Manage Notifications in macOS Big Sur

Notifications are one element of Big Sur that has probably seen the biggest change. Gone is the traditional Notification Centre, as appeared in Catalina and in its place, with the new iOS-like design, is the more streamlined, Notifications.

Long-time macOS users will undoubtedly be looking for the Notification Centre icon in the upper-right portion of the desktop by now, however, it’s not there. Instead, with the new design, Apple has integrated the Notifications into the Date/Time and Widgets zone.

While this may not seem to make to much sense, it’s really quite a clever move on the part of Apple. All you need to do to view any notifications is to click on the Date and Time in the top-right of the desktop. If there are any, then they’ll appear at the top of the slide-in area that appears from the right-side of the screen.

Notifications are grouped together depending on the app they’re coming from. For example, the News app will display notifications based on what news channels you’ve decided to have alert you. If you click on a notification in the group, the rest expand so you can see all the available notifications of that group. And clicking on a notification, whether it’s from the Messages app, News and so on, will open the corresponding app.

This makes viewing notifications a much more efficient process, since there’s a minimal use of mouse button clicks and it’s easy to see which notification belongs to which app. If you’re on the look out for an important news flash report, for example, you can quickly get the information you need when it appears on the screen.

Each notification has an expansion chevron in the upper-right corner of the notification bubble. Click it and the notification will expand to display more information. In addition, by moving the mouse pointer over the notification bubble you’ll also see an X in the opposite top corner, for dismissing the notification.

Need more Big Sur help? Check out the brand new Big Sur Manual

Creating and Removing Notifications

Step 1 – Adding and removing app notifications is as simple as navigating to System Preferences > Notifications. You’ll find the Notifications ‘Bell’ icon on the right-hand side of the System Preferences window as it opens.

From there, click the Notifications icon and you’ll be presented with all the available apps installed on your Mac that can provide a notification of some sort. Scroll through the list of apps on the left pane of the Notifications window until you find the app you want to setup Notifications for and click on the name of the app.

Step 2 – When you’ve found the app you want to create a Notification for, click on the ‘Allow Notification from…’
slider button to activate it.

Step 3 – Within the Notifications window, you can set a number of options for how you want to review any Notifications from the app you’ve activated. For example, the Alert Style can be adjusted to None, Banners (the default, and the one that most folk will use), and Alerts. You can also opt to display Notifications on the lock screen – although this is considered a security risk if you leave your Mac unattended. There’s also options to play a sound when a Notification comes in and you can set the Notification Grouping to Automatic, By App or Off.

Step 4 – As your use of Big Sur grows, so will the number of Notifications you’ll generate over the course of a week or even a day. You’ll quickly come to appreciate the new Notifications layout and design and how it greatly improves the process of discovering alerts and notifications.

Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

Related Articles

Back to top button