The Messaging feature on a Mac is a great way to keep in touch with your contacts. However, there are times when you don’t really want to be disturbed. Knowing how to manage the notification settings allows you to avoid these distractions while still receiving your messages in the background.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can turn messages off on your Mac, and adjust the various preference settings related to it.
The Notification Center
The Notification Center provides the quickest way to access any messages that may popup. Clicking on the Notification Center Icon, which is located in the upper right corner of your screen, will display a menu. Find the Do Not Disturb tab, and click it. This will prevent any messages from popping up until midnight as a default, at which point the setting will reset and Do Not Disturb will turn off. If you have assigned a time period in the System Preferences menu, Do Not Disturb will remain on for that period instead.
The System Preferences Menu
The System Preferences Menu contains a wider selection of message notification settings. From here you can pick and choose how each popup will behave. Some of the settings you may find convenient include:
- Do Not Disturb – Similar to the command that you can access from the Notification Center menu, you can change this on System Preferences as well. To do so:
1. Hover to the bottom of your screen to open the Apple Menu.
2. Find System Preferences then click on it.
3. Click on Notifications.
4. On the menu to the left, Do Not Disturb should be at the top of the list.
The advantage of opening Do Not Disturb in System Preferences is that you can actually set conditions on this menu. You can assign a time period where it will start or end, set times where it will automatically turn on, or choose to allow calls even when it’s on.
- Allow Notifications From – This lets you choose if you want to receive an alert from a particular app. This is handy if you want to be alerted by other applications but not be disturbed by messaging apps.
- Alert Style – You can choose from three settings, None, Banners, or Alerts. Choosing none will prevent notifications from displaying on the screen. Choosing Banner will cause a message to flash on the screen then fade after a while. Choosing Alerts will display a message until you dismiss it.
- Show Notification Preview – This menu allows you to manage whether or not you want message previews to be displayed on the screen. If you allow previews, you can pick whether it’s always shown, or only when unlocked. It always means that previews will appear even on your login screen. Previews when unlocked will only show if you’re logged in.
- Show in Notification Center – This menu allows you to pick which apps will be able to display their popups in the Notification Center. This will only display messages that aren’t older than seven days though.
- Badge App Icon – If this is enabled, the number of messages you receive will be displayed on the icon of your messaging app on your Dock.
- Play Sound for Notifications – Disabling this will turn off sounds for all notifications, not just messages.
- Notification Center Sort Order – This manages the order in which notifications are displayed in the Notification Center. Choosing Recents will display all messages in order of time received, with the newest at the top. Picking Recents by App will display the app with the most recent message. The Manually by App option lets you pick and choose what displays first by editing them in Notifications Preferences. This can be done by dragging an app up or down in the order you wish them to be seen.
- Messages – This menu contains settings that are specific to messages. You can choose if a message shall be displayed as a Banner, as an Alert, or not be displayed on the screen at all. You can also pick whether or not it’s displayed if you’re not logged in. This controls if the message will display an icon badge, or whether or not it’s displayed on the Notification center at all. You can also assign sounds to messages on this menu.
Avoiding Unwanted Distractions
Being able to pick and choose which messaging app displays an alert, and when it’ll be able to do so, is a good way to avoid distractions. The Notification Settings menu can be set to receive messages but avoid alerting you when you don’t want them to. It strikes the balance between being left alone, but still being within reach.
Do you know of any other tips and tricks on how to turn messages off on the Mac? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.