It’s tough to keep focused on work when you keep getting bombarded with text message notifications. If you use Messages on your Mac, you’ll keep getting those alerts on your Mac even if you lock your iPhone in a drawer.
Luckily, it’s easy to mute notifications from the Mac Messages app as well. You can choose to mute the entire app or mute texts from individual people or groups instead. Here’s how to do it.
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How to mute the Messages app on your Mac
Keep getting distracted by Messages notifications on your Mac? Whether someone sends you a text or an iMessage, you can mute every notification from the Messages app at once in the Mac System Preferences.
To do so, open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Notifications. Select Messages from the list of apps in the sidebar. Then turn off the option to Allow Notifications from Messages.
This stops every notification from the Messages app. Which means no more sounds, alerts, or badges.
If you don’t need to go that far you can fine-tune the notification settings so you still get them, but in a less distracting manner. For this, you need to change the alert style, sounds, or badges options for Messages notifications.
Messages notification alert styles
Rather than muting Messages notifications entirely on your Mac, you might prefer to change the alert style instead. This way, you can make incoming texts or iMessages less distracting, without removing them altogether.
The alert is the pop-up that appears in the top-right corner of your Mac. Three alert style options are available to choose from when you go to System Preferences > Notifications > Messages:
Alerts require an action from you—Close, Mark as Read, or Reply—before they go away. They are the most distracting kind of notification.
Banners appear in the top-right corner, like an Alert, but they disappear automatically. These let you know you received a message without making you act on it.
Selecting None means no alerts appear at all. Depending on your other settings, you might still hear a notification sound or see a badge appear on the Messages icon in the Dock.
Messages notification sounds
Sometimes the most annoying aspect of Message notifications on your Mac is the sound they make. It’s easy to turn off this sound or to change it to something less annoying.
To mute text and iMessage notification sounds on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Notifications > Messages. Then uncheck the option to Play sound for notifications.
To change the notification sound, you need to open the Messages app instead. Then go to Messages > Preferences from the menu bar. Now open the Message received sound drop-down menu to choose a new tone.
Messages notification badges
Badges are the red numbers or circles that appear over an app icon in the Dock. It’s easy to glance at a badge in your Dock to find out if there are notifications waiting for you inside a particular app.
This can be particularly useful if you turned off other notification methods. But you still may find it distracting if your Messages app always shows a bright red badge demanding your attention.
To turn off badges, go to System Preferences > Notifications > Messages and uncheck the Badge app icon option.
Mute texts or iMessages from individuals in Messages on Mac
It’s possible most of your Messages notifications are coming from a single person or a single group chat. If this is the case, there’s no need to mute the entire Messages app on your Mac. You can mute text and iMessage alerts from that individual chat instead.
There are two ways to mute text messages from individuals on your Mac:
- From the Details page of a chat
- By sliding across the chat in the sidebar
The first option is to use the Details page for a Messages chat. Open Messages and select the individual person or group chat you want to mute. At the top of the window, click Details, then turn on the Do Not Disturb option.
The second option to mute individuals in Messages is quicker, but you need a trackpad or a Magic Mouse to do it.
Open Messages and find the individual person or group chat you want to mute in the sidebar. On a trackpad, slide right using two fingers. With a Magic Mouse, slide right using a single finger. Then click the moon icon to enable Do Not Disturb mode for that chat.
When Do Not Disturb is turned on you don’t receive any new notifications from that individual person or group chat in Messages. You can see that Do Not Disturb is turned on by a moon icon that appears in the Messages sidebar.
Schedule Do Not Disturb time for your entire Mac
If you work from your Mac, you might want to use Do Not Disturb to disable notifications from every app so you don’t get distracted. It works just like Do Not Disturb on an iPhone. You even get you the option to schedule times for Do Not Disturb to turn on automatically.
Do Not Disturb mode also mutes emails, phone calls, calendar events, reminders, and other notifications on your Mac.
To turn Do Not Disturb on or off manually, click the button in the top-right of the menu bar to open the Notification Center. Now scroll up to reveal a Do Not Disturb button at the top of Notification Center.
Alternatively, schedule Do Not Disturb times in the System Preferences. Go to System Preferences > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. Check the box and enter the times you want to use where it says From: to:.
It’s easy to mute email threads as well
Muting text and iMessage notifications from the Messages app on your Mac is only half the battle. You are just as likely to get bombarded with email alerts from distracting group threads.
Fortunately, it’s just as easy to mute email notifications on your Mac. You can even mute threads from individual people or groups as well.