10 years later, I haven’t found a better replacement for Pushbullet

Pushbullet runs on the phone in hand

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As a journalist writing about some of the best Android smartphones, I typically have a phone or a dozen at any given time. Some have personal accounts logged in, others work accounts, while still others can be used for very specific use cases. Sounds funny? Not quite.

Making sure you don’t miss any notifications or text messages is a daily problem if you’re lugging around multiple Android phones like I am. I used Pushbullet to accomplish this task. However, the notification mirroring service goes far beyond simple and easy notification mirroring. I’ve connected it to servers, I use it for file sharing and more. There have been several Pushbullet alternatives and competitors over the years, but ten years later the OG is still my favorite.

Are you still using Pushbullet?

220 votes

One stop notification hub

Pushbullet SMS synchronization

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

I don’t know about you, but I often hold my phone still when I’m concentrating and chasing a deadline. However, this usually means important text messages or notifications are missing. As a Mac user, my ability to send notifications from my phone to my computer is somewhat limited unless I’m using an iPhone.

Pushbullet comes into play for Mac users to enable deeper integration with Android phones.

With the Pushbullet extension installed on my browser, notifications from all my phones are conveniently synced both within the browser and to my Mac’s notifications hub. With Pushbullet I can interact with these notifications to send quick replies in supported apps like WhatsApp. So if I get a text message from a friend or family member, I can reply or ignore it right from my computer without interrupting my flow. For my use case, I prefer to take a look at notifications and respond directly from my phone, but the functionality is there when you need it.

My personal link repository

PushBullet file sharing

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

While notification sharing is typically Pushbullet’s most popular feature, I found another use case for the service. You never know when inspiration will strike, and all too often it happens to me when scrolling through news apps or perusing the comments section of a social media thread. Years ago, I would email myself links for interesting apps, services, or even conversations on social media. But that was before I started using Pushbullet. Since then I’ve been using the service to transfer notes, files or links between my phone and PC.

I’ve been using Pushbullet for years to blast links of interest, notes, files, and more from both the web and my computer.

Occasionally I make notes on my phone’s notepad and use Pushbullet to send them to my computer. Likewise, I use Pushbullet several times a week to beam photos from my laptop, my smartphone or vice versa. Considering Android’s terrible file management support on Macs, Pushbullet has been a godsend for faster transfer of photos, documents, and various media files.

Continue reading: Android file sync is broken. Here’s how I work around it.

I know it’s not the ideal solution, but my Pushbullet account is a long-running, scrollable history of interesting information I found on the web. Now, if only Pushbullet came up with a built-in full-featured note-taking feature, Note Note.

API integrations

Pushbullet API integration

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

An underrated feature of Pushbullet is its awesome API. I’ve connected the service to various web apps and even my Home Assistant installation to beam notifications for downloads, uploads, status changes and more.

The notification mirroring service has use cases beyond smartphones, including web servers and smart home integration.

In the case of my Home Assistant installation, the Home Automation Suite remains almost entirely disconnected from the broader internet. Still, with the Pushbullet integration, I can still get important updates on the go. Meanwhile, Pushbullet has been a critical tool for other services as they don’t support direct notification means at all. So when my media server starts a download, completes a download, or deletes something, thanks to Pushbullet’s API, I know exactly what it’s up to.

One of my favorite use cases is APKMirror’s tracking of cutting-edge APKs, thanks to its tight integration with Pushbullet. It’s just one of dozens of web integrations that have been so crucial to how I use my phone.

There is beauty in simplicity

Connect App vs Pushbullet

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Yes, I know Join. Before you slam me for using PushBullet over the darling of notification mirroring apps, listen to me. I tried Join. I know it’s a much more powerful solution. However, all this power comes with an equally complicated interface. While some users might find the effort worth it, Pushbullet’s clean UI and simpler, more focused user experience works better for me. As a fan of open source software, I’ve also dabbled with KDE Connect before. However, I found the software relatively unreliable with timely notifications.

Join is a more powerful alternative, but the convoluted UI is overkill for my use.

The beauty of Pushbullet lies in its simplicity and speed. The UI doesn’t throw a hundred different options at you. Tap the extension, type some text or copy it from your clipboard, tap send, and that’s it. The Android app works similarly. Additionally, Pushbullet’s API allows me to integrate it with my web server in just a few clicks. Yes, I know Join can do that. But again, it’s all about ease of use, rock-solid reliability, and speed – things where PushBullet shines.

It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done

Pushbullet shows followed channels 1

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

For all its simplicity and seamless usability, Pushbullet isn’t quite perfect. For one, I’d like to see local LAN-based syncing for devices connected to the same network. That would make the lightning fast service even faster. Additionally, the company retired its iOS app a few years ago and made no effort to bring it back. For a service originally designed to unify all your devices, the lack of iOS support is disheartening, and I miss the ability to have the same notifications available on my iPad. Combine that with a rapid pace of feature development and you might think Pushbullet is abandonware when it isn’t.

Despite the rapid pace of feature development, I see Pushbullet as a de facto install on every new phone.

In almost a decade of use, there are very few services and apps that have stuck with me and have been installed on every new phone de facto. Pushbullet is one of them. Despite its limitations and bugs, the added utility is vital for power users like me, and I don’t see myself switching to another app any time soon.