First introduced with iOS 5, Notification Center made its way to the Mac with OS X Mountain Lion in July 2012. Three years later, I've got a love-hate relationship with it. Some features are tremendously useful, while other aspects feel like yet another "thing" I've got to attend to. I'm interested in seeing if and how you use Notification Center on your Mac, but first, here are my thoughts.
What I Love
There's a lot to be enthusiastic about, especially the zero-effort, glance-friendly delivery of information. You can be working along when ping! In comes an unobtrusive notification about an email message, a text, something new on Facebook, etc. Often, simply reading the notification is all the interaction that's required. I barely even break the stride of what I was doing.
Also awesome? Do Not Disturb. There will be times when you can't have those messages popping up. To seal the fire hose, launch System Preferences and click Notifications. Do Not Disturb is at the top of the list (OS X Yosemite pictured above), with several options:
- Options for setting designated "quiet time."
- Settings for when the display is asleep.
- Opt-in for when your Mac is connected to a TV via mirroring or a projector. There's no need to display your friend's questionable tweets during a presentation, right?
Finally, under Yosemite, you can opt to let phone calls come through even with Do Not Disturb enabled.
There are two other things that I really like. Responding to text messages via the pop-up notification is a huge time-saver. Likewise, posting to Facebook, Messages, Twitter and LinkedIn via the Today view is great.
Finally, I love third-party app integration in the Today view. Now I can see all the unfinished tasks I should be panicking over, thanks to Todoist.
What I dislike
Remember that "zero-effort, glance-friendly delivery of information" I mentioned? It's possible to have too much of a good thing. Yes, I can shut it off, as I mentioned, but keeping it off belies the purpose.
Lastly, I rarely look at the Notifications view. Once a message arrives and I've read it, I move on. Now, I must go in there periodically and clean it out, which seems like a chore.
Now I wonder: Do you use Notification Center? Do you check it often or do you glance-and-go like I do? Do you make use of the Today view? Let me know, as I'm curious about how other people use this feature.