Manage Alerts And Notifications On Your Mac

Notification Center is one of those features that you either love or hate. Regardless of your opinion, it can be very versatile and useful if setup correctly.

At some point in time, you may not wish to be disturbed at all. Perhaps you are giving a presentation and that non-related message will lessen the professional approach you have been working hard to achieve. In that case, you will want to open Notification Center and turn the functionality off completely.

You won’t immediately find this control, but if you scroll down, to present the very top of the Notification window, you will notice the following button option appears.

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Simply switch it from on to off, to ensure you are not distracted by audible alerts or banners. When you want to receive the notifications again, simply go back to this area and turn it back on.

Whilst that will solve some issues, for some people, another problem exists. When you install new applications, their default notification settings are often used and as such when information is pushed to you, it may be delivered in a way that is distracting.

To avoid this, and micro manage Notification Center, proceed to System Preferences > Notifications. You will notice the Notification preferences are located in the top line of options under Personal.

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It is important to note that notifications are user specific. If other people use your Mac, and have their own account login, then your settings will not alter their setup.

When you open the Notification Preferences, you will be presented with a list of applications that use Notification Center. In this example, we will take a look at the official Skype application.

Many of you would be familiar with Skype and their voice over IP and video conferencing solutions. Despite the quick adoption of FaceTime, Skype is still the go to service when communicating with others, especially outside of the Apple ecosystem.

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Skype, like many other applications, allow badges, banners, and sounds to be presented when communications are received.

The badge is a common occurrence that is most notably found on an app icon, such as Apple’s Mail. It simply tells you the number of messages or attempts to contact that you have received. If you hide your Dock, then this will not be distractive, and even if your Dock is continuously visible, you will likely be able to continue working with minimal distractions.

Banners and Alerts are the two other visual notifications that can be received. Whilst different, they do perform similar functions. A banner will be displayed for a few seconds before fading away, unless you click on it. Once you have clicked on it, you will need to take further action against the notification.

The Alert on the other hand will remain on screen in the top right hand corner of your Mac. It requires you to either close the visual alert or take further action on it, such as replying.

If you find that you are receiving too many Banners and Alerts, you can always select None from within the Skype Notification Preferences. It is important to note that changes made to specific applications in the Notification System Preferences, will not alter the settings for other applications. Therefore, you can receive the information that is important to you, without receiving additional data that may not be relevant.

The final notification option that can be very distracting is that of an audible alert. Besides showing the Banner or visual Alert, Skype will also play a sound when receiving notifications. Thankfully you can turn this off by deselecting the click box option in the Skype Notification Preferences.

Each application that is listed in this area will showcase a different selection of options for you to either activate or deactivate. If you have a lot of applications, this micro management approach is likely to be a little time consuming, but think of how time consuming constant notifications can be to your workflow. An hour now, could save your many hours in the future.


If you would like more information relating to managing services on your Mac, please drop into your local MacSpecialist to discuss available training options.