Disable Notification Center & Remove the Menu Bar Icon in Mac OS X
Notification Center is a great addition to Mac OS X but not everyone likes it, sometimes just muting the alert sounds and turning banners and alert pop-ups off per-app is just not enough, and you may want to disable the entire notification system completely. Furthermore, if you don’t use Notifications on the Mac then you probably don’t want the menu bar icon sitting in the corner of your screen either. We’ll show you how to disable Notification Center, all alerts, and also remove the icon from the corner of the menu bar in Mac OS X.
This will also completely disable all pop-up alerts and Notification banners in Mac OS X. If you still want to receive alerts and banners, do not completely disable the notification center.
How to Disable Notification Center Completely & Remove the Menu Bar Icon in Mac OS X
This is the preferred method, it works to totally turn off the Notification system within OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Mavericks:
- Open Terminal and enter the following command:
- Next type the following command to kill NotificationCenter:
- Finally, quit out of Terminal and return to Finder
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist
ALL alerts, banners, and notifications will no longer appear on the Mac. This is system-wide and application-wide, impacting all apps in OS X. Note this unloads Notification Center for the current user only and does not require admin access.
To re-enable Notifications and Notification Center with all alerts using launchctl, use the following approach and command string:
- Launch Terminal and enter a similar command – notice load instead of unload:
- Hit Command+Shift+G and go to /System/Library/CoreServices/ then find “Notification Center” and double-click it to launch it again
launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist
Thanks to ganbustein for the launchctl method!
For completeness, we will include the older approach that is less preferred given the simplicity of the launchctl method outlined above, but it does work in OS X for those interested:
- From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G and enter the path to /System/Library/CoreServices/
- Locate “Notification Center.app” and click on the name to rename it to “Notification Center-disabled.app”, authenticate the change when prompted
- Now launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/ and type the following command:
- Quit out of Terminal
Notifications will no longer be posted, alerts will be gone, and the menu bar icon is no longer visible. If you do attempt to get to Notification Center either through a keyboard shortcut or the sideways swipe, you’ll be presented with a blank side of the screen.
The entire thing can be completed in less than a minute, as demonstrated in this quick walkthrough video:
Re-enable Notification Center & Bring Back the Menu Bar Icon
Notification Center is not permanently disabled though, you can always turn it back on and get the icon back to to the menu bar just as easily.
- Return to /System/Library/CoreServices/ and rename “Notification Center-disabled.app” to “Notification Center.app” again
- Double-click “Notification Center” to relaunch the service and bring back the icon
Notifications will be working as normal again, as will the icon.
Thanks to Paul for the tip idea!