I'm trying to figure out which is used between DeviceID and Contactkey when MobilePush sends token to APNS or FCM

What I understand about the steps in sending push notification,

  1. SDK requests System Token and Device Token from each Device OS
  2. Device OS request needed token value to PNS(APNS/FCM)
  3. Device OS return the token value to SDK
  4. SDK sends token value to marketing cloud
  5. Marketing cloud uses token value to send Push Notification via PNS(APNS/FCM)

So my question is in the 5th step above, when marketing cloud requests PNS(APNS/FCM) to send push notification, which one is used for token value? DeviceID or Contactkey?

I'm trying to find an official documentation for this. Thanks

1 Answer 1


Neither. Your Device/Contact Registration is a collection of values that include your push token, Device ID, Contact Key, et al.

There is only 1 value that can be used to send a push to a device: the push token. How that token is resolved is up to you -- you create segmented audience lists for the push messages. You might send to all users of the application. You might target a specific user. You might do something in between, but Google/Apple only understand the push token.

  • Hi thank you for this information! May I ask if I can be referred to any documentation so I can share with my coworker? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks
    – Hailey
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 23:50

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