Skip to main content

Your guide to navigating the FCM deprecation 

If you’ve developed an Android app, chances are you’ve been using Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) to send push notifications. You may even use FCM on iOS, Flutter, React Native, Expo, browsers, and more. The service has long been the go-to option for push in so many applications that you might be using FCM and not even realize it! That’s why the coming FCM deprecation in June 2024 could wreak havoc for any brand that uses push notifications to connect with customers. 

But there’s no need to panic: you have options. Depending on your tech stack, engineering resources, and overall strategy, you might want to perform an FCM migration to newer Firebase APIs. Alternatively, this is a good time to look into other options for push messaging that better serve your needs. Either way, now’s the time to assess your situation and act. 

In this guide, we’ll cover: 

FCM deprecation: key facts

Firebase actually began deprecating several APIs for HTTP and XMPP in June 2023, but services using those legacy APIs have continued to run. As of June 2024, however, the legacy APIs will be fully removed. The bottom line is that you’ll no longer be able to send push notifications if you’re using the legacy APIs. 

To continue sending messages, you’ll need to migrate your custom code to work with the newer FCM HTTP v1 APIs or shift to a different solution for sending push notifications. Otherwise, you risk losing the ability to receive any push notifications in your apps.

FCM API deprecations

Any code that sends requests to the legacy FCM server will be affected by the coming FCM deprecation. That includes code you’ve written yourself and code in a third-party SDK you use or a tool you integrate with. 

FCM deprecation: impact on brands

The FCM deprecation puts you at risk of an interruption in sending push notifications—losing out on a crucial channel for communicating with your customers. That can cause dips in engagement in several ways. 

Messaging campaigns

If you use push to send promotions, feature announcements, or other marketing messages, it could undermine your messaging strategy. And that effect is amplified if you leverage push as part of automated workflows and/or a multi-channel messaging strategy. If your push notifications suddenly start failing, the structure of entire campaigns could fall apart. And don’t forget about the role of push for transactional messages and customer support interactions. If those notifications stop working after the FCM deprecation, your customers may feel like you’re ignoring them at crucial engagement points.  

Customer experience

Consider the potential impact of the FCM API deprecation on customer experience. If your push notifications alert people to important events within your app—like new messages, friend requests, or account activity—failed messages might impede customers’ ability to use your app effectively. For example, say you have a budgeting app that sends a push notification whenever there’s a new transaction in a customer’s bank account. Your customers rely on those push notifications as a core feature of your app. 

App functionality

Keep in mind that many other uses for push notifications might be invisible to customers, such as silently syncing your app with your backend database. If the FCM deprecation impacts your sends, it could cause a major problem for your app’s functionality or UX. 

FCM deprecation: developing your game plan

You need a strategy to ensure you don’t lose the ability to send push notifications after the FCM deprecation in June. Start by finding out exactly where and how your app is using FCM deprecated APIs: 

  • Your own code: Evaluate all your code to identify the FCM APIs and SDKs you’re currently using. Coordinate with multiple teams—engineering, product, marketing, customer success—so you don’t miss anything. 
  • Third-party SDKs: Review all third-party SDKs you use to determine whether any use FCM deprecated APIs. Search for info in any documentation, posts in community forums, and customer support resources. If any SDKs are affected, update to their latest versions. This task can be delegated to your engineering team to ensure proper implementation.
  • Third-party tools: Check with all the third-party services or tools you integrate with to find out how they’re handling the FCM deprecation. These tools may use FCM behind the scenes, so it’s worth reaching out to customer support for complete details. If they use any FCM legacy APIs, the deprecation should already be on their radar; ask about their strategy for addressing it. 

Once you understand the basics, you have two options for your FCM deprecation action plan: an FCM migration or finding an alternative push messaging provider. 

Option 1: Tackle your own FCM migration

You can certainly migrate to the newer HTTP v1 API yourself, and Firebase provides documentation for doing so. The differences between the FCM legacy APIs and the new ones are extensive—protocols, request payloads, and authentication have all changed. Depending on the complexity of your code base and the number of third-party SDKs and tools you use, performing an FCM migration could require a lot of time and engineering resources. 

If you go this route, you’ll need to migrate your code to new versions of third-party SDKs and potentially to new versions of third-party tools and services. Plan extensive testing after your migration work before you roll out your new code. 

A final consideration for FCM migration: there’s always a chance this won’t be the last time you need to update your code. You’ll have to remain aware of any FCM deprecations that happen in the future and be prepared to respond.

Option 2: Transition to a new messaging platform   

While the FCM deprecation may seem like a headache, it could also be an opportunity to take a more efficient approach to sending push notifications. Automated messaging platforms should already be on top of the FCM deprecation and will proactively address any additional changes. Instead of shouldering the burden of an FCM migration, you could choose a quality messaging platform that does all the lifting for you. Bonus: you’ll have future-proofed yourself to remain compatible with FCM. 

A messaging platform might also be a smart alternative to FCM if you want more functionality, flexibility, and features to power your customer engagement strategy. Platforms that support multi-channel messaging make it easier to build integrated campaigns across all the channels where you engage your customers. You also may find that a messaging platform lets you better tap into your customer data, dig deeper into analytics, and orchestrate more powerful customer journeys.  

When looking into automated messaging platforms, inquire about how they’re handling the current FCM legacy API deprecations, their strategy for ongoing FCM compatibility, and the process of migrating to their service. Journeys: mobile messaging and beyond

An FCM migration is a huge lift for developers. Many brands don’t have the engineering resources to devote to it, and even those that do will have to slow down other areas of development to deal with FCM API deprecations. Journeys is a powerful alternative to FCM and so much more: a fully-featured marketing automation platform that empowers you to create data-driven campaigns encompassing push, in-app, SMS, and email.

Journeys key features and benefits

Journeys brings together power and simplicity: enabling you to create complex, personalized campaigns without the need for engineering resources.  Just a few of the features our customers love:

  • Intuitive workflow builder makes it easy to build sophisticated campaigns across multiple channels
  • Custom campaign triggers allow you to unlock the power of your customer data for highly personalized journeys
  • Transactional messages in both push and email bring all of your customer messaging into a holistic workspace
  • Cross-device support means you can enact your mobile and web strategies within a single platform
  • Free unlimited mobile messaging (including push and in-app) ensures your messaging strategy scales as you grow 
  • Free access to Data Pipelines, our CDP, unifies your first-party data for a complete picture of your customers

How is handling the FCM deprecation

Journeys uses several push services, including FCM, behind-the-scenes to enable full multi-channel messaging. We’re already prepared for FCM’s deprecation, so our customers don’t have to do anything—now or in the future. 

For mobile app developers, this means you can set up your push and in-app messaging much faster by using Journeys instead of doing an FCM migration. No need to create a database to store device tokens, set up a server to send requests to the FCM server, update all your client-side code, or all the other time-intensive steps required to test and debug. Our engineers have it covered, and we regularly update our platform to ensure it remains up to date. 

How to migrate your push messaging to Journeys

To get up and running with Journeys, complete these simple steps:

  1. Import your existing user accounts and FCM device tokens into the platform
  2. Follow our getting started with push guide
  3. Install our mobile SDK into your app
  4. Identify profiles within your app

That’s it! No database, server, or complex client-side code to write. Now you can spend your time composing engaging messages with our rich push editor—and leveraging all the other features of the Journeys platform. 

Pro tip: If you have backend code that sends transactional push messages, it will also be impacted by the FCM deprecation. While most people will use our mobile SDKs for sending and receiving push notifications, don’t forget that our transactional push and email functionality in Journeys, as well as our backend SDKs, offer a seamless way to migrate your backend code to and future-proof your backend FCM integration. Work with your engineering team to explore these options and ensure a smooth transition.

FCM deprecation: an opportunity to level up your messaging strategy

The impending FCM deprecation has many brands reconsidering their options for push notifications, looking for FCM alternatives, and seizing the opportunity to optimize their workflows with a marketing automation platform. Instead of rebuilding your messaging infrastructure, imagine if you could invest your resources in what really matters: optimizing your product and enhancing customer engagement. 

By implementing Journeys, you can avoid the burden of an FCM migration and take your messaging strategy to the next level. Take Journeys for a test drive now with a free 14-day trial!

PS: Are you a small startup? Our startup program is designed to help you grow. Find out how it works!