Whether you are hard at work or just browsing the Web, macOS notifications can often feel like they are nothing but an interruption. The last thing you want is to watch a movie in full-screen mode on your Mac, only to be interrupted by news, phone or email alerts. Fortunately, Apple has enabled a few ways to better manage notifications on your Mac computer.
Knowing how to handle these notifications, especially for new Mac users, can be especially important for your computing experience. Here are some ways to better manage your notifications in macOS.
Most notifications will appear on your Mac in the form of a small pop-up in the right corner of your screen. Typically, this is either a banner or an alert. The former will appear on the screen for a brief moment and then disappear. On the other hand, an alert will stay on screen until you take action. To view past notifications, look for the Notification Center icon at the top right of the screen. It looks like three bars stacked on top of each other with the middle being slightly shorter.
Some alerts, like those from the Reminders App, will allow an option for snoozing. Like the alarm clock on your nightstand, this alert will reappear on your desktop fifteen minutes later. The default timeframe is set by Apple, but you can change it.
Turn on Do Not Disturb
If you really want to put a stop to all notifications, if only for a while, activate “Do Not Disturb” mode. When enabled, this feature stops all notifications dead in their tracks. Fortunately, these notifications do not disappear entirely, as they are still visible in the Notification Center.
1. Hold down the Option key (or Alt key on an external keyboard), and click on the Notification Center icon. That’s the three lines at the very top right of your menu bar. When you do this, the icon will turn from black to gray, which means “Do Not Disturb” is active. It will remain active until midnight or until you manually turn it off by repeating the same steps.
2. Another method is to swipe right with two fingers on your MacBook trackpad or Magic Trackpad (version 1 or 2), which brings up the Notification Center. Once it appears on your screen, swipe down, again with two fingers. You will now see two toggle options: “Night Shift” and “Do Not Disturb.” Toggle DND on. The same midnight timeframe is active here as well or until you repeat the process and turn it back on.
3. Lastly, you can choose the more complicated of the three steps and set up a keyboard shortcut. To do this, head to “System Preferences” and click on the “Keyboard” icon, then the “Shortcuts” tab. In the column on the left, look for the option for “Mission Control” and select it. Now you can click on a checkbox that is next to “Show Notification Center,” and choose a key combination. Whatever combination you press will enable and disable the Notification Center until you remove or delete the shortcut.
4. But wait, there is one more option for Do Not Disturb that should not be forgotten. Did you know you can set up DND to activate automatically? To enable this, head to the Apple logo at the top left of your screen. Select “System Preferences,” and in the top row search for “Notifications.” In the screen that appears, there are a variety of options available including setting up automatic timing for DND, disabling it when the Mac is being mirrored to a TV and more.
Managing Notifications by App
If you don’t want to pause or set Do Not Disturb as active, you always have the option of adjusting notification settings on a per-app basis.
Head to System Preferences and click on Notifications in the top row. All of the apps that have the ability to send notifications are available to review. You can now go through each app and disable all notifications or choose if you want a banner or alert.
Finally, you can set up a number of customization options including playing a sound, showing notifications on the lock screen or showing the notification preview.
The Notification Center in macOS is fairly robust. For now, you can adjust, enable, disable and shut off notifications to your heart’s content. For the extreme, you can completely remove the Notification Center to eliminate all distraction. Together with Screen Time, you will have better productivity when working on your Mac.
Do you use notifications on your Mac? What are your favorite settings?