How to Change the Way Notifications are Displayed in OS X


Notifications are always-on alerts that let you know what you missed while you were away from your computer or busy with other things. Before OS X El Capitan was introduced, you used to get notifications listed by app. If you had five new pieces of mail and five unread text messages, for example, you’d get all the mail alerts in one bunch and all the missed text messages in another. You’d have to then manually sift through those alerts to see what time they actually came in.

El Capitan has brought with it many new choices, including the option to organize your notification alerts differently.

Where is the Notification Center?

Notification Center in OS X

You probably use the Notification Center on your Mac daily without knowing what it’s called. The three little lines in the upper-right side of any window on your Mac are the magic link to your Notification Center.

Click the lines and your Notification Center opens, showing you all your missed texts, FaceTime calls, emails, and etc.

Open Notification Center window

Change your Notification Center alert settings

By default, your notifications are now grouped by date. You can switch this up if you like, and here’s how you go about setting it up.

Notifications tab in settings in OS X

To get started, we need to get into your settings. You can get there by tapping the Apple logo in the upper-left of your screen, then clicking on System Preferences, followed by double-clicking the Notifications icon. (See image above.)

Once opened, your Notifications settings will look like this.

choices in Notification Center


You’re going to click on the very bottom option—the one that reads Notification Center sort order—and make whatever new choice you like. You can group apps manually, by most recent or most recent by app. The latter will give you notifications in bunches, according to the app they’re associated with. This is the way Apple operated by default before El Capitan came along.

Play around with the settings and see what you prefer. If you don’t like the new settings you can always go back through the steps above and change them again.

Posted by Jodi on April 22, 2016

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