How to customise notifications on a Mac


Notifications are your Mac's way of letting you know about an event, just like they do on a smartphone. It could be something like an email arriving, a social media update from a friend, or information about the Mac itself.

You can change the way they look and sound, or even turn them off completely if they're getting too much.

Changing the settings

change mac notification settings

Each app installed on your Mac has its own notification settings. Check and change them through Apple > System Preferences > Notifications.

Notifications can be 'Banners' or 'Alerts', and show in the top-right corner of the Mac's screen. Banners just show information, and disappear after a few seconds. Alerts need a click or swipe to dismiss them, but sometimes let you do more. Reply to a message right from the notification without opening the app, for example, just like a smartphone.

Choose an app from the list on the left, and you'll see what options can be set for that app. Some apps might not have all the options available. The options are:

  • Alert style
  • Show notifications on lock screen
  • Show in Notification Center
  • Badge app icon
  • Play sound for notifications

Tick the options you want for each app, and choose an alert style at the top. Now do the same to the other apps.

Do not disturb

mac do not disturb

At the top of the apps list you'll see 'Do Not Disturb'. Pick this to set some general rules, like when notifications can (or can't) be shown.

Do Not Disturb can also block phone calls coming into the Mac. This can be quite handy if you need some uninterrupted peace and quiet to finish that project off.

Hopefully you'll be fully in control of your Mac's notifications now, but if you'd like to speak to an expert from Team Knowhow you can get hold of us here.

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