Take con­trol of no­ti­fi­ca­tions

Learn how to make Mac no­ti­fi­ca­tions work bet­ter for you

Mac Format - - IMPROVE -

No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre is one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of OS X, and yet it is rarely used to its full po­ten­tial. Hid­den at the right-hand side of your screen, No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre has all but re­placed the Dash­board fea­ture that was in­tro­duced 10 years ago in OS X Tiger. It gath­ers both wid­gets and alerts in one side­bar, ac­ces­si­ble by click­ing the list-like icon in the top-right cor­ner of the screen or swip­ing in­wards with two fin­gers from the right edge of a track­pad, and is vi­tal to stay­ing on top of things – as they hap­pen or later on.

The side­bar is di­vided into two tabs. The To­day view man­ages your do­mes­tic in­for­ma­tion: the date, the weather, your daily cal­en­dar, and the stock mar­ket. Its con­tents can be cus­tomised by click­ing the Edit but­ton at the bot­tom, so you can add wid­gets pro­vided by Ap­ple – such as the So­cial wid­get that gives you a quick way to send texts, tweets and Face­book sta­tus up­dates (pro­vided you’ve added your lo­gin de­tails in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences’ In­ter­net Ac­counts pane) – and with third-party apps such as Wun­derlist, Fan­tas­ti­cal and De­liv­er­ies. Many wid­gets can be con­fig­ured by putting the pointer over them and click­ing the ‘i’ that ap­pears at its topright cor­ner. You can add lo­ca­tions to the Weather and World Clock wid­gets and com­pa­nies to the Stocks sec­tion.

The sec­ond tab is for no­ti­fi­ca­tions, and it man­ages ev­ery bit of in­for­ma­tion sent to you by apps, such as emails, re­minders, iMes­sages and cal­en­dar events. When a no­ti­fi­ca­tion is shown, slid­ing in at the top‑right cor­ner of the screen, it comes in one of two for­mats: ban­ners dis­ap­pear au­to­mat­i­cally af­ter a few sec­onds; alerts, in con­trast, stay on the screen un­til they are en­gaged with. In Sys­tem Pref­er­ences > No­ti­fi­ca­tions, you can spec­ify whether no­ti­fi­ca­tions ap­pear as alerts or ban­ners on a per-app ba­sis. In both cases, you can con­trol an app di­rectly from a no­ti­fi­ca­tion; for an iMes­sage, say, you can choose to re­ply, which opens a text box in the alert, rather than go­ing to the Mes­sages app, or you can mark the mes­sage as read, which dis­misses the no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Any item that is not en­gaged with gets added to the No­ti­fi­ca­tions tab in No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter (un­less you have turned off ‘Show in No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter’ for that app). Items in that tab are listed chrono­log­i­cally, but also grouped by app. For ex­am­ple, if you re­ceive a text mes­sage at 12:00, fol­lowed by an email at 12:05, the email mes­sage will be shown above the text mes­sage. How­ever, if you then re­ceive another text mes­sage at 12:10, both the re­cent text mes­sage and the older one will be placed above the email. So, no mat­ter how many no­ti­fi­ca­tions you get from dif­fer­ent apps, they re­main grouped.

Of course, no­ti­fi­ca­tions can be sup­pressed. Do Not Dis­turb hides all ban­ners and alerts un­til mid­night, or un­til you turn it off. It can be sched­uled to turn on for part of the day, so you can keep your Mac on overnight with­out noisy in­ter­rup­tions. Adam Smith

No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre has all but re­placed the Dash­board that was in­tro­duced in OS X Tiger

You can sched­ule Do Not Dis­turb to mute no­ti­fi­ca­tions be­tween two times, and so ban­ners and alerts don’t dis­tract you.

No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre en­ables you to man­age alerts that come from your Mac’s apps and some web­sites.

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