Why am I not getting notifications on my phone?

Push Notifications - how do they work?

Rachio uses APNs (Apple Push Notification service) and Google GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) to send push notifications to your device. Push notification data flows in one direction (from Rachio, outbound to your device). Neither Apple nor Google guarantees the order of messages that are received. According to Apple, "Delivery of notifications is a 'best effort', not guaranteed." We do send these notifications as soon as the schedules start/stop/complete, but have no control over when they actually arrive on the phone or in what order.

As a metaphor, think of notifications like mailing a letter. We send your mail (notifications) to your local Post Office (Notification Service). From there your mail is distributed to a mailman (Apple/Google) to be brought to your home (device). For the most part your mail (notifications) is delivered to your house without any issues, but occasionally your mail gets lost, or there is bad weather and the mail is late, or the mailman accidentally neglects to leave you some mail. This is essentially what is happening when we send notifications and they arrive on your device in non-sequential order, get delayed, or one is not received. There is so much data being transmitted among these channels that the information can sometimes become a little convoluted.

1) We send push notifications to your device based on the Preferences that are set in your Rachio App

2) Push notifications are received by PubNub (data stream network), and subsequently sent to Apple or Google accordingly

3) Apple/Google receive push notifications and proceed to send them to your device

4) Push notifications are received on your device

A couple things of note to help further understand this process:

  • Unfortunately once we send out the notifications, the remaining variables are out of our hands and we cannot promise when the notifications will be received on your device (indicated by the dotted line in the image above). 
  • We use UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) which is linked to the time zone in your device. So if you are on vacation, the notifications will be in whatever time zone your phone/device is in, and not in the time zone where your Rachio device is located.
    • For example: If your home is in Florida, EST (Eastern Standard), and you have a watering time scheduled to run at 3 AM EST, but you are vacationing in Colorado, MST (Mountain Standard), the push notification for this watering time starting will indicate 1 AM, which is in fact 3 AM EST.
  • Your phone will need to have a data plan that is supported by a network to receive notifications. Also, depending on your network strength, the notifications may take longer to receive.
  • If you are confused by the notifications that you are receiving, please make sure to check your device History (Device/Schedule Updates & Watering History) - these will always tell you what your controller did and did not do. If the History is incorrect according to the settings you have setup, then there may be an issue (which Rachio Support will gladly troubleshoot for you).

If you are not receiving notifications, we have provided the following steps below to reset them:

There are certain instances where an app that has push capabilities stops leveraging Apple’s Push Notification Services (APNS). This can happen for a few different reasons. But there’s no error correcting for this process, so you'll want to occasionally reset the app back to what amounts to a factory default status in order to get Push working again. The first time an app is opened, it will register for push notifications and prompt for receiving push notifications for the app. This prompt never occurs again unless the app is uninstalled for a minimum of a day and then reinstalled. You can duplicate this functionality by simply deleting the app and then installing the app again after setting the Date & Time manually a day ahead of the current date.

You would do this with Apple by:

  1. Tap on the app and hold it until the the apps display an X.
  2. Tap the X to delete the app from your device.
  3. Turn the iOS device off completely.
  4. Turn the iOS device back on.
  5. Open the Settings app.
  6. Tap on General.
  7. Tap on Date & Time.
  8. Move the date ahead a day or more.
  9. Close the Date & Time Preferences.
  10. Turn the device off completely again and turn it back on.
  11. Open the App Store and download your app again.
  12. Open the App.
  13. Respond to the Push notification dialog.
  14. Set your Date & Time back.
  15. Enjoy!

Here's a 3rd party article on the steps required.

You would do this with Android by:

  1. Tap and hold the app until until you see “Uninstall” and “Remove” at the top of the screen.
  2. Drag the app to the “Uninstall” button.
  3. Tap “Yes” to confirm.
  4. Turn the Android device off completely.
  5. Turn the Android device back on.
  6. Open the Settings app.
  7. Tap on General or navigate to “System”.
  8. Tap on Date & Time.
  9. Move the date ahead a day or more
    • If it is set to “Auto-date & time”, uncheck it first to do so.
  10. Close the Settings menu.
  11. Turn the device off completely again and turn it back on.
  12. Open the Google Play Store and download your app again.
  13. Open the App.
  14. Respond to the Push notification dialog.
  15. Set your Date & Time back (to automatic if you wish).
  16. Enjoy!
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