Disable the Chrome Notification Bell Menu Bar Icon in Mac OS X

Mar 30, 2014 - 32 Comments

Chrome 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 will need to do one of two things, depending on the version of Chrome you have.

The newest versions of Chrome can disable the bell notification icon thing by doing the following:

  • Go to the “Chrome” menu and select “Hide notifications icon” so that it is checked

Hide the Chrome bell icon

If you’re on an older version of Chrome (you should update), you will 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:

  1. From Chrome, type “chrome://flags” into the URL bar and hit return, this brings up deeper settings beyond the standard preference options
  2. Look for “Enable Rich Notifications” and choose “Disabled” from the pulldown options
  3. Optionally, also choose “Disabled” for “Enable experimental UI for Notifications”
  4. Relaunch the Chrome browser for the changes to take effect and to hide the menu bar item

Disable Chrome menu bar notification bell icon in Mac OS  X

NOTE: Newish 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.


Chrome notifications menu bar bell icon in Mac OS X


Hide the Chrome notification menu icon

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.


Related articles:

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. William Redhawk says:

    I didn’t have the icon but I do have the latest edition of chrome and according to “about” I have the latest version. “(Version 53.0.2785.143 (64-bit))”
    Google Chrome is up to date.
    So I decided to check out the directions. First of all, the “Hide Notifications” is not in the chrome menu.
    Using the “chrome://flags/” brings up the page but the “Enable Rich Notifications” is not on the page. I looked as well as using the cmd-F find function.
    Running MacOS Sierra

    • dale says:

      That’s because it is not there anymore. Everyone in this thread was posting from years ago. They were fussing about an earlier version of Chrome and OS X.

      Just use MacOS Preference pane settings for NC to hide or disable Chrome notifications.

      Honestly folks should not be messing with flags or experimental features if they are this ignorant about what the things do or how a Free Open Source Software like Chrome is released or works. Just stick to something simple like Safari if a little thing like a menu bar icon (or lack thereof) scares you so much.

  2. Cap'n Slipp says:

    The “Hide Notifications Icon” menu item is no longer there in Chrome 37.

  3. Dennis says:

    I can’t use Safari on my work computer because it’s connected to the company’s Windows-based network and some bug in OS 10.7.5 is preventing the OS from remembering passwords or telling me the passwords are wrong.This results in getting me kicked off the network. Otherwise, I’d happily use Safari again!

  4. Jake says:

    Solved for Chrome 36: Click the Chrome drop down menu on the top left corner, and check “Hide Notifications Icon”.

    Cole – This just hides the icon, doesn’t turn off the notification process.

  5. peter says:

    this option no longer exists, as of chrome 36… very annoying.

  6. Brad says:

    Chrome 36.0.1985.84 beta has the option to select “Hide Notifications Icon” under the Chrome menubar right above “Quit Google Chrome”

    • Stu says:

      Awesome hint, Brad! Easier by far than navigating to the flags menu and finding whatever new name Google wants to call the menubar icon.

    • Cole says:

      My question is, does this option turn off the notification process completely or does it just hide the icon?

    • Cole says:

      Does this option turn off the notification process completely or does it just hide the icon?

  7. Scot says:

    I did this but just before noticed they were back. Went to “chrome://flags” and grepped for “Notification” and found this setting:

    Notification Center behavior Mac
    Alters the behavior of the system level icon for the notification center. #notification-center-tray-behavior

    Set that to “Never Show” and the icon is once again gone.

  8. Ilya says:

    The setting is gone now.

  9. Scorpio says:

    In my version i have the “Enable Synced Notifications” option, but it does not work :(

    i like my MAC clean! and only use chrome because a site from my country has a plugin that doesn’t work with safari… :/

    I use chrome in my windows, but here i prefer safari.

    i guess i’m gonna go with firefox, just for this, i hate it though…

  10. Jake says:

    The setting to change as mentioned above is now: “Notification Center behavior Mac”.

    • George says:

      This does not seem to be the case in the newest version I have which is Version 37.0.2008.2 dev. It like they change it in each new version.

  11. James Wages says:

    As of Version 35.0.1916.114, there is no “Enable Rich Notifications” to disable! Therefore, if anyone has a new hack to rid our menubars of that wicked Bell icon, please share!

    • George says:

      I found that with the new update, if you just quit Chrome (quit completely, not just close the window to the dock), and then relaunch, the “bell” disappears from the menu bar. However, it does seem to reappear a few days later at random. I do no know what make it come back.

  12. Paulo says:

    Awesome tip! Didn’t know what the heck was this icon…

  13. h0nd says:

    This does not work anymore

    • Scott says:

      If you can find “enable rich notification” you probably using the latest BETA version of Google Chrome but you can still fix it

  14. coolguy says:

    I’ve disabled this previously, but the bell icon just came back today, and I no longer see ‘rich notifications’ on the chrome flags page… Did they just make it even harder to get rid of?? I can’t think of a single other program that does stuff like this. I don’t want the icon there, hell I don’t even want notifications at all from Chrome, not from youtube, not from gmail or Google+. Christ.

    • coolguy says:

      Quick update –

      I just found the new flag, it’s no longer “rich notifications” as described in this article.
      The new flag to search for on the chrome://flags page is called “Notification Center behavior Mac” – then you set it to “never show.”

      • Diprenikko says:

        Typical arrogant software engineers. Enable something nobody wants, then people find a way to disable it, then update the app and re-enable the thing nobody wants, then make people find the new way to disable the thing nobody wants.

        As a developer myself I had to learn to lose the ego sometimes, even if it’s my pet project!

      • coolguy says:

        Update –

        They changed it AGAIN..
        Bell icon came back today, here’s how you get rid of it now.. (as of May 22 2014)


        Search for “Enable Synced Notifications”
        and disable it.

        Man. These chrome developers are going out of their way to make this a problem.

        • gettingreallyveryannoyedwiththis says:

          and they’re at it again!! now it’s not anywhere in flags anymore, but under Chrome in the menu bar, as ‘Hide notification center’ or something like that… seriously considering just not bothering with Chrome anymore altogether…

  15. Stuart says:

    Just disabled the bell menu item, and on relaunch noticed that the notifications just get passed through to Notification Centre now. So it’s not disabled but at least it’s kept out of the way.

  16. Miguel says:

    This is related to the addition of Google Now functionality to the Chrome browser in the latest stable version, bringing a degree of feature parity between Chrome and Android.

    In my case, it displays most, but not all of the cards that are shown on my Android phone. Weather and sports scores appear in my Chrome notification ‘bell’, but cards such as travel time to school do not.

  17. Takumi says:

    It’s exactly stuff like this that made me abandon the Chrome browser, which I in the past have used for very long. Mistake #1 was not asking whether this should be put in the menu bar. Mistake #2 was not making an easy or clear way for this to be disabled. I like control over my computer and its services, and this makes it seem like I do not have such control.

    • PH says:

      I agree, this is pretty annoying to just add out of the blue and have it be surprisingly difficult to hide. It feels like a Canary beta feature that slipped through to a release version accidentally, particularly since it doesn’t work that well.

    • Rob Sin Verguenza says:

      I ditched Chrome when I was told I can hide the bell but not disable it from a person at Google.com (via email). Yeah, I don’t want it hidden, I want it OFF and not functioning. So I went back to Safari and am less aggravated.

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