How to Fix Notification Center That Keeps Freezing on Mac

a woman in black blazer using a MacBook Pro

Does the Notification Center on your Mac keep on freezing or getting stuck?

The Notification Center on your Mac is a handy tool. It doesn’t only allow you to catch up on missed notifications but also lets you use widgets right from the desktop. Like any apps, however, it is not without its flaws. In some cases, it becomes unresponsive. 

Many Mac users reported that they were unable to open or close the Notification Center. The app got frozen on the screen, unresponsive. When they checked the Activity Monitor, they found a “Not Responding” label next to “Notification Center.” Plus, the app had abnormally high CPU usage stats.

From problematic widgets to corrupted apps and preference files, there are many possible culprits behind this issue. Whatever the case, we’re here to help resolve the problem. Here’s how to fix the Notification Center that keeps on freezing on your Mac.

Let’s get right to it!

1. Use Activity Monitor to Force-Quit Notification Center.

When the Notification Center freezes up, the first thing you should do is force-quit it. You can use the Activity Monitor to do that. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below. 

Here’s how to force-quit the Notification Center using the Activity Monitor:

  1. First, click the Finder icon on the Dock. 
  2. Next, select Applications in the sidebar and then click Utilities.
  3. Now, click Activity Monitor. Alternatively, you can open it using the Spotlight by hitting Command + Space on your keyboard.
activity monitor
  1. On the Activity Monitor, look for the Notification Center under the Process Name list. It may be marked with the Not Responding label.
  2. Next, click the X button in the upper-left corner of the Notification Center on the list. 
  3. Lastly, a pop-up menu will show up. Select Quit or Force Quit

2. Use Terminal to Force-Quit Notification Center That Keeps Freezing on Mac.

In some cases, when an app freezes, the Activity Monitor crashes, too. If that happens, force-quit a frozen Notification Center on Mac by using the Terminal app. 

Here’s how to perform this workaround:

  1. Start by clicking the Finder on the Dock.
  2. Next, click Applications in the left sidebar menu. Then, select Utilities.
  3. Now, click the Terminal icon.
use terminal to fix notification center that keeps freezing on Mac
  1. Type the following command and hit Enter:
killall NotificationCenter
  1. After that, the Notification Center will restart. 
  2. Finally, exit the Terminal app.

If the Notification Center starts freezing up again after force-quitting it, a corrupted third-party app or random bugs may be causing the issue. We’ll address how to deal with these below.

3. Update Your macOS.

If you haven’t updated your macOS, now’s the time to do so. Often, new macOS versions are packed with system updates and patches that can eliminate bugs and resolve different Mac issues, including app crashes. 

Here’s how to ensure that your Mac is up-to-date: 

  1. First, click the Apple menu on your desktop.
  2. Next, select System Preferences and then click Software Update.
  3. See if there’s an available update. If so, click Update Now or Upgrade Now.
update macOS
  1. Finally, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the macOS update. 

4. Remove the Screen Time Widget.

Does the Notification Center still crash and freeze even after the macOS update? It’s time to look at possible problematic apps and widgets. Some users reported that removing the Screen Time widget from the Notification Center fixed their problem.

Here’s how to remove the Screen Time Widget from the Notification Center:

  1. First, open the Notification Center
  2. Then, scroll down and select Edit Widgets.
  3. Look for the Screen Time Widget.
  4. Lastly, click the Remove () icon from the upper-left corner of the Screen Time Widget icon and then click Done
notification center keeps freezing on Mac

Once you’ve done all that, open the Notification Center again. See if you can use it without a hitch. If it freezes again, you might have to look for more problematic apps.

5. Look for the Problematic Apps.

Some users reported that apps like Bartender and Magnet caused the problem. If that’s also the case for you, the Notification Center on your Mac will crash and become unresponsive again—no matter how many times you restart it or update your macOS. 

notification center keeps freezing on Mac

Rule out this possibility before moving to another potential solution. Here’s how to find the problematic app on your Notification Center:

  1. First, disable non-Apple notifications. Check out this Apple guide to learn how.
  2. Then, restart the Notification Center using Activity Monitor or Terminal (See Method 1 & 2 above).
  3. If the issue persists, then one of those non-Apple apps is causing it. You can determine which one by re-enabling the non-Apple notifications individually.
  4. Keep repeating Step 3 until you find out which app causes the issue.

Once you discover the problematic app, there are a couple of action steps you can do:

  • Update the problematic app to the latest version and test if it no longer causes the Notification Center to crash or become unresponsive.
  • Contact the app developer to ask for tech support.

6. Delete Preference Files to Fix Notification Center That Keeps Freezing on Mac.

If there’s no problematic app on your Notification Center, the culprit could be corrupted preference files. Try to delete them to see if they’re truly the problem.

Note that doing so will remove any customized settings you may have on the Notification Center. Once the preference files are deleted, Mac will automatically create new ones.

use finder to fix notification center 
that keeps freezing on Mac

Here’s how to delete the corrupted Notification Center preference files:

  1. First, open the Finder app.
  2. Next, click Go and then select Go to Folder.
  3. Now, type the following pathname on the box and click Go:
~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.ncprefs.plist
  1. Look for the file named com.apple.ncprefs.plist and drag it to Trash.
  2. Restart your Mac.
  3. Finally, open the Notification Center again and test it. 

7. Reset Home Directory Permissions.

Does the issue persist even after following the troubleshooting tips above? We have one last solution for you: reset Home Directory Permissions on your Mac. This trick can help resolve your issues as a recently installed app might have incorrectly set a program file non-executable, preventing the Notification Center from running properly. 

Here’s how to perform this solution:

  1. First, restart your Mac and hold down the Command + R keys to boot your computer into Recovery Mode.
  2. The macOS Utilities window will show up. Select Utilities from the menu bar on top and then click Terminal.
macOs utilities
  1. In the Terminal window, type the following command and then press Enter:
resetpassword 
  1. A new window will appear. Scroll down to look for a button labeled Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs and click on that. 
  2. Once the reset process is complete, restart your Mac.
  3. Lastly, test your Notification Center. See if it now works efficiently.

8. Reach Out to Apple Support. 

None of the above solutions worked? It’s time to reach out to Apple Support. There may be some software issues causing your problem that require official tech support. You can get in touch with Apple Support via online chat, email, or phone.

reach out to Apple Support

That’s it. Hopefully, this guide has helped. For more tech guides, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Let us know which topic we should talk about next.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

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