Take Control of the Notification Center

If you are like most people, you have a love/hate relationship with the Notification Center on your Mac. These little pop-up alerts keep you up to date on all the most important news and information, like when a critical business call was missed, the availability of a must-have app update, or what time to pick up your daughter from gymnastics. It can be a very valuable and time saving tool, but can also be overwhelming and extremely distracting. There is nothing worse than getting bombarded with Alerts, Banners and dings, notifying you of the latest deals from Target, the millionth news update describing the most controversial government conspiracies, or your daily horoscope (which never seems to take a positive spin anymore).  Meanwhile, you are on an important conference call with your boss while attempting to write up that high priority report that is due by the end of the week. Gone are the days when you can just say “take me off your list” and get back to a quiet, interruption-free life.  You don’t remember signing up for this!  How did they find you?  Although it seems you are destined to live on useless information overload for the foreseeable future, on the contrary, with these quick tips from the IT support experts at Boxaid, managing the notification center on your Mac is quite simple and worth the effort.

Where is the Notification Center, Anyway?

If you don’t know how to access it, take a look at the upper right of your screen.  This is where these notifications show up as Banners or Alerts. Banners appear on the screen and go away after a short period of time.  Alerts show up in the same spot, but stay on the screen until dismissed. To top it off, each popup may or may not be accompanied by a chime.    Notification Center Banners and Alerts   If you currently have an Alert on your screen, feel free to dismiss it and take a look at the small icon on the top right, consisting of three dots and three horizontal lines.  Click it. Where to Find the Notification Center on a Mac   Once clicked, a long vertical window will slide over from the right. This is your Notification Center.  It should look something like this, displaying a column of important, or not so important, updates that you may have missed.    MAC NOTIFICATION CENTER WINDOW

Now That I Found the Notification Center, How Do I Change the Settings?

Direct your eyes to the bottom of the Alert window.  There is a tiny icon that looks like a gear.  Clicking on it will take you to the System Preferences window. You may recognize this symbol as the one on the System Preferences widget itself. That is a clear indication that it will bring you to that specific area to change the parameters.   System Preferences Access from Notifications on Mac

What Needs to be Changed in the System Preferences?

After clicking the icon, the System Preferences window will open up, giving you full control over your Notification Center.  It should look something like this: SYSTEM PREFERENCES FOR NOTIFICATIONS As you can see, there are some great features here.  Do Not Disturb is invaluable. It controls the entire Notification Center as a whole. You may be working from home and can’t be interrupted all day by pointless alerts. Set it for business hours and these notifications will be blocked until Do Not Disturb is turned off. Direct it to go into Do Not Disturb mode to get a good night’s sleep, some interruption-free family time, or to fully focus on that final, must-see episode of your current Netflix binge. You can even program it to allow or block calls when activated.

Can I Change the Alerts for Each Notification Center App Individually?

To the left, you will find a list of all of the apps that send you notifications and the types of notifications that are sent.  This is where you can tailor the notifications to your individual needs.  Some of these, you most likely don’t even remember signing up for.  Some notifications, however, are necessary to keep your organized and informed.   Individual app control for notifications   Clicking one of the icons in this list will give you a number of options to control your notifications.  From muting alerts completely, to receiving banners, popups and sounds, each app can be configured however you see fit.  Not only can you control the Notification Center from this window, but also the popups you receive from more important communication tools, such as FaceTime, Mail, Calendar, and Messages.       App Notification Window Preferences

You’re Done!  You Managed the Notification Center!

Once you have customized the Notification Center to your specifications, breathe easy!  You will no longer be plagued by those annoying popups and sounds, and will only have to deal with what is truly important.  If some new company slips through the cracks and starts sending you alerts, you now know how to fix it in a snap!  Managing the Notification Center on you Mac may seems like a daunting task, but by following these simple steps, you will be on your way to a peaceful and interruption-free day in no time.  
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