With macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple redesigned Notification Center. It is now a single column of notifications and widgets to provide quick information with just a click. Let’s take a look at the new Notification Center, and how you can customize it to your liking.
In macOS Big Sur, Notification Center is accessed by clicking on the date in the menu bar, located in the upper right of the screen. There is no longer a Notification Center icon.
Notifications appear at the top of Notification Center. If you click on a notification, it will take you to the corresponding app. For example, if you click on a Messages notification, the Messages app opens.
Notifications are grouped together if you have multiple notifications from an app. For example, if you have News alerts active, the notifications for each news outlet is grouped, and if you click one, the grouping expands so you can see all the notifications.
Each notification has an expansion arrow icon (>) on the upper right. Click it, and the notification expands to show more info. Also, if you mouse over a notification, a Delete button appears in the lower left that you can use to dismiss it.
Adding and removing notifications
To add or remove an app notification, you go to System Preferences > Notifications. On the left is a list of apps that provide notifications. Click on the app you want, and then its settings appear on the right side. Check/uncheck the Show in Notification Center box to add/remove its notifications.
You can also adjust its groups by clicking on the “Notification grouping” pop-up. Your options are: automatic, by app, or off.
Under the notifications are widgets. These are small and simple items that provide quick access to information or controls. Many of the widgets are of Apple apps, such as Calendar, Reminders, and Podcasts, while others show info collected from the internet.
To move a widget, click and drag it to the desired location.
Remove or resize a widget
To resize a widget, right-click it and a pop-up menu will appear. Then select Small, Medium, or Large. If a size is not available, it will not appear.
To remove a widget, right-click it, and in the pop-up menu, select Remove Widget.
Add a widget
Right-click a widget and select Edit Widgets in the pop-up menu, or scroll to the bottom of Notification Center and click the Edit Widgets button. Notification Center will expand to show you the widgets available.
When you see a widget you want to add, click on the S, M, or L buttons to preview its size. (if these buttons aren’t there, it’s only available in the size shown.) Pick a size, then click on the image of the widget to add it to Notification Center.
You can then go into the Notification Center on the right and move the widget to your preferred location by clicking and dragging it.
Once you’re done, press the Escape key on your keyboard or click outside the Notification Center to close it.
Right click on a widget, and if it shows an Edit Widget option that the top of the pop-up menu, you can adjust what it displays. (This is different from the Edit Widgets option at the bottom of the pop-up.)
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macOS Big Sur
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.