How to Turn on Push Notification in Lion’s iCal Server

Lion Server’s push notification uses an SSL encryption certificate, one where Apple itself is the certificate signing authority. When you turn on push notification in Lion Server, the Server app contacts Apple’s Push Notification Service to get a certificate that will be accepted by clients running Mac OS X Lion or iOS. (For other clients, you have to manually accept the certificates.)

Because Apple is the certificate signer, it requires that you use an Apple ID and password. This is the same type of ID that you use to buy songs in iTunes or software from the App Store.

It’s not a good idea to use your personal Apple ID, however. Instead, your organization should have its own Apple ID. If you don’t have one, the Server app can guide you through getting one.

Without push notification, calendar clients will frequently ask the server if there are updates. With push notification, the client never contacts the server. The server contacts the client only when there’s a new event invitation or a change. This lightens the load on the server.

Follow these steps to turn on push notifications:

  1. Make sure that you have turned on the iCal Server.

    In the Server app, click the iCal icon.

    Click the big switch to the On position.

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  2. In the Server app, under Hardware, select the Lion Server that you want to run push notifications on.

  3. Click the Settings tab.

  4. Click the Select Enable Apple Push Notifications check box.

  5. Type your organization’s Apple ID and password and click the Get Certificate button.

    If your organization doesn’t have its own Apple ID, click the Create One Now link and follow the directions. Then enter your Apple ID in Step 4.

  6. Click the OK button.

If you have an existing encryption certificate that has expired, click the Edit button next to Enable Apple Push Notifications. Click the Renew button and then follow the directions.

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