Notification Center in OS X 10.10 Yosemite: A Dashboard replacement

NotificationCenterIconXApple’s Notification Center is a central place to get small details about the status of various applications and system services on your Mac, allowing you to see anything from song information when iTunes changes tracks, to notices about software updates being available. In addition, Notification Center supports quickly tweeting and replying to messages, but in Yosemite the service has been revamped to mimic the Notification Center feature in iOS 7, and might even be geared to eventually replace Dashboard.

While for the most part Yosemite’s Notification Center functions the same as in prior OS X versions by bringing you updates on application and system service activities, it now supports apps that will bring you information such as upcoming calendar events, stock information, weather details, and a world clock. There is also a calculator app that can be added, and a link to the App Store that will let you browse for new apps to add to Notification Center.

Notification Center in OS X Yosemite

Notification Center in Yosemite now supports apps that can be added and removed by clicking the green and red buttons in this view. New apps can also be found by clicking the App Store link at the bottom of the window (click image for larger view).

Even though these new features augment the Notification Center service, they do directly overlap with Apple’s prior efforts at the use of the Dashboard to bring widgets to the OS X Desktop.

While Dashboard has been exceptionally useful for some, its development never really took off and Apple has progressively shied away from it by changing the default F-key functions for it to activate LaunchPad instead of Dashboard, and not really promoting its Dashboard service very much. Apple has even removed Dashboard from being one of the default Dock icons in a new user account, instead opting for LaunchPad. As a result, new users that set up their Macs may not even know Dashboard exists.

Furthermore, Apple’s widget explorer Web page has not changed for years, and remains a relatively inefficient way to locate new Dashboard services to install.

Following these new changes to Yosemite’s Notification Center, it appears Apple is taking its Desktop widget efforts in a new direction, and instead of relying on the Dashboard, is now focusing on Notification Center for this functionality. While Dashboard is still fully supported in OS X Yosemite, the new notification center bridges Apple’s prior Dashboard features, again to an overlay that can be invoked by a gesture, hot corner, or menu bar icon, and brings its services to the Desktop in ways that might eventually be showing Dashboard the door.

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4 thoughts on “Notification Center in OS X 10.10 Yosemite: A Dashboard replacement

  1. John M. Hammer

    I use Dashboard every day, frequently enough that I couldn’t even say how many times each day. I’m glad it will still be a feature in Yoesemite. Who knows, maybe the new Notification Center functionality will wean me off Dashboard. But it’s so convenient to have it overlay on top of any other Desktop… hard to imagine not using it if it’s available.

    On the other hand, I find Launchpad completely worthless. I suppose it’s useful for people new to the Mac or coming to the Mac for the first time after using an iOS device. But with no easy sorting options or ability to save different layouts, plus the inability to easily re-add an app after it’s been removed from Launchpad but not deleted, I just have no use for it.

    1. Strod

      I agree. I also use Dashboard multiple times every day.
      It is the most-used interface for the Dictionary for me, something invaluable as I am not a native English speaker. I even have installed custom bilingual dictionaries for languages I don’t really speak but frequently run into. For that I also use the translation widget on a regular basis.
      I also use the Unit Converter widget every day. Back in Snow Leopard I hacked the configuration file to add conversion between micro/mili/Curies and Mega/Becquerels as I frequently need that.
      I also consult the Weather Channel widget at least once per day (more on bad weather), and I have a couple of copies of the regular weather widget showing additional cities that I care about.
      I also have (and use and appreciate very much) the iStat Pro widget. The calendar widget is handy, but honestly I don’t consult it too frequently.

      My Notification Center is going to be way too crowded if Apple decides to nix Dashboard in the future. I really hope that doesn’t happen.

  2. james braselton

    hi there I use dash board widgets every day on my 13.3 inch Macbook air with a 2.13 ghz duo core cpu and a 256 gb solid state drive

  3. janis goldring

    I rely on Dashboard Widgets for translations (Brit living in Spain), conversions of £ to € or $ and a lot of other features – really annoyed that for second time the translation widget just stopped working!

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