MacMost Now 370: Using Growl to Get Notifications

The free Mac OS X extension Growl allows some of your applications to send you screen and audible notifications when events occur, like incoming email or completed downloads. You can even pass these notifications on to your iPhone. Check it out to see if it is something you can use.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 370: Using Growl to Get Notifications.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a look at the Mac OS X extension, Growl. So, Growl's an extension. When you install it, you can get notifications from some applications that you run telling you when events occur. Things like when a song starts or stops in Itunes or when you get an email, it'll give you an onscreen notification and also an audible notification. Let's take a look.
So, you download Growl from and probably right away you also want to download Growl Mail which is an extension for Apple Mail that will send events from Apple Mail to Growl so it can display them. Now, once you have it installed, it'll show up in your system preferences. You'll see it down here under other. There's Growl and it has its own preference pane. Here you can go ahead and start and stop it. You can have it automatically start at log in, and there's also other tabs here including applications.
So, this may start off blank with no applications in it. As you run applications, they notify Growl that they can send events to so you'll get things here like Firefox and mail. If I want to run more applications like, say, my favorite FTP client, it would also show up in there because it works with Growl as well.
Now, you can select an application like let's select Growl Mail for Apple Mail and click on the configure button. Once you're in here, it'll give you the application settings. So, I can set the style of the notification and I can also click on notifications here and see which notifications I want to send. So, I want to get a notification when there's a new email. So, I'm going to make sure that, that's enabled. And I can set the style of the notification and other options for it.
Now, these display styles can be changed here. If you go to display options, you can see them on the left listed, and then you can changed things like the opacity and the position and type and things like that. There's all sorts of different ones so you're sure to find something that fits your style.
So, I'm about to get an email. When I do, I'm going to get a notification from Growl even though mail isn't in the foreground and running. You'll see it appear in the upper left cause that's where I've chosen the notification to appear. So, now we just have to wait for it. And there it is. You can see it just appeared here in the style that I wanted to. I can dismiss it or it's set to dismiss itself after 30 seconds. I also got it in audible alert because I asked for it to display with an audible alert.
So, you may be asking yourself, "Why do I need this? After all, applications like mail already give you audible notifications when something happens?" Well, if you don't think you need this, you don't. It's not for everybody. But some people use lots of programs like I use FTP programs that I would like to get notifications when things finish uploading or downloading.
Now, if you do find this useful, you can take things to the next level with a program called "Prowl" which allows you to send the notifications from Growl on your Mac to Prowl, an application running on your iPhone and get the notification on your iPhone. So, most Mac users don't need Growl and probably wouldn't use it. But some Mac users would list it as one of their top applications, something they would install immediately upon getting a new Mac.
So, I encourage you to go to the website and read all the information there and see whether or not it's something that's worth your time installing and checking out. It's free so there's no problem there, but it's always a cost at running an extra application, an extra preference pane on your Mac. So, only install it if you think you're going to use it.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 370: Using Growl to Get Notifications”

    Carlos M
    9 years ago

    Hi Gary, growl mail doesnt work on my mac,since upgrading to snow leopard it has stopped working, is there a way to fix this?

      9 years ago

      They have some notes about this on the site. Look for the FAQ.

    Thomas B
    9 years ago

    I love getting Prowl on my iPod Touch. I know immediately that the five backups I run nightly have been successful or not.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    7 years ago

    I installed Growl way back,and i didn`t notice any difference at all.
    I wondered what i was suppose to do. I went to the website,and read about.
    It was suppose to give you notification`s,and it said it runs quietly in the background. Nothing happened at all. So i scrapped it?

Comments Closed.