Change How Long Notification Banners Persist for in OS X

Jan 29, 2014 - 7 Comments

a Notifications banner in OS X

Banner notifications pop up on the side of the screen in OS X and disappear on their own within a few seconds. Some users may find that banner persistence time to be either too long or too short, and that is what we’re going to focus on changing here, giving you some control over how long the banner notification lingers over the desktop.

First, it’s important to differentiate between “Banners” and “Alerts”; a banner will slide in and slide out of the Mac screen without interaction (or you can swipe on it to dismiss), while alerts require some sort of user involvement with manually closing or rescheduling the alert. In terms of identification, if the notification has a button attached to it, it’s an alert, otherwise it’s a banner.

Users can change between banners and alerts by going to  > System Preferences > Notifications and selecting the app or service and choosing which they’d prefer.

Banners vs Alerts in Notification Center of OS X

Again, this article is aimed at adjusting the banner side of things, since alerts always require user intervention to discard.

Changing the OS X Notification Banner Persistence Time

You’ll need to use the Terminal and defaults command strings to adjust the banner persistence time. Once you’re at the command prompt use the following syntax:

defaults write com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime [time in seconds]

For example, to have the banner quickly disappear, set it to one second:

defaults write com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime 1

To have the banners linger much longer, set it to 25 seconds:

defaults write com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime 25

Hit return for the command to execute. For the change to take full effect for all applications, you’ll want to log out and log back in, or reboot the Mac. You may have some success with killing Notification Center and relaunching apps, but the former approach is easier and will impact everything.

If you want to test this out and don’t have anything pushing banners notifications to you, you can always send your own from the command line with this trick.

Returning to the Default Notification Banner Persistence Time

Going back to the default banner persistence time is just a matter of deleting the defaults string you wrote to previously. Go back to the Terminal and enter the following command string:

defaults delete com.apple.notificationcenterui bannerTime

Again, you’ll want to log out and back into the Mac for the change to take effect and to revert back to the default settings.

Specific adjustment toggles would be great to have directly in the OS X System Preferences for Notifications, but for now users will have to resort to the command line to make precision adjustments to these banners.

These notification adjustments were discovered by the fine folks at CNET MacFixIt, give them a big thanks!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

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  1. inket says:

    Cool tip! I use CustomNC (https://github.com/inket/CustomNC) to customize Notification Center but I’ve never knew that the banner time could be modified with a defaults command.

  2. Joe Singh says:

    I thought I was the only one with this problem, thanks!

  3. YOnoda says:

    Hi,

    thanks for the terrific tip – this is one of my favorite tricks I’ve ever learned from you guys. And I’d like to know whether it is feasible to change the behavior of the update notifications from Mac App Store? It notifies me of the update candidates, but I’m always quite frustrated to bother tapping to delete the alert. For some reasons I cannot find `Mac App Store` in the `In Notification Center` list of the System Preferences.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. peter says:

    hi,

    nice tip.

    but how can I increase the font size of banner?
    the font size is too small..

    thanks!

  5. Graham Perrin says:

    > … if the notification has a button attached to it, it’s an alert …

    That’s not always true. At least one type of banner can have buttons.

  6. Adrian says:

    Great tip, thanks! Is there any way to do this for specific apps only? Say I want to apply this for Mail.app’s banners only. Can it be done? Thanks.

  7. Mahdi says:

    When the banner appears, you can swipe it to right and the banner will be vanished

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