Skip to main content

How to use Big Sur’s Notification Center widgets

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Notification Center in MacOS Big Sur
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Blake
In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…
How to change the default apps on a Mac
Change your Mac’s default apps in three easy steps
MacOS Catalina Hands-on | Macbook Pro

Apple products come loaded with software designed to work seamlessly with the macOS operating system. For example, Safari is the default software used to load websites, Preview is used to view pictures, and Pages will open documents. But if you're not a fan of the built-in software, Apple doesn't lock you into using it. However, you'll need to know exactly where to look if you want to change the default apps on a Mac.

Thankfully, the process is largely the same whether you're running macOS Sonoma 14, Ventura 13, or other macOS versions. It's also easy to reverse the process and go back to using default apps.

Read more
10 Mac trackpad gestures that everyone should be using
A person holds a MacBook Air at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in 2023.

One of the best parts of macOS is learning and executing all of Apple’s many internal shortcuts. These are hidden commands built into the company’s hardware that are total godsends when it comes to things like click consolidation (one command instead of three clicks) and workflow optimization. Some of these commands you may already know, but we’re willing to bet there’s at least one or two we can introduce to you!

That’s our goal at any rate, and we’ve gone ahead and created this roundup of several trackpad gestures you can use in macOS for all our readers. Even if you don’t use shortcuts all the time, one of these quick executables could come in handy down the line. 
Zoom in or out

Read more
This HP Victus gaming PC is over $500 off for a limited time
The HP Victus 15L gaming PC on a desk.

Gaming PC deals can be pretty exciting, especially if you’re not upgrading out of necessity. After all, overclocking can really push your machine to its limits, which could spell disaster for desktops that are less equipped for heavy-duty gameplay. This is why we’re always looking for great desktop computer deals, and we found one we thing most folks are going to love: 

For a limited time, the HP Victus 15L Gaming Desktop is on sale at HP. Normally, this powerful gaming PC costs $1,400, but you’ll be able to grab it for $830 (a $570 discount) while this deal lasts. 

Read more