I'm trying to understand how to get Notifications working properly in Mountain Lion. I understand all the concepts about how to enable them, and configure them etc, but it doesn't seem to work as advertised.

I'll use Safari as my example here:

I have the following preferences set in both System Preferences, and Safari's Notification Preferences tab:

Sys Prefs

Safari Prefs

As you can see, I set the alert style such that any alert should stay on screen until dismissed, and the most recent 5 alerts should remain unless dismissed within the notification centre "tray".

Now, when I trigger alerts (and to do this I have been enabling desktop alerts in the Ask Different Chat Room and getting people to ping my name) I am getting numerous odd behaviour.

Sometimes when I receive the alerts, I can see them appear both in the top right, and also in the "tray", but if I ignore them, they not only go away automatically (they shouldn't, I am not using banner alerts) but they also subsequently remove themselves from the tray without any action on my part.

Other times the notifications refuse to show and only appear in the Notification Center without ever popping up properly - I think that this happens with Safari minimised.

I have switched them to banner type and back, and no change. But it seems to work fine in Mail, the alerts (set as Banners in its case) show, disappear when they should, but the most recent 5 remain in the tray as expected, but I cannot get any to stay in the tray for Safari at all. I have tested notifications through Twitter and Messages also, with banner and alert styles, and these all seem to operate normally.

I made the following screen captures that shows an alert style notification simply disappearing without any acknowledgement within Notification Center, and also one that shows them failing to show at all:



Anyone know if this is a Safari, or a NC bug? Any other apps that behave in a similar fashion? Any ways to "fix" it?

Extra: After checking the comments and talking this through (and testing) extensively in chat, it seems that lots of people have similar issues. I have come across people just not getting any full stop using the same config as me above, and Chrome users getting the same results too so it looks like a NC issue, not Safari. Feel free to add your issues if you have any as comments, I will try to expand the question if I spot a common theme. I have not yet read anything that indicates it's massively widespread, but anecdotally on here and in chat it seems that it's not just me. The following answers were removed for being "me too", but show that others are experiencing the same issues:

I'm seeing the exact same thing w/safari and gmail. the alerts pop up correctly and I can see the notification show up in notification center. But as soon as the alert "bubble" goes away, the item is removed from notification center. If I open the mail application and configure the gmail account those email alerts show up in notification center fine.

answered Jul 26 at 15:03


o answer I'm afriad but I'm having the same issue with mail and Notificaiton Centre. My iCloud (previously MobileMe) email and Gmail are not producing notifications.

However, NC does seem to work for my iCalendar items and the App Store update.

answered Jul 27 at 8:13


I'm not getting any notifications at all. Neither popups nor in the notification center. I've added both my hotmail & gmail accounts in the mail settings, configured the notification settings, sent test emails from other accounts, and nothing. Not sure if there's something simple I'm missing or if it's an issue with the new OS. Anyone else have this issue? Solution anyone?

answered Jul 26 at 22:27

Lion in SD

  • Are you in Safari when you receive the alerts or are you in a another application? If you are using Safari or are currently on the page when you receive the alerts that may be the reason why they aren't staying. Similar to being in mail when you receive an email in iOS, since your in mail and can obviously see the new messages that were sent to you, it doesn't need to keep it in the NC. Please let us know.
    – de_an777
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 13:49
  • Just tried that, got someone to create a load, minimised Safari, open mail and waited with Mail the active window. Same results.
    – stuffe
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 14:34
  • I am experiencing exactly the same issues with Gmail notifications. Every time I get an e-mail, a pop-up appears, but no notifications remain in Notifications Center, regardless of how many "Recent Items" I want to have in the Notification Center or what should be the alert style.
    – peterm
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


I'm a Mac OS X developer and I just finished adding Notification Center support to my app. For what it's worth, here's what I found out:

  • By default, notifications (the alerts) are NOT shown if the application is already frontmost (this explains why alerts refuse to show up sometimes, and you only see the notification in Notification Center). This is up to given applications to overwrite and it is not very straightforward, so do expect most applications to not show notifications when they're active. In my opinion, this is very annoying.
  • The application, after sending a notification still has a lot of control over that given notification. It can remove it from your screen at any time it wants, regardless of the settings you have. Basically, if Safari, for some reason was set to remove notifications after X seconds, it will do that, your settings do not matter.

I have no idea if this is a bug in Safari or Notification Center, or both. However, I am fairly confident that there is nothing you can do about the second issue (there might be a hidden defaults setting for the first one, but I haven't heard of it). I did check the WebKit API Specification, to make sure it's not something that the individual websites are doing, and you can rule out websites from your suspect's list, because they do not have any control over the notifications.

I guess we'll have to wait and see if Apple will address this in its next bug fix release (10.9). However, by the looks of it, not showing notifications when the app is frontmost is a "feature", so don't get your hopes up.

  • Seems like there's much to learn, I don't expect a better answer, so thanks for taking the time to spell it out from the non-user perspective.
    – stuffe
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 22:19

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