How To Take Control of macOS Notifications?

Do you want to learn How To Take Control of macOS Notifications? Are you annoyed by how quickly the banners appearing in the screen’s upper-right corner to tell you about notifications on macOS go away? Has it ever gotten on someone’s nerves? Is that person so annoyed by macOS notifications and multitasking that they feel the need to write an 826-word attack against the platform that many of their Verge coworkers prefer?

Well, I might be able to help you make it a little less bothersome. All you have to do is choose which app notifications you want to keep on-screen, which ones you want to hide automatically, and which ones you’d rather only see as a red badge on your dock.

A note: I used a Mac with macOS Ventura to write these steps. If you have macOS Monterey or an older version, the steps and screens you see may be a little different.

Notification settings for your screen

By going to the notification settings, you can change how your Mac shows notifications:

How To Take Control of macOS Notifications
How To Take Control of macOS Notifications? (Source)
  • Start by opening System Settings.
  • Click on “Messages.”

At the top, you’ll find the Notification Center’s settings, which let you change how notifications work worldwide. You can change any of the following:

  • Show sneak peeks: You can choose Always, When Unlocked, or Never from a drop-down menu. These options let you choose when you want app notifications to show you the actual content, like the text of a text message. Choose Never if you want complete privacy. When Unlocked lets you see the message whenever you want, except when your Mac is locked.
  • Allow notifications even when the screen is off: If your Mac’s screen goes to sleep, you might not want it to keep flashing back on every time you get a notification, so you can turn that feature off. Or, turn your Mac on if you want it to tell you about everything.
  • When the screen is locked, you can get alerts:
  • If you turn this off, your computer won’t let you know about new notifications when you’re not at the keyboard or when your computer is locked (either because it’s not being used or because you’ve done something like press Control + Command + Q).
  • Allow notifications when mirroring or sharing the display: If you’re on a lot of calls where you share your screen or if you’re running a PowerPoint in a conference room, you might want to turn this setting off so that people don’t see annoying notifications. Unless you want your Slack or Teams direct messages to pop up…
  • Settings for apps that send out alerts

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Notification settings for apps

On the same screen where you set up notifications, you can see a list of your apps. Each of these apps has its own settings, which give you a lot of freedom over how (or if) you want to be notified. For these changes to be made:

How To Take Control of macOS Notifications? (Source)
  • Click the app that you want to change. You might want to check out Messages, Mail, or a work communication app like Slack or Teams.
  • At the top of the page, you can turn notifications for the app on or off by toggling the Allow notifications switch. If you turn it off, the app won’t make any sounds, and the rest of the options will be greyed out.

If you have the app send you notifications, you can select the type of alert you want to see in the screen’s upper-right corner. You can do one of three things:

  • None: You won’t see a banner, but there are other ways you could find out. This works well for the Mail app, as long as you don’t mind the number badge on the dock icon, which might make you nervous. My one says 30,000, which is fine with me.
  • Banners: This is what most people do. It swings the alert in from the side, and after five seconds, it goes away. It’s great for things like the Messages app, where you might want to glance at a friend’s text but don’t want it to stick around like an unwanted guest.
  • Warning: The banner stays up. Use this if, for example, you want your Slack messages to stay on the screen until you open them or move them to the right with a click and drag or a two-finger swipe on the trackpad.

After you decide what kind of banner you want (or if you don’t want a banner), the app will give you other options you can change. For example, you can make notifications less obvious by setting Show previews to Never in the settings for a certain app.

You can also make it, so app pop-ups don’t automatically group in the Notification Center. The Notification Center is the sidebar you can get to by clicking the upper-right corner of your screen or swiping two fingers from the right on your trackpad.

Choose how long a banner sticks around

What if you want the banner to stay up for a shorter or longer amount of time? Apple won’t let you do that, which is a pain. But if you’re using a Mac with macOS Catalina (10.15) or an older version, you can use a Terminal command to change how long a banner notification stays up. If you want to try this choice, do as I say:

  • Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities or using Spotlight to look for it (via the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the screen). You can also use the shortcut of Command + Space Bar.
  • Type the following command into Terminal, but don’t hit return yet:
  • The “12” at the end means you want your banners to stay for 12 seconds. The system is already set to five seconds. Change the number to however many seconds you want.
  • Hit Return. The change has been made, but you will need to restart your system for it to take effect.

Your banners will stay up for as long as you put in seconds. Again, it’s important to note that this doesn’t work with newer versions of macOS, starting with macOS Big Sur. Also, this change affects all apps, so you can’t change how long notifications stay for specific apps.

So, take some time to look at all your apps in the notification settings and decide which ones you want to hear from and how you want to see notifications.

Not everyone will be happy with having your notifications on your screen until you swipe them away. A senior editor at Verge told me, “No, that’s not what I want.” “My screen is full right now.”

Stay tuned to our website  for more updates.