How to stop annoying Mac notifications

Notifications can be a great way of reminding yourself of tasks you need to complete, or appointments you need to get to. They can also be useful for, say, telling you when an update to an app you use is available. However, they are now used by so many apps and websites for purposes that have little benefit to us, the user, that they are often more of an inconvenience than anything else. Fortunately, the are easy to manage and even disable completely. Here’s how to turn-off annoying Mac notifications.

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6 ways to turn off notifications on your Mac

Thank you Universe for inventing "Do Not Disturb."  This feature, if set up correctly, will rid you of 90% of notifications on your Mac. The remaining part is browser-related and requires some extra work. But will get to that. Let's first explore the Do Not Disturb tool.

1. Turn off notifications temporarily using Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb allows you to temporarily turn off notifications, according to the schedule you have set. 

  1. Click on the three horizontal lines at the right hand side of the menu bar to display Notification Center.
  2. Choose Notifications.
  3. Scroll up to reveal the Night Shift and Do Not Disturb toggle switches.
  4. Set the Do Not Disturb switch to On. Notifications will now be blocked until whenever Do Not Disturb is set to end.

Here’s how to schedule and manage Do Not Disturb.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. Press on Notifications.
  3. Select Do Not Disturb.
  4. Set the time schedule if you want Do Not Disturb to run automatically each day.
  5. Check the boxes below that correspond to the options you want to choose. 

2. Turn off notifications for apps

  1. Launch System Preferences > Notifications.
  2. Go through the list of apps on the left, one at a time, clicking on each one to review its settings.
  3. To switch off notifications altogether for an app, select None for alert type.
  4. If you don’t want to switch them off altogether, choose Banners or Alerts and then check the boxes below that correspond to your chosen behavior.
  5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for every app in the list.

3. Turn off pop ups on your Mac from hidden apps

When you review apps in the Notifications section of System Preferences, it will show you the apps in your Applications folder. However, not all the processes you run on your Mac are from apps in the Applications folder. Some may be from Launch Agents and other background apps, that don't show anywhere. 

I’ve found that the quickest way to remove their alerts is via CleanMyMac X, by MacPaw. It has a Launch Agents monitor that requires almost no work, compared to the steps we've discussed. Follow me:

1. Download the free version of CleanMyMac X (it's notarized by Apple).
2. Install the app and click on Optimization.
3. Now, select Launch Agents.

Here’s a list of my ‘hidden” Launch Agents found by this app: 

I recommend leaving absolute minimum of such background apps on your Mac. You can disable them using toggles.

4. Turn off notifications for websites

One of the most annoying aspects of notifications is that macOS allows individual websites to display them. They must ask permission first, so the easiest way to deal with them is top always say no when they ask. However, websites are persistent and will ask every time you visit. It’s all too easy to accidentally allow them. So, here’s how to turn off Safari website notifications.

  1. Launch Safari > Safari menu > Preferences.
  2. Choose the Websites tab.
  3. Select Notifications on the left hand side.
  4. Review the list of websites that have requested permission to show notifications.
  5. Make sure each one is set to to ‘Deny’. If not, click on the drop down menu and choose Deny.
  6. Uncheck the box at the bottom of the window that says: ‘Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications’.

5. Turn off Chrome notifications

Chrome allows you to turn off site-specific notifications as well as general alerts. Let's start with basic notifications

  1. Launch Chrome and type the following into the address bar: chrome://settings
  2. Choose Privacy & Security menu
  3. Click on Site Settings and scroll down to find Notifications.

Toggle the slider switch at the top of the page so that it reads "Can't ask"

What about a particular site? If any site is annoying you with overlays and notifications, there's one more control. Next to the site address (in the address line) you can see the padlock icon or the (i) tool tip. Click on it to block alerts from that domain.

6. Turn off notifications in Firefox

As of 2020, Firefox has the most elaborated system when it comes to protecting users privacy. In our view, it outmatches Google's. For example, you can disable ad tracking and cookies detection on many levels. How does it Firefox deal with notifications?

  1. Launch Firefox and click on the gear icon ⚙︎ (Preferences).
  2. Choose Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down to the Notifications > Settings.

You will see a list of all the websites you’ve previously given permission to show notifications. 
Check the box next to Block all requests asking to allow notifications.

Desktop pop-ups, alerts in your web browser, or other types of notifications are frequently intrusive and annoying. Fortunately, Apple has made it easy to control and block them from apps and websites in macOS. And You can easily stop them in Chrome and Firefox, too. Some pop-ups, however, originate from malware, and to get rid of those you should use an anti-malware tool like the one in CleanMyMac X.

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