In this Best Mac Tip I’ll be showing you how to fine-tune aspects of the Notification Center in Mac OS X. For example, we’ll look at how to turn off birthday notifications which come through from the OS X Facebook integration.

Current versions of Mac OS X have the new Notifications center. It sits on the right side of the screen and is accessed via an assigned touchpad swipe and/or clicking the little icon at the far right of your Mac menu bar. Newer versions of OS X also have Facebook integration, which for some people is useful. One downside is that birthday data is pulled through from Facebook, and if you have a lot of Facebook “friends”—many of whom are basically strangers—seeing birthday notifications can be a real nuisance.

Turning off birthday notifications

In Calendar you can view your calendars on the left panel. If that’s not showing, go to the View menu and select Show Calendar List. At the end of the list you’ll likely see a section called Subscriptions. There you’ll likely see a calendar subscription called Birthdays. If you deselect this it will prevent birthdays showing up in Calendar. It is up to you whether you want them showing or not. If you have Facebook synchronisation set up on OS X you may have birthday entries for more people than you care to know about. I know. Over 800 of them!

But this won’t prevent them showing up as Notifications. To do that select the Birthdays calendar and hit Command-I (to bring up the Info panel). There you’ll want to select Ignore Alerts.

If you want to hide the Birthdays calendar entirely, go to Calendar, then Preferences (Command + , [comma]), General, and at the bottom you’ll see an option to Show Birthdays Calendar. Deselect that option.

Disable other potentially useless Calendar alerts

If you are subscribed to Shared Calendars, you might want to turn off alerts for these calendars. You can do that under the Alerts section of Calendar Preferences. You’ll see the option one up from the bottom of that Preference panel.

Hopefully that’s fixed the issue for you.