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macOS Ventura notifications are broken, and there’s no sign of a fix

macOS Ventura has been available to the general public since October, but there’s a problem that’s been bothering me since beta 1 – notifications. In macOS Ventura, there is a range of problems impacting the reliability and usefulness of notifications. The problems are the biggest sign yet that macOS notifications need a complete overhaul and rethink.

macOS notifications are broken

When Apple released the first beta of macOS Ventura, notifications were almost unusable. That was understandable, given it was an early beta. The experience improved through continued macOS Ventura betas. At some point, though, those improvements stopped, and macOS notifications were left in a state of disarray.

macOS Ventura 13.2 was released to everyone last month, and notifications are still unreliable for both Apple apps and third-party apps. I’ve held out hope that these point-updates would fix the problems, but they haven’t. If anything, notifications have gotten even more unreliable. Some of the issues include:

  • They get “stuck” in the upper-right of the display
  • They get “stuck” in Notification Center
  • They don’t appear at all
  • They don’t play sound when they’re supposed to, or vice versa
  • They “beach ball,” requiring the app that sent the notification to be force quit
  • Notifications appear 20-minutes late, basically like you’re running on a tape delay

The most annoying of these issues is when notifications don’t appear at all. I’ve had this problem for almost every app on my Mac, including Messages, Slack, Mail, and Twitter. This seems to mean that it’s a system-level issue, although the Mail app is the number one offender in my experience.

I’m not alone in these problems, either. Other 9to5Mac staffers are experiencing the same things. On Reddit, macOS users have regularly complained of notification issues, ranging from the Calendar app to the Weather app and more. One other common problem seems to be that notifications will show a “Not Permitted” symbol over the app icon.

9to5Mac’s Take

One possibility I’ve considered for my specific issues: I use Apple’s Focus Modes feature pretty religiously. I have Focus modes for “Work,” “Personal,” “Evenings,” and “Sleep.” These are all set to automatically enable at certain times. It could be that something to do with my Focus mode implementation that is messing up notifications on the Mac.

Still, that’s not an excuse for the lackluster reliability of notifications in macOS Ventura. Focus is a feature created by Apple, it’s not a third-party hack. In fact, it’s a feature Apple has directed a lot of attention toward in the past two years.

What’s most frustrating (or impressive?) is how Apple has managed to make notifications so bad and unreliable, and yet changed absolutely nothing about notification-related features. Notifications have needed an overhaul on macOS for years — especially Notification Center itself. These issues in macOS Ventura make it clear there are some underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Finally, I want to point out that these notification bugs and reliability issues don’t seem to affect everyone running macOS Ventura. That being said, the problems appear to be widespread enough to make it clear that something isn’t quite right.

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