How to Turn Off or Hide the Distracting Red Notification Badges on the App Store Icon

A persistent source of distractions on the Macintosh (Mac OS X) and also the iPhone (IOS) is the annoying red notification badge on the App Store icon urging you to update your apps and sometimes operating system, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

App Store in Dock Urging Update to Mac OS High Sierra
App Store in Dock Urging Update to Mac OS High Sierra

It is, for example, generally a good practice to wait some time after an update is announced and pushed by a vendor until the almost inevitable bugs are worked out before actually updating.  This is particularly true of major operating system updates such as Apple’s macOS High Sierra update which featured a major security bug enabling anyone to trivially log on as an all-powerful root user, giving new meaning to the Apple “It Just Works” slogan.

In addition, the red notification badges are simply annoying and distracting, often interfering with the user’s ability to focus and concentrate on cognitively demanding work, presumably the main goal of using a computer.

Fortunately, there are some options to turn off or hide the distracting red notification badges.  On Mac OS X, in the System Preferences, there is a control for the App Store.  In this control, one can turn off automatic checking for updates:

System Preferences Menu Item in Apple Menu
System Preferences Menu Item in Apple Menu
App Sore Control in System Preferences
App Store Control in System Preferences (Third from Left on Third Row)
App Store System Preferences
App Store System Preferences

Note that by default automatic checking for updates is turned ON.

Unfortunately, this does not help if the App Store is already aware of an update.  In my case, App Store is aware of an update for the Xcode IDE (Interactive Development Environment for software) which says it includes the super-buggy macOS High Sierra update:

Unwanted Xcode Update with macOS High Sierra
Unwanted Xcode Update with macOS High Sierra

As mentioned, I would rather hold off until the bugs are worked out and I don’t want to be annoyed or distracted by the red notification badge.

By default, the App Store is included in the Dock.  However, one can remove the App Store and other apps from the Dock so that the annoying red badge is hidden unless you explicitly open the App Store.

Right Click on App Store Icon to See Options
Right Click on App Store Icon to See Options

Right click on the App Store icon in the Dock to see the options.  The App Store has an option “Keep In Dock.”  By default this option is checked.  Simple un-check the “Keep In Dock” option to remove the App Store from the Dock.  You must explicitly launch the App Store for it to appear on the dock and the App Store will leave the Dock when it is closed.

Tested on a MacBook Air (13 inch, early 2014) with macOS Sierra version 10.12.6

iPhone App Store

On the iPhone, one can turn off the red notification badges on the App Store icon by launching the iPhone Setting app:

iPhone Settings App
iPhone Settings App

In Settings, select Notifications:

Notifications in Settings App
Notifications in Settings App

Then, turn off notifications from the App Store:

App Store Notification ON/OFF Setting
App Store Notification ON/OFF Setting

Now, you will have to open the App Store to see if any updates are available.  The often annoying and distracting red notification badges will no longer display.

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

About the Author

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Google Can’t Legally Fire Workers for “Virtually Any Reason”

Silicon Beat, the tech blog of the (San Jose) Mercury News, recently published an article by Ethan Baron “Google’s fired engineer: James Damore’s claim against search giant revealed” which contained the following factually incorrect statement:

California law allows employers to fire workers for virtually any reason — and the Constitutional protection of free speech doesn’t apply to private company workplaces.

In fact, it is illegal under California law, which is broader than United States federal law, to fire workers for many reasons including political activities or affiliations.

In practice, under the “at will” doctrine of employment it is generally difficult to prove that someone has been fired for an illegal reason.  That is however different from saying it is legal to fire someone for virtually any reason.

It is, among other exceptions, illegal under federal law to fire a worker for various labor organizing activities and D’Amore appears to be making a case under these exceptions.

For those unfamiliar with the case, James D’Amore, then a Google engineer, wrote and distributed a detailed critique of Google’s gender diversity programs internally which was then leaked to the press causing a furor.   Google apparently specifically requested feedback from engineers who had attended its diversity training programs.  D’Amore was one such engineer.  He was fired shortly thereafter.

Google incidentally is being sued for gender discrimination and the US Department of Labor is reportedly investigating the company for discrimination against its female employees.

Again, in practice under the “at will” doctrine it is difficult to prove someone has been fired for protected labor organizing activities.   One can for example simply give a labor activist a poor performance review or even refuse to cite a reason.   See, for example, this recent article on firings by Tesla:  “Tesla employees detail how they were fired, claim dismissals were not performance related”  (CNBC, October 17, 2017)

Because D’Amore appears to have been fired specifically for distributing a political document dealing with working conditions and employment policies at his employer instead of for a pretext such as alleged poor performance, however transparent the pretext may be, he probably has an unusually strong case.  Standard Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. 

The moral here may be to be careful about asking for honest feedback from your employees.  They may give it to you.   🙂

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

About

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Another Labor Law Compliance Poster SCAM

We received another labor law compliance poster scam mailing this week.  This was an official looking mailing from Personnel Concepts with a somewhat similar style and typography to an IRS or similar mailing from the federal government.

Yes, federal law does require employers to post several labor law posters in easy of view of any employees.  However, these posters are available for free from the government!

Personnel Concepts Labor Law Compliance Poster Mailing

See this earlier post for more details on labor law poster compliance scams:  http://wordpress.jmcgowan.com/wp/corporate-compliance-services-labor-law-poster-scam/

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.