How to Get the Most out of the Mac Notification Center

Updated on November 17, 2017
Kevin Alan Blake profile image

I love Apple devices and enjoy giving tips on how to use and maintain them.

You probably use your Notification Center to check the weather forecast, make quick calculations, view calendar events, and get reminders. If that`s all you do with your Notification Center, you are just scratching the surface. This Mac feature has way more potential. In this article, we`ll show you four extra perks hidden in the Notification Center.

1. Have Do Not Disturb Mode at Hand

Do Not Disturb Mode turns off notifications, preventing your Mac from pinging you with alerts and banners. If you need some peace and quiet, it`s better to have Do Not Disturb Mode on hand and adjust it to your schedule. Here`s how you can do it quickly.

To enable this feature, access the Notification Center and scroll down until you see the Do Not Disturb toggle. If you switched off the default settings for scroll direction, then you will need to scroll up instead. The mode will appear at the top of the Notification Center bar.

A quick shortcut is to hold the Option key and click on the Notification Center icon in the menu bar. It`ll change to gray, which indicates that the mode is enabled. In this case, you don`t even need to open the Notification Center bar.

You can adjust Do Not Disturb Mode to your schedule and set up specific times for your Mac to keep silent.

This can be done by opening the Notification Center and scrolling down to the bottom. You`ll see a small round sign in the bottom right corner.

Click on it to open Settings. You`ll see Turn on Do Not Disturb and the from-to margins beneath. Select the hours and check the box on the left.

2. Need Custom Notifications?

Custom notifications serve as quick reminders that you can create yourself. You can easily do it via the Terminal.

Press Command and Spacebar simultaneously and type in Terminal in the search line. You can also go to Finder, open the Applications folder, click on Utilities, and then click on Terminal.

In the Terminal window, enter the following command: sudo gem install terminal-notifier. Then press Enter.

By entering this command, you installed new software that enables custom notifications.

After that, you need to enter the following command (don`t close Terminal after you typed in the first command): terminal-notifier -message "Your Message Goes Here."

That last segment will obviously be replaced with the text for your notification. Don't forget about that. Otherwise, you`ll be receiving “Your Message Goes Here notifications.

After you`re done, hit the Enter key again to confirm your command.

From now on, you`ll get custom notifications inside the Notification Center.

3. Let Alerts Linger Longer on Your Mac

By default, banner alerts remain visible on your Mac for about five seconds before disappearing. If this time isn`t enough for you to cast a casual glance at them and you want them to linger longer, do the following.

Open Terminal (via Spotlight or Finder).

Enter the following command: defaults write com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime 30.

Instead of 30, add the time you want in seconds.

In case you want a banner alert to stay around until you click on it, type in this command instead: defaults write com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime 86400.

After you`ve done it, you need to sign out and then sign in again to apply these changes. If you want to get back to default settings, enter: defaults delete com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime.

4. Disable Notification Center

There are some situations where you don`t need the Notification Center at all. For example, if you need your Mac to run faster during the gameplay. To disable it, go to the Terminal and enter this command: launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist.

After that, you`ll see that nothing happens when you click on the menu bar icon. If you want to get your Notification Center back, enter the following command in the Terminal window: launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist.

Disabling and enabling the Notification Center by entering either command is a cool trick, especially if you do it very often.

Now You're the King of Your Notification Center

With these simple tricks, you can get the maximum use out of your Notification Center and make your life way easier. If you`re afraid of changes, start with the Do Not Disturb Mode. Unlike Terminal commands, this trick makes minimal changes to your Mac. Try it out, it`s super convenient!

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