I keep the "System Preferences" app icon in my dock in Mojave. I recently checked for updates, and found one, but I'm not ready to install it just yet and the red notification dot over the settings app is really bothering my obsessive-compulsive self. To make things worse, there's no way to disable the notification for the settings app, from the settings app.

How can I banish the notification icon until I'm ready to deal with doing updates?

(Note: this a the red notification badge/dot over the System Preferences app, not the App Store one. It is also not the big textual one that will appear in the upper right corner of the screen. And, unlike all the other questions I found while searching for this, I am in Mac OS rather than iOS.)

The closest thing I found was this question here, which was about iCloud security problems rather than software updates. My question isn't why, but how to ignore a software update for a while.

dock notification icon
(picture borrowed from that question)


Thank you this worked for me:

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0

I might add that in order to remove the badge I also had to reset the Dock with:

killall Dock
  • I didn't have to kill the dock, I don't think, but yeah that's a good thing to remember if it doesn't immediately change. – Wyatt8740 Jan 25 at 20:04

After some unsuccessful googling, followed by loads and loads of digging and grepping through binary files, I stumbled upon a key in a .plist which, when written, appeared to make the system temporarily forget it had any updates to bother me with. Running:

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0

fixed my issue for now (Apparently, you may also have to restart the dock with killall Dock, but I don't remember having to do so).

(If you have automatic checking for updates turned on, this might not work for you. Not for long, anyway. In my case, on a fresh install, I went to the settings page to turn off checking for updates, at which time it checked for an update before I could close the page.)

If that doesn't work for you, I also tweaked the following in my quest to find the key:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist LastUpdatesAvailable 0
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist LastRecommendedUpdatesAvailable 0
sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist RecommendedUpdates

Those require root permissions to run, and the file they modify stores the results of the previous update check that was run. They might have to be done in conjuncture with each other; I am not sure since I did these first.

Re-running the update checker should undo all of this. One might be able to find that plist (I forget the path to it, unfortunately) and set the immutable bit on it/give it read only permissions to prevent it getting modified, but I have no idea what the fallout from that could be.

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