How to Turn on Do Not Disturb on a Mac

Get some peace for awhile

MacBook Air displaying a do not disturb graphic on the screen.

AzFree/Jake Olimb/Getty Images


Notifications in macOS are used to keep you up to date with calendar events, emails, messages, and more. But sometimes all those incoming alerts can prove distracting, drawing your attention away from the things you need to be working on.

Fortunately, Apple offers Do Not Disturb, a feature that lets you shut off all those alerts when you need to.

Instructions in this guide apply to Mac devices running macOS or OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and later.

How to Quickly Turn on Do Not Disturb on a Mac

Follow these instructions to quickly turn on Do Not Disturb mode on a Mac.

  1. Locate the Notification Center icon in the menu bar (upper-right corner of the screen).

    Notification Center icon on macOS
  2. Press and hold the Option key and select the Notification Center icon.

  3. The Notification Center icon will now be grayed out, indicating that Do Not Disturb is now active.

    Notification Center icon grayed out
  4. To turn off Do Not Disturb, simply press and hold the Option key and select the Notification Center icon again. Your notifications will start coming through again.

    If you don't manually reactivate your notifications, Do Not Disturb will automatically turn itself off the following day.

How to Activate Do Not Disturb from the Notification Center

Do Not Disturb can be also activated within the Notification center.

  1. Select the Notification Center icon in the menu bar. Alternatively, swipe left with two fingers from the right edge of the Mac trackpad. This opens the Notification Center tab.

    macOS Notification Center
  2. Scroll up in Notification Center to reveal two options: NIGHT SHIFT and DO NOT DISTURB.

    On older versions of macOS or OS X you would have to scroll down.

    Notification Center Night Shift and Do Not Disturb
  3. Toggle the DO NOT DISTURB switch to the On position (blue).

    Do Not Disturb toggle in Notification Center on macOS
  4. To deactivate Do Not Disturb, the toggle the option to the Off position (gray).

How to Automatically Schedule Do Not Disturb

You can set Do Not Disturb to activate and deactivate on a daily schedule, as well as set some custom rules in case you still want to be notified of calls during these periods.

  1. Select the Notification Center icon in the menu bar to open the Notification Center tab.

  2. Select the settings cog in the bottom right corner is a settings cog to open the Notifications settings window.

    Notification Center gear icon
  3. Under Turn on Do Not Disturb, select the checkbox next to the time boxes.

  4. Select the up and down arrows to set the schedule.

    Do Not Disturb schedule options

    Additionally, you can choose to automatically activate Do Not Disturb when your Mac's display is in sleep mode, or when it's connected to a TV or projector.

  5. If you want to receive calls while Do Not Disturb is active, you can set those preferences within the same window. Simply click the corresponding checkbox to allow all calls or repeated attempts from the same number.

    Phone call options for Do Not Disturb