I’ve been curious about what you can do with the Notifications pane (panel?) on the right side of my Mac system. Can you show me some basic customizations, Dave?
You ask a great question because too few people pay attention to the Notifications Center on their Mac systems, not realizing that it offers a great place to peek at your day and what’s going on. It’s also a place where you can see any notifications that you might have missed too (did you even realize that was a possibility?) What’s interesting is that it’s identical in some way to the notification window you can get when you tap-drag down from the top edge on an Apple iPhone or iPad. No coincidence there, of course.
Having said that, there’s not a ton of customization you can do with the Notification Center. You can turn off notifications entirely for specific applications in the Notifications System Preferences… window, so let’s start with that.
Go to Apple > System Preferences… > Notifications:
Notice the very bottom choice, by the way: “Notification Center sort order” and “Recents”. Also notice Do Not Disturb, which I really like; it turns off notifications entirely when you’d rather not get interruptions. And don’t forget, you can do this when you’re studying or focused on a work project too, it’s not just for late night.
Choose a specific program on the left side, however, and you can change or even completely turn off notifications:
Where you have more flexibility is in the Notifications Center itself. Pull it out from the right side by clicking on the three horizontal bars on the menu bar:
You might have seen this hundreds of times without ever clicking. That’s okay. Click this time.
Now a vertical window the height of your screen opens up:
I’ve trimmed some of the screen shots down, but there’s no side-stepping that these are narrow, tall images!
Notice on the very top that there are two choices: Today and Notifications. Notifications you’ve already seen how to control with the System Preferences window, so let’s focus on Today (which is my default view anyway). The very top section offers a smart summary of what’s happening right now: it’s light snow outside and I have a calendar event Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal that’s already happening. Even if you look at nothing else, this is a great summary.
Below it, however, I get a much bigger view of my calendar then some stock info and the market’s up, if only by a tiny bit. That’s good.
But perhaps you’d prefer to have other things in your Today view? You can do that by clicking on the “Edit” button on the very bottom. Now our narrow window doubles in width:
More importantly, notice that each segment on the left side also now has a red delete button and a three-horizontal-line reorder drag handle. On the right side are information boxes you can add, the delete button lets you turn off segments of info (so if you don’t use your calendar, for example, you can get rid of that big calendar display).
Move some things around, delete some other things, and your view can change quite a bit:
Fiddle with things, move them around, and when you’re done and want to see how it looks, click on the “Done” button on the very bottom of the screen. That’s it. Easy, and yet darn useful!
Learn more about customizing and editing your Notifications Center at Apple.com here: Notifications on MacOS X.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about the Mac since the days of the Apple II. Well, not here on AskDaveTaylor, though. Anyway, I do have a lot of MacOS X help here on the site, so please do check it out!