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I absolutely hate the Notification Center in macOS. I had successfully turned it off permanently in an earlier version of Big Sur by executing the following commands in the Terminal, followed by a restart:

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist

killall NotificationCenter

However, upon upgrading to 11.4, the Notification Center reappeared spontaneously, and I could not turn it off again by executing the above commands. When I tried, the following error message appeared:

Unload failed: 5: Input/output error

If I try

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist

it gives me

Unload failed: 113: Could not find specified service

After some experimentation, I found a makeshift solution. I had to go to Recovery Mode and turn off System Integrity Protection by executing the following command in the Terminal:

csrutil disable

After a restart, the launchctl command above works and the Notification Center remains permanently disabled.

But! If I go back to Recovery Mode and enable System Integrity Protection again by executing the command

csrutil enable

then the Notification Center appears again in “normal” mode after a restart.

Question: How big of a deal is it to leave System Integrity Protection disabled? Experts seem to agree it is a bad idea because it creates a security liability. But if leaving it turned off is the price I have to pay for getting rid of the Notification Center, I lean towards paying that price. At the same time, I wonder if there is a superior solution. Any thoughts/advice on this?

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  • I've gotta ask. You don't like Notification Center, whatever. So who cares if it's running, turn off all the notifications. Jun 2, 2021 at 0:57
  • @MarcWilson Apparently, you can’t just “turn it off” without working some magic in the Terminal. Other users report unwanted messages that keep popping up even after you disable all notifications, as you suggest. More broadly, I like to have at least some partial control over what’s going on on my computer, and I find it supremely annoying that Apple just randomly overrides settings I had carefully created after OS updates.
    – triple_sec
    Jun 2, 2021 at 1:03
  • I have no problems disabling SIP. It is a block on things that used not be blocked (as you have discovered).
    – Gilby
    Jun 2, 2021 at 5:26
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    @MarcWilson, triple_sec makes good points. I'd add that there are plenty of applications where i've found it virtually impossible to remove all of them as well. If you use the machine for public presentations or as an HTPC there is nothing more annoying that having to dismiss notifications. Mostly the system update ones are the ones you can't completely disable. Removing SIP is an option, but leaves you with a less secure machine. Do Not Disturb helps, but in that 1 minute window the reminder pops up and stays until dismissed. Apple should provide an option disable...
    – jriskin
    Sep 9, 2021 at 20:02

2 Answers 2

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Temporary Solution

I've had the same issues. The only workaround I could come up with, is to minimise the area it took in my Menu Bar. The Notification Center icon is just a Digital clock and changing it to Analog in System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar > Clock.

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I think (not absolutely sure) if you turn Notifications off with the method mentioned above, you do not get battery warnings anymore (on MacBooks, i.e. if battery drops below x%). I had that with my old MacBook/Catalina, it just turned off when battery went down, no warning beforehand. That said: I'd love to replace NC with a Notifications-Dock-Icon and put widgets (those very few I actually use: weather) on the desktop. Is there an app for this?

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  • This does not answer the original post. Post you own new question.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 3, 2021 at 10:25

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