Change Notification Center preferences on a Mac

Notifications help you keep track of what's new. OS X shows your alerts in the upper-right corner of your screen, without interrupting what you're doing. You can access a list of your notifications by clicking the Notification Center icon in the menu bar.

Notifications options are configured in the Notifications pane of System Preferences.

To open Notifications preferences:

  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences > Notifications.
  • Click the settings icon  in the lower right corner of Notification Center to go directly to its preferences.

To configure options for apps:

  1. Highlight a Notifications-enabled app by clicking it in the In Notification Center section of the preference pane on the left side of the window.
  2. Choose the alert style for the app:
    • None – No alerts will be presented.
    • Banners – Show a temporary banner when new items occur.
    • Alert – Show an Alert that requires acknowledgement.
  3. Select or Deselect the "Show in Notification Center" option to decide if this app's notifications should appear in the Notifications Center.
    • Choose the number of recent items to appear from the pop-up menu.
  4. Check or uncheck "Badge app icon" option to show badges on the icon of the app in the Dock.
  5. Check or uncheck "Play sound when receiving notifications" for the Mac to play its alert sound.
    • The alert sound for notifications is configured in the Sound pane of System Preferences.
  6. Select the "Sort Notification Center" option pop-up menu to sort Notification Center Manually or by the time events are added.

Tip: To arrange the order of how apps appear in Notification Center, click and drag an app in the In Notification Center section of the preference pane on the left side of the window. 


Activate Do Not Disturb from Notification Center.

Open Notification Center and scroll up with your mouse or trackpad to reveal the Do Not Disturb switch. Click the switch to toggle Do Not Disturb on or off.

do not disturb on

In OS X Mavericks, you can also set a Do Not Disturb time for Notifications in Notifications preferences. This temporarily silences notifications during the specified range of time.

do not disturb prefs





Change the apps that use Notification Center or change how an app’s notifications appear in Notification Center.

To change an app’s preferences, in Notifications preferences, select the app on the left, then change the preferences on the right.


Do Not Disturb

Turn on Do Not Disturb during a specific time, when the display is sleeping, or when mirroring to TVs and projectors.

Also, select to receive certain FaceTime calls or repeated calls when Do Not Disturb is on.

In and Not In Notification Center lists

Apps in the In Notification Center list appear in Notification Center and can be set to send you alerts.

To remove an app, drag it to the Not In Notification Center list.

Share Button(s)

See share buttons in Notification Center.

Share Button(s) appears in the In Notification Center list when you set up sharing accounts, such as Messages, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Sort Notification Center

Sort apps in Notification Center manually or by time.

Manually: Reorder apps by dragging them up or down in the In Notification Center list.

By time: Apps are listed based on notification times.

App options


Alert style

Select a style for the app’s notifications.

None: Notifications don’t appear on your screen.

Banners: Notifications appear on your screen and disappear after a while.

Alerts: Notifications stay on your screen until you dismiss them.

Show notifications when display is off or locked

Get alerts when your display is off or your Mac is locked.

Show message preview (if available)

If you choose “when unlocked,” message previews appear in notifications only when your Mac isn’t locked. If you choose “always,” message previews always appear in notifications.

For example, if you choose “always” for Mail, you will always see a portion of the message you received in the Mail notification.

Show in Notification Center

Choose how many of the app’s recent notifications to list.

Badge app icon

Let the app show the number of notifications on its Dock icon.

Play sound for notifications

Let the app play notification sounds.



Apple Support: Mac Basics: Notifications keep you informed

Apple Support: OS X Mavericks: Change Notification Center preferences

MacWorld: Hands-on with OS X Mavericks: Notification Center 

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