In Apple’s MacOS Big Sur, the Notification Center is the place where all your widgets and (unsurprisingly) notifications are housed. Normally hidden off-screen, it provides a quick and convenient way to catch up on any alerts you have received over the course of the day, as well as useful widgets like weather forecasts, your calendar, and more.
Notification Center has existed on Macs since 2012, but it has seen a big update with MacOS Big Sur. Now, your alerts and widgets are grouped together, simplifying the experience. That new layout means it all works a bit differently from previous years, but with our guide in hand, you will be up to speed in no time.
Step 1: Getting started with Notification Center
To begin, click the date and time in the top-right corner of your screen. Notification Center will slide onto your display from the right-hand side. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of widgets and click Edit Widgets to start customizing.
Step 2: Edit existing widgets
When you click Edit Widgets, the Notification Center customization screen will take over. It is divided into three columns: A search bar and list of available app widgets on the left, a preview of each widget in the center, and a view of your current Notification Center layout on the right.
Hover over existing widgets in Notification Center and Edit Widget will appear under some of them. Click the widget and you can make changes like the set location of the weather or clock apps, for example.
Step 3: Choose a widget size
Click an app on the left and you can see what each widget has to offer. Alternatively, you can find a specific app by using the search box in the top-left corner.
Like in iOS 14, some widgets have various sizes to choose from. The Podcasts app, for example, offers small, medium, and large widgets, each of which shows different amounts of information. When you click the S, M, or L buttons below each widget, you get a preview of what that size looks like.
Step 4: Add your chosen widget to Notification Center
Once you have settled on a widget, hover over it and you will see a green “+” symbol appear. Click this and the widget is added to the bottom of the list of widgets in Notification Center. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the widget to any position in Notification Center.
Step 5: Rearrange your widgets
Drag and drop is not just limited to adding new widgets — you can rearrange the widgets that are already in Notification Center by clicking and dragging them to a new position. As you do so, other widgets will move out of the way, giving you a clear idea of how the final layout will look. Notification Center will also show a translucent outline of the widget you are currently moving, showing you where it will “land” when you drop it into place.
Step 6: Finish up
When you are happy with the new arrangement, click Done at the bottom of the right-hand column, or simply click on any area of empty space. This will take you back to your desktop, with Notification Center active on the right. Click anywhere else on screen or do a two-finger rightward swipe on Notification Center to dismiss it.