MacMost Now 743: Mountain Lion Notifications

Learn how to use Notifications in OS X Mountain Lion. This new functionality allows you to get messages in the corner of your screen from various apps. You can also view a list of recent notifications and control how and if apps send you notices. You can also add your Twitter account to OS X to received and send tweets from the Notifications Center.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 743: Mountain Lion Notifications.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at the Notification Center in Mountain Lion.

So the Notification Center is a new feature in Mountain Lion and it's much like the Notification Center in IOS. You can get little notices from different apps and it will appear on the right side of your screen and you can look at list of them.

So the best way to start learning about Notifications is to dig right into System Preferences and go to Notifications in there. There you will see a list of apps. These are apps that are in the Notification Center. In other words, they have permission to send notifications to you. So you won't find all your apps there because not all apps have this ability.

You will find these broken into two groups. The first is those in the Notification Center. So they have something turned on. Some type of notification ability. If you turn everything off like you deselect all the notification options, they will drop down into Not a Notification Center and you will still be able to get to them to turn things back on.

Right now all the apps that I have that have notifications are at the top because they have notifications turned on.

Now let's start by looking at a simple one, Calendar. So it is pretty obvious why Calendar would send you notifications. So when you have an event and you set it to alert you it's going to do that by using Notifications now. Previously, it popped something up on your screen, it was kind of like a notification but it wasn't in a unified interface that included other apps as well. So for Calendar we can see that, like a lot, there are three options for notifications. "None" would basically say don't actually send me notifications. So it is a way to turn off all those messages you get from Calendar.
The second option would be "Banners". Banners basically are little notices that appear in the right upper corner of your screen and they fade away after a few seconds. "Alerts" are the same thing but they will actually stay on the screen and you will have to click them to dismiss them.

So probably for something like Calendar messages you would want to use Alerts. But for other things like Game Center messages or getting new mail you would want them just to be Banners that appear and then disappear on their own.

The other option we've got here are typical of apps. You've got how many notices to show in the Notification Center. So if you have an app that is showing you a lot, like maybe you are a big gamer and you are getting tons of messages, you can have it show only the five most recent items or you can increase or decrease that.

You can also have the Badge app icon which shows you those little numbers. You see this a lot in IOS where it says a little 1 or a 5 or something in a circle showing you you have new notifications for that app.

Also you can have a sound play as well as getting the little message on the screen.

Now, with Macs with Mountain Lion, Notification Center is pretty new. You will find that for all these default apps you have the same options. But we have learned that in IOS in the Notification Center there sometimes apps have different options. So we may see apps that appear and have different things than they say here.

Also notice that you can sort what is in your Notification Center so if you are constantly turning off or changing the alert style for something you can drag and drop these and put somethings else at the top if you want or you can have it sort by time so the most recent one would then appear at the top.

Now, let's look at a message that you get in the Notification Center. I have set up a Calendar event here that will go off in just a few seconds. It is going to send me just a plain message, a regular Calendar event that you could have sent in iCal or now the Calendar app. We are going to look in the upper right hand corner of the screen and see what we get when that message, that alert, triggers.

You can see there. There is the message and it is a full alert so I actually have to click something. I can click the close button to dismiss it or I can click Snooze and the message will then come back in a few minutes.

Now if I click on the Notification Center icon, which is this icon here, its in the upper right hand corner, the spotlight is still there but it has just moved over one, I get the Notification Center and I can see a list of recent notifications. So here I can see from the Calendar app I have gotten this test message here and if I wanted to I could even double click on it and it will take me right to that event. It will open Calendar if the Calendar had not been running.

Now let's try one using the Reminders app. So here I am in Reminders. I'm going to add something. I hit the plus button, let's see, check my mail at 9:30 a.m. Now you can see that it took that natural language there and created a reminder. Now reminders are set to only put up a quick banner and not to send me a full alert. So let's look at what happens when we get to 9:30 on the right side of the screen. There it is and there was a little audible sound too in this case. I can see its there and it is going to disappear on its own. If I go into the Notification Center I can see that it still has that recent alert that I had for the Calendars and it has got that reminder there. I can double click on it and it will take me to the Reminders app.

A few other tips and tricks for the Notification Center. One is if you go into the Notifications Center and you swipe down you can see this little switch for show Alerts and Banners. If you turn this off basically it turns off the Notification Center but only for the rest of the day. In the morning it will turn on automatically. So you don't forget. You can do the same thing by actually option clicking on the icon here. So when you see it grayed out you know that it is turned off.

In addition to that you have some cool functions like for instance Gestures that control. If you have a track pad we can swipe from right to left. Now you have to put your fingers all the way to the right of the track pad. You can't do it in the middle like you were actually swiping Pages in Safari or something. All the way to the left with two fingers and it brings up Notification Center and then you can close it again. So Gestures is a handy thing to use.

One tricky thing is that you can use Twitter in the Notifications Center but not in the way you would think. The official Twitter app doesn't actually support it. What you have to do is to go into your Mail, Contacts and Calendars and add Twitter as an account, even though it is not an email account. This part of System Preferences now handles all sorts of things. So you add your account there, sign in to it, and now you've got that added as one of the accounts on your system. Now if you go to Notification Center you will see Twitter listed and it will put New Tweets in your Notification Center here. In addition to that you will also get a click to tweet button which allows you to send a quick tweet right from your Notification Center. So it turns Notification Center into a Twitter find.

Of course third party apps can use Notification Center. So some of your favorite apps may already use this and others will soon in the future. So you can see more apps listed in the Notification Center and you will be able to do more things, put things into the Notification Center to allow you to do things from the Notification Center and just make those apps that much more useful.

So look for that and if your favorite app doesn't support it maybe email the developer and ask them to start using the Notification Center.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 743: Mountain Lion Notifications”

    7 years ago

    I don’t like the fact that you can’t set the calendar alerts to remind you again at a later time, such as an hour later. This feature seems to be gone with Mountain Lion

      7 years ago

      You can. There’s the Snooze thing (15 minutes), but also you can edit the event in Calendar to add as many reminders as you want. So you can click on the event, it takes you to the calendar, and then add a new reminder for it. Not easy, but possible.

      7 years ago

      This is something I used often. Some notifications I would repeat in a day, some 2 hours etc.. I hope Apple returns this feature, but I don’t hear too many com plaits of the new behavior.

    Francine Lefebvre
    7 years ago

    Hi! Is it possible to synchronize notes from my Mac (I have mountain lion) with my iPhone 4 and my iPad 3, without having to create a new address at

    Thank you for your answer!

      7 years ago

      You need to create an iCloud account. But that doesn’t mean you need to use a address. Create the account using your existing address. Then you can also get a free address, but you can just continue to use your old one instead.

    7 years ago

    I added twitter account and have banner checked in notification center but new tweets are not showing up in notification center

      7 years ago

      Not sure. I’m not using it myself — too many tweets coming in. I’d imagine it would only be direct messages that show up. Or direct messages and responses. Even someone following as few as a dozen people could see a flood of tweets if it were otherwise.

    7 years ago

    Yea that is what i thought also. but it would be nice to “hook” certain followers into notification center, that way it could truly be a Twitter client.

      7 years ago

      It is easy to create RSS feeds from Twitter and lists. I’ll bet some developer comes up with an RSS reader that then send stuff to the Notification Center based on criteria.

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary, is the mac app store icon suppose to be showing in Notifications. I recently had an update to an app which never showed in the Notification Center. I have seen a screen shot showing the icon in NCenter. But it has never shown in mine and I didn’t see it in your video. It’s not in system pref.. Notifications list…

      7 years ago

      I haven’t see it either, but I’m pretty sure I have seen a notice pop into the upper right corner for an update.

    Nilesh Parmar
    7 years ago

    Thank you for this video. Wish you could sync reminders with people, like work lists etc.

Comments Closed.