ArchiveExpo SnackDiscord and ForumsNewsletter

Send notifications with FCM legacy server

Edit this page

Learn how to send notifications with FCM legacy server.

For documentation on communicating with the newer FCMv1 service, see Send notifications with FCMv1 and APNs. This guide is based on Google's documentation, and this section covers the basics to get you started.
Before sending a notification directly through FCM, you will need to obtain a device token.

Communicating with FCM is done by sending a POST request. However, before sending or receiving any notifications, you'll need to follow the steps to configure FCM to configure FCM and get your FCM-SERVER-KEY.

await fetch('https://fcm.googleapis.com/fcm/send', {
  method: 'POST',
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json',
    Authorization: `key=<FCM-SERVER-KEY>`,
  body: JSON.stringify({
    priority: 'normal',
    data: {
      experienceId: '@yourExpoUsername/yourProjectSlug',
      scopeKey: '@yourExpoUsername/yourProjectSlug',
      title: "📧 You've got mail",
      message: 'Hello world! 🌐',

The experienceId and scopeKey fields are required. Otherwise, your notifications will not go through to your app. FCM has a list of supported fields in the notification payload, and you can see which ones are supported by expo-notifications on Android by looking at the FirebaseRemoteMessage.

FCM also provides some server-side libraries in a few different languages you can use instead of raw fetch requests.

How to find FCM server key

Your FCM server key can be found by making sure you've followed the configuration steps, and instead of uploading your FCM key to Expo, you would use that key directly in your server (as the FCM-SERVER-KEY in the previous example).

Payload format

  "token": native device token string,
  "collapse_key": string that identifies notification as collapsible,
  "priority": "normal" || "high",
  "data": {
    "experienceId": "@yourExpoUsername/yourProjectSlug",
    "scopeKey": "@yourExpoUsername/yourProjectSlug",
    "title": title of your message,
    "message": body of your message,
    "channelId": the android channel ID associated with this notification,
    "categoryId": the category associated with this notification,
    "icon": the icon to show with this notification,
    "link": the link this notification should open,
    "sound": boolean or the custom sound file you'd like to play,
    "vibrate": "true" | "false" | number[],
    "priority": AndroidNotificationPriority, // https://docs.expo.dev/versions/latest/sdk/notifications/#androidnotificationpriority
    "badge": the number to set the icon badge to,
    "body": { object of key-value pairs }

Firebase notification types

There are two types of Firebase Cloud Messaging messages: notification and data messages.

  1. Notification messages are only handled (and displayed) by the Firebase library. They don't necessarily wake the app, and expo-notifications will not be made aware that your app has received any notification.

  2. Data messages are not handled by the Firebase library. They are immediately handed off to your app for processing. That's where expo-notifications interprets the data payload and takes action based on that data. In almost all cases, this is the type of notification you have to send.

If you send a message of type notification instead of data directly through Firebase, you won't know if a user interacted with the notification (no onNotificationResponse event available), and you won't be able to parse the notification payload for any data in your notification event-related listeners.

Using notification-type messages can be beneficial when you need a configuration option that is not yet exposed by expo-notifications. Generally, it may lead to less predictable situations than using data-type messages. However, you may need to report any issue you encounter directly to Google.

Below is an example of each type using Node.js Firebase Admin SDK to send data-type messages instead of notification-type:

const devicePushToken = /* ... */;
const options = /* ... */;

// ❌ The following payload has a root-level notification object and
// it will not trigger expo-notifications and may not work as expected.
    notification: {
      title: "This is a notification-type message",
      body: "`expo-notifications` will never see this 😢",
    data: {
      photoId: 42,

// ✅ There is no "notification" key in the root level of the payload
// so the message is a "data" message, thus triggering expo-notifications.
    data: {
      title: "This is a data-type message",
      message: "`expo-notifications` events will be triggered 🤗",
      // ⚠️ Notice the schema of this payload is different
      // than that of Firebase SDK. What is there called "body"
      // here is a "message". For more info see:
      // https://docs.expo.dev/versions/latest/sdk/notifications/#android-push-notification-payload-specification

      body:                              // As per Android payload format specified above, the
        JSON.stringify({ photoId: 42 }), // additional "data" should be placed under "body" key.