Ditching Notification Center for Growl

Long before Apple included Notification Center in Lion, there was Growl - a hyper-powerful notification platform for OS X. Early on, it was designed for those Mac power users that wanted to get more out of their machines by knowing exactly what was going on - system statuses, wireless network information, connected drives, new email alerts, IM conversations - the list was endless.

When Apple released OS X Lion 10.7, a conflict arose. Users who wanted to keep the notification platform they so knew and loved were faced with annoying conflicts with Apple's own notification feature. What is a dedicated Growl user to do?

Remove Notification Center, of course.


Now, you can't really remove it because it's a built-in part of the operating system, however, you can hide that nonsense from your the OS X task bar and prevent the sub-system from running on launch. You'll need to dust off your Terminal skills for this one:

  1. First, run launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist to unload the Notification Center system agent from memory and the process table.
  2. Next, run killall NotificationCenter to kill the app icon from the task bar.

This solves the problem of running two conflicting notification services on your Mac. The best part is that you don't need to be an admin or sudo su to run these commands since these changes are on a per-user basis and aren't changed system-wide. To re-enable the service, simply reverse the commands you ran above as follows:

  1. Run launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist to load the system agent into memory.
  2. In the /System/Library/CoreServices/ directory, find Notification Center app icon and double-click to relaunch. If you're uncomfortable dipping into your System folder, you can re-launch the Finder by pressing ⌘⌥ Esc for the Force Quit Applications menu, selecting Finder from the list, and clicking the Relaunch button.