macOS Big Sur: How to add, remove, and manage notifications and widgets Notification Center

How you can customize Notification Center to your liking.

Credit: IDG

With macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple redesigned Notification Center. It is now a single column of notifications and widgets to provide quick information with just a click. Let’s take a look at the new Notification Center, and how you can customize it to your liking.

In macOS Big Sur, Notification Center is accessed by clicking on the date in the menu bar, located in the upper right of the screen. There is no longer a Notification Center icon.


Notifications appear at the top of Notification Center. If you click on a notification, it will take you to the corresponding app. For example, if you click on a Messages notification, the Messages app opens.

Notifications are grouped together if you have multiple notifications from an app. For example, if you have News alerts active, the notifications for each news outlet is grouped, and if you click one, the grouping expands so you can see all the notifications.

macos big sur grouped notifications IDG

Click on a grouped notification and it will expand.

Each notification has an expansion arrow icon (>) on the upper right. Click it, and the notification expands to show more info. Also, if you mouse over a notification, a Delete button appears in the lower left that you can use to dismiss it.

Adding and removing notifications

To add or remove an app notification, you go to System Preferences > Notifications. On the left is a list of apps that provide notifications. Click on the app you want, and then its settings appear on the right side. Check/uncheck the Show in Notification Center box to add/remove its notifications.

You can also adjust its groups by clicking on the “Notification grouping” pop-up. Your options are: automatic, by app, or off.

macos big sur notifications sys pref Apple

The settings for Notification Center in System Preferences > Notifications.


Under the notifications are widgets. These are small and simple items that provide quick access to information or controls. Many of the widgets are of Apple apps, such as Calendar, Reminders, and Podcasts, while others show info collected from the internet.

Rearrage widgets

To move a widget, click and drag it to the desired location.

Remove or resize a widget

To resize a widget, right-click it and a pop-up menu will appear. Then select Small, Medium, or Large. If a size is not available, it will not appear.

To remove a widget, right-click it, and in the pop-up menu, select Remove Widget.

macos big sur notifications rearrage popup IDG

Moving a widget (left), and the pop-up menu with options when you right-click a widget (right).

Add a widget

Right-click a widget and select Edit Widgets in the pop-up menu, or scroll to the bottom of Notification Center and click the Edit Widgets button. Notification Center will expand to show you the widgets available.

When you see a widget you want to add, click on the S, M, or L buttons to preview its size. (if these buttons aren’t there, it’s only available in the size shown.) Pick a size, then click on the image of the widget to add it to Notification Center.

You can then go into the Notification Center on the right and move the widget to your preferred location by clicking and dragging it.

macos big sur notification center new widgets IDG

When you want to add a widget, they are showcased in this interface.

Once you’re done, press the Escape key on your keyboard or click outside the Notification Center to close it.

Edit Widget

Right click on a widget, and if it shows an Edit Widget option that the top of the pop-up menu, you can adjust what it displays. (This is different from the Edit Widgets option at the bottom of the pop-up.)

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Roman Loyola

Roman Loyola
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