How To quickly enable Do Not Disturb for Notification Center in OS X

NotificationCenterIconXEven though placed along the right-hand side of your screen, Notification Center’s updates and notices can still be somewhat intrusive as they demand your attention. If you do not want your notices on at any time, you can disable Notification Center temporarily by toggling its Do Not Disturb feature; however, the default approach of opening Notification Center and scrolling to find the toggle for Do Not Disturb can be somewhat cumbersome.

Since OS X supports hotkeys for shifting keyboard focus to system and status menus, you might consider this as an approach, and then using arrow keys to navigate Control Center, but unfortunately both Spotlight and Notification Center are special menu extras that will not take keyboard focus, so this approach is out of the picture.

Despite these limitations, there are two alternative and somewhat hidden approaches for toggling Do Not Disturb that can be very handy.

1. Option-Click the menu

If you hold the Option key and then click the Notification Center menu, you will toggle it into Do Not Disturb mode, which will be indicated by the menu icon going from a bold black (or white if your Mac is in Dark mode), to a gray color.

The one drawback with using Option-Click is if you have a hot corner assigned to the upper-right where the menu is, then you may inadvertently trigger it.

2. Set custom hotkeys for Do Not Disturb

Even though Notification Center does not cater to hotkey use like standard system menus, OS X does support the use of custom hotkeys for two useful Notification Center functions. These are to both show and hide Notification Center, as well as toggle Do Not Disturb:

  1. Go to the Shortcuts section of the Keyboard system preferences.
  2. Select the Mission Control category.
  3. Check the boxe next to Turn Do Not Disturb On/Off (optionally do the same for Show Notification Center).
  4. Click the faded “none” text (or any existing hotkey) to input a custom hotkey of your choosing.
Do Not Disturb Notification Center shortcut in OS X

The custom shortcuts set up here can be used to quickly access Notification Center and toggle its Do Not Disturb feature.

When done, you can close the System Preferences and then use your hotkey to toggle Notification Center’s Do Not Disturb, and thereby hide it with a quick keypress whenever it gets in the way. If you find that Notification Center is just not something you want to use, ever, then you can also tweak OS X to enable Do Not Disturb at all times.

2 thoughts on “How To quickly enable Do Not Disturb for Notification Center in OS X

  1. Lynne

    thanks, very timely – after my Yosemite update clean install, Notifications got turned on (as did calendar) and I couldn’t figure out how I’d disabled them the last time!

  2. A Mac User

    Just one more example of why Ives & Dye should be removed from overseeing the UI. They’ve “simplified” it into obscurity and inconsistency to the point where it’s a cheap-looking, harder-to-use, less productive UI. They _really_ need to read some of the UI white papers written by the original Mac team … and, after that, they should go get some training on how to determine that software is QA’d properly before being shipped.

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