open in order to begin a Live Activity.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve launched push-to-start Live Activities in beta, which allows you to start a Live Activity even when your app isn’t open. Imagine keeping your app’s content front and center during key moments—live sports, breaking news, and more—in a way that’s personalized to your users’ interests. Delivering engaging content outside your app maximizes visibility, brand recall, and the user experience, ultimately driving them back to your app in a more powerful way than previously possible.

What are Push-to-Start Live Activities?

Push-to-Start Live Activities are an improvement on the original iOS Live Activities launched by Apple in 2022. Previously, your app needed to be open to start a Live Activity.  With iOS 17.2, Apple introduced "push-to-start" tokens. These allow apps to use a push notification to initiate a Live Activity, even when the app is closed. This unlocks the ability to captivate users outside your app by creating dynamic, real-time experiences on the Lock Screen and Dynamic Island.  (Note: Live Activities do not require users to subscribe to push notifications.  They have their own toggle in Apple settings, which is turned on by default.)

Putting Push-to-Start Live Activities to Work

This new iteration of Live Activities is especially powerful for apps that frequently broadcast real-time events, tasks, or activities. Imagine a news enthusiast who uses your app to stay informed. With push-to-start Live Activities, you can automatically initiate a Live Activity for major breaking news stories, keeping them informed even when your app isn’t open. This could include updates on elections, natural disasters, or other topics they follow. When users want to see in-depth analysis, multimedia content, or additional perspectives, they can seamlessly transition back into the app from the Live Activity. This can lead to increased in-app engagement and more time spent consuming your content.

By leveraging push-to-start Live Activities, you can:

  • Maximize visibility and boost brand recall: ensure your content reaches users regardless of your app’s status, significantly expanding your reach and engagement potential.
  • Enhance the user experience: deliver critical information directly to user home screens, fostering a more seamless user experience.
  • Drive users back to your app: sustain user engagement by highlighting new post-event recaps, analysis, or more detailed content.

Here are just a few use cases to consider:

  • Sports: broadcast game countdowns and live scores for your users’ favorite teams.
  • Media: update users on their favorite trending topics, elections, and breaking news stories.
  • Gaming: foster loyal fans by sharing live events, challenges, and leaderboards.
  • Productivity & Utility: help your users stay on top of their schedule by counting down to an event, program, class, or task.

Creating Dynamic Messaging Experiences on Android

While push-to-start Live Activities are currently iOS-exclusive, we understand the need for dynamic engagement across platforms. That’s why we offer a guide for our Android Live Notifications beta, which allows you to create similar experiences for Android users.  While Android doesn't officially support Live Activities, this guide walks you through delivering dynamically updated messages for sustained engagement.

Ready to Get Started?

Getting started with our push-to-start Live Activities beta is straightforward: consult our documentation for a step-by-step walkthrough of how to integrate them into your app. We also have our guide available for creating rich, dynamic messaging experiences on Android.

We're still the only platform offering our Live Activities solution for free and monthly plans. This allows apps of all sizes to explore this innovative user engagement tool. For large or rapidly growing apps, reach out to our team of experts who can provide consultation, support, and scaling solutions for successful implementation.