Send a test message to a backgrounded app

To get started with FCM, build out the simplest use case: sending a test notification message from the Notifications composer to a development device when the app is in the background on the device. This page lists all the steps to achieve this, from setup to verification — it may cover steps you already completed if you have set up a Flutter app for FCM.

Install the FCM plugin

  1. Install and initialize the Firebase SDKs for Flutter if you haven't already done so.

  2. From the root of your Flutter project, run the following command to install the plugin:

    flutter pub add firebase_messaging
  3. Once complete, rebuild your Flutter application:

    flutter run

Access the registration token

To send a message to a specific device, you need to know that device's registration token. Because you'll need to enter the token in a field in the Notifications console to complete this tutorial, make sure to copy the token or securely store it after you retrieve it.

To retrieve the current registration token for an app instance, call getToken(). If notification permission has not been granted, this method will ask the user for notification permissions. Otherwise, it returns a token or rejects the future due to an error.

final fcmToken = await FirebaseMessaging.instance.getToken();

Send a test notification message

  1. Install and run the app on the target device. On Apple devices, you'll need to accept the request for permission to receive remote notifications.

  2. Make sure the app is in the background on the device.

  3. In the Firebase console, open the Messaging page.

  4. If this is your first message, select Create your first campaign.

    1. Select Firebase Notification messages and select Create.
  5. Otherwise, on the Campaigns tab, select New campaign and then Notifications.

  6. Enter the message text. All other fields are optional.

  7. Select Send test message from the right pane.

  8. In the field labeled Add an FCM registration token, enter the registration token you obtained in a previous section of this guide.

  9. Select Test.

After you select Test, the targeted client device (with the app in the background) should receive the notification.

For insight into message delivery to your app, see the FCM reporting dashboard, which records the number of messages sent and opened on Apple and Android devices, along with data for "impressions" (notifications seen by users) for Android apps.

Handling interaction

When users tap a notification, the default behavior on both Android & iOS is to open the application. If the application is terminated, it will be started, and if it is in the background, it will be brought to the foreground.

Depending on the content of a notification, you may want to handle the user's interaction when the application opens. For example, if a new chat message is sent using a notification and the user selects it, you may want to open the specific conversation when the application opens.

The firebase-messaging package provides two ways to handle this interaction:

  1. getInitialMessage(): If the application is opened from a terminated state, this method returns a Future containing a RemoteMessage. Once consumed, the RemoteMessage will be removed.
  2. onMessageOpenedApp: A Stream which posts a RemoteMessage when the application is opened from a background state.

To ensure a smooth experience for your users, you should handle both scenarios. The code example below outlines how this can be achieved:

class Application extends StatefulWidget {
  State<StatefulWidget> createState() => _Application();

class _Application extends State<Application> {
  // In this example, suppose that all messages contain a data field with the key 'type'.
  Future<void> setupInteractedMessage() async {
    // Get any messages which caused the application to open from
    // a terminated state.
    RemoteMessage? initialMessage =
        await FirebaseMessaging.instance.getInitialMessage();

    // If the message also contains a data property with a "type" of "chat",
    // navigate to a chat screen
    if (initialMessage != null) {

    // Also handle any interaction when the app is in the background via a
    // Stream listener

  void _handleMessage(RemoteMessage message) {
    if (['type'] == 'chat') {
      Navigator.pushNamed(context, '/chat',
        arguments: ChatArguments(message),

  void initState() {

    // Run code required to handle interacted messages in an async function
    // as initState() must not be async

  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    return Text("...");

How you handle interaction depends on your application setup. The example above shows a basic example of using a StatefulWidget.

Next steps

Send messages to foregrounded apps

Once you have successfully sent notification messages while your app is in the background, see Receive Messages in a Flutter App to get started sending to foregrounded apps.

Go beyond notification messages

To add other, more advanced behavior to your app, you'll need a server implementation.

Then, in your app client: