Disable the Chrome Notification Bell Menu Bar Icon in Mac OS X
Longtime users of the Google Chrome web browser may be puzzled to discover the appearance of a mysterious Chrome Notifications menu bar icon, appearing as a little bell icon along with the other Mac menu bar items. Unlike removing some of the other OS X menu bar icons though, you can’t simply drag it out of the menu bar to remove the icon, and even more strangely, you can’t disable the possibly superfluous menu bar icon from it’s own drop down menu.
If you want to disable the Chrome Notification menu bar item in Mac OS X and remove the bell icon from your menu bar, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper into the Chrome settings. Here’s how to both hide the bell and disable the Chrome notifications feature as well:
- From Chrome, type “chrome://flags” into the URL bar and hit return, this brings up deeper settings beyond the standard preference options
- Look for “Enable Rich Notifications” and choose “Disabled” from the pulldown options
- Optionally, also choose “Disabled” for “Enable experimental UI for Notifications”
- Relaunch the Chrome browser for the changes to take effect and to hide the menu bar item
NOTE: New versions of Chrome use different language for this bell menu bar icon option, so to disable it in some versions you may need to look for the following:
- From the chrome://flags menu hit Command+F and search for “Notification Center behavior Mac”
- Set to “Never Show”
- Relaunch Chrome to disable the bell icon from the menu bar
On a quick side note, if you’re concerned about keeping your current Chrome browsing windows and tabs around, the restore function should maintain them upon the next launch, or you can bring them all into the excellent OneTab plugin.
Once Chrome has relaunched the bell menu bar and notifications system will be disabled.
Why exactly this gets enabled by Chrome, often at random, is not entirely clear. In my case, the bell appeared out of the blue in the midst of a browsing session. It’s interesting that Chrome has it’s own notifications system outside of the broader Notification Center in Mac OS X, but why the notifications aren’t tied directly into the OS X system-level feature isn’t entirely clear either, though the feature may be experimental at this point.
Anyway, if you like to keep your Mac menu bar free of unnecessary icons as possible, a task which is increasingly difficult with so many apps adding their own icons here and there, this may be helpful to you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some genuinely useful icons to add to the menu bar, check this out.