Bottom Line: Pushover is an app that specializes in getting push notifications to your iOS or Android device.

This post started as an email, but I decided that Pushover is cool enough to deserve a quick post.

It’s basically an app that specialized in getting push notifications to your iOS or Android device. For iOS, it’s $4, but it’s also a “universal” app, so if you have an iPad it will also have a aesthetically pleasing display there (instead of running in 2x mode).

One of the easiest and most basic ways to use Pushover is email triggers — it gives you a special email address, and anything sent to that address will trigger a notification. As an example, I used this during interview season for medical school. I’m going into emergency medicine, and residency interviews are competitive. Some schools will have their interview slots full within hours of sending out invitations, so time is of the essence when it comes to responding to an interview invitation. I had given my Gmail address to ERAS so that the interview-relevant emails were sent there, and I set up a Gmail filter to find emails matching the general pattern of the ERAS interview invitations

from:([email protected]) interview

and set those up to forward to my Pushover email. This means that I got a push notification on my iPhone as soon as I got an interview invitation, and as a consequence I had little trouble responding in a very timely manner.

Note that with iOS6’s “VIP” feature, you could save yourself $4 by just setting up a contact ([email protected]), setting them as a VIP, and then you’d get a bit more exciting notification when something came from them. On the flip side, my VIP notifications don’t seem to be making my phone vibrate… I’m not sure why that is, but without a vibration, I probably would have never noticed the notification while working in clinic.

Pushover has way more to offer than just email notifications, though. One really cool feature (actually, it’s what prompted me to purchase) is integration with IFTTT. If you don’t know about IFTTT… check it out, and here are a few of my personal IFTTT recipes, the ones I’ve made public. Using IFTTT and Pushover together, you can set up push notifications for all kinds of things (like the weather — one of my favs).

Additionally, there are a wide variety of plugins available, like its plugin for Growl and for WordPress. One of the coolest features for advanced users is implementing the Pushover API to use push notifications in your own scripts. It’s surprisingly easy to understand, well documented, and soon you could have your local machine running scripts that notify you of events instantly, wherever you are.