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Send messages to device groups on Android

Device group messaging allows you to add multiple devices to a single group. This is similar to topic messaging, but includes authentication to ensure that group membership is managed only by your servers. For example, if you want to send different messages to different phone models, your servers can add/remove registrations to the appropriate groups and send the appropriate message to each group. Device group messaging differs from topic messaging in that it involves managing device groups from your servers instead of directly within your application.

The maximum number of members allowed for a notification key is 20.

Managing device groups

Before sending messages to a device group, you must:

  1. Obtain registration tokens for each device you want to add to the group.

  2. Create the notification_key, which identifies the device group by mapping a particular group (typically a user) to all of the group's associated registration tokens. You can create notification keys on the app server.

Basic management of device groups — creating and removing groups, and adding or removing devices — is performed via the HTTP v1 API, using short-lived tokens to authorize send requests. See Device group management keys for a list of supported keys.

Managing device groups on the app server

Creating a device group

To create a device group, send a POST request that provides a name for the group, and a list of registration tokens for the devices. FCM returns a new notification_key that represents the device group.

HTTP POST request

Send a request like the following to https://fcm.googleapis.com/fcm/notification:

https://fcm.googleapis.com/fcm/notification
Content-Type:application/json
access_token_auth: true
Authorization: Bearer ya29.ElqKBGN2Ri_Uz...HnS_uNreA
project_id:SENDER_ID

{
   "operation": "create",
   "notification_key_name": "appUser-Chris",
   "registration_ids": ["bk3RNwTe3H0:CI2k_HHwgIpoDKCIZvvDMExUdFQ3P1...",
                        "cR1rjyj4_Kc:APA91bGusqbypSuMdsh7jSNrW4nzsM...",
                        ... ]

The notification_key_name is a name or identifier (e.g., it can be a username) that is unique to a given group. The notification_key_name and notification_key are unique to a group of registration tokens. It is important that notification_key_name is unique per client app if you have multiple client apps for the same sender ID. This ensures that messages only go to the intended target app.

Response format

A successful request returns a notification_key like the following:

{
   "notification_key": "APA91bGHXQBB...9QgnYOEURwm0I3lmyqzk2TXQ"
}

Save the notification_key and the corresponding notification_key_name to use in subsequent operations.

Retrieving a notification key

If you need to retrieve an existing notification key, use the notification_key_name in a GET request as shown:

https://fcm.googleapis.com/fcm/notification?notification_key_name=appUser-Chris
Content-Type:application/json
access_token_auth: true
Authorization: Bearer ya29.ElqKBGN2Ri_Uz...HnS_uNreA
project_id:SENDER_ID
{}

For each GET request for a given notification key name, the server returns a unique encoded string. Though each string may appear to be a different key, it is actually a valid `notification_key` value.

Adding and removing devices from a device group

To add or remove devices from an existing group, send a POST request with the operation parameter set to add or remove, and provide the registration tokens for addition or removal.

HTTP POST request

For example, to add a device with the registration token bk3RNwTe3H0:CI2k_HHwgIpoDKCIZvvDMExUdFQ3P1... to appUser-Chris, you would send this request:

{
   "operation": "add",
   "notification_key_name": "appUser-Chris",
   "notification_key": "APA91bGHXQBB...9QgnYOEURwm0I3lmyqzk2TXQ",
   "registration_ids": ["bk3RNwTe3H0:CI2k_HHwgIpoDKCIZvvDMExUdFQ3P1..."]
}

Response format

A successful request to either add or remove a device returns a notification_key like the following:

{
   "notification_key": "APA91bGHXQBB...9QgnYOEURwm0I3lmyqzk2TXQ"
}

Device group management keys

The following table lists the keys for creating device groups and adding and removing members.

Table 10. Device group management keys.

Parameter Usage Description
operation Required, string The operation to run.Valid values are create, add, and remove.
notification_key_name Required, string The user-defined name of the device group to create or modify.
notification_key Required (except for create operation, string Unique identifier of the device group. This value is returned in the response for a successful create operation, and is required for all subsequent operations on the device group.
registration_ids Required, array of strings The device tokens to add or remove. If you remove all existing registration tokens from a device group, FCM deletes the device group.

Sending messages to device groups

To send messages to device groups, use the HTTP v1 API. If you are currently sending to device groups using the deprecated legacy send APIs for HTTP or XMPP, or any of the older versions of the Firebase Admin SDK for Node.js based on the legacy protocols, we strongly recommend that you migrate to the HTTP v1 API at the earliest opportunity. The legacy send APIs will be disabled and removed in June 2024.

Sending messages to a device group is very similar to sending messages to an individual device, using the same method to authorize send requests. Set the token field to the group notification key:

REST

POST https://fcm.googleapis.com/v1/projects/myproject-b5ae1/messages:send HTTP/1.1

Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Bearer ya29.ElqKBGN2Ri_Uz...HnS_uNreA

{
   "message":{
      "token":"APA91bGHXQBB...9QgnYOEURwm0I3lmyqzk2TXQ",
      "data":{
        "hello": "This is a Firebase Cloud Messaging device group message!"
      }
   }
}

cURL command

curl -X POST -H "Authorization: Bearer ya29.ElqKBGN2Ri_Uz...HnS_uNreA" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{
"message":{
   "data":{
     "hello": "This is a Firebase Cloud Messaging device group message!"
   },
   "token":"APA91bGHXQBB...9QgnYOEURwm0I3lmyqzk2TXQ"
}}' https://fcm.googleapis.com/v1/projects/myproject-b5ae1/messages:send