iTunes 11.1 brought with it support for iOS 7 and the excellent iTunes Radio feature, but another small feature lets you see song changes in the OS X Notification Center. Though it’s a fairly minor feature, there have been a variety of third party tweaks and apps to provide similar services over the years, making it pretty nice to have this natively.
Enable iTunes Song Change Notifications in OS X
The initial setting to see Notifications is handled through iTunes, though the total song count is adjusted through System Preferences as shown in the next step.
- From iTunes, pull down the iTunes menu and choose “Preferences”
- Under “General” you’ll find “Notifications”, check the boxes for “When song changes”
- Optional: Check the box for “Keep all song changes in Notification Center”
Show More Songs in Notification Center
The optional setting of “Keep all song changes” maintains a running tab of what songs have played, creating a playlist of sorts that you can recall later by looking through Notification Center. By default, only 5 songs will show up in the Notification panel, but you can adjust that through general system settings to display up to 20 songs:
- Pull down the Apple menu and go to “System Preferences”
- Choose “Notifications” and locate “iTunes” in the list
- Alongside ‘Show in Notification Center’ pull down the submenu and select “20 Recent Items” (or 10, 5, etc)
Showing 20 songs may seem excessive for users who rely on Notification Center for other alerts, but for those who don’t use the feature much otherwise it can be an interesting way to see a songs played list that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible.
This feature obviously requires Notification Center to be enabled, which is part of OS X Mountain Lion or OS X Mavericks, thus Lion users won’t find the option or the notifications. If you disabled Notification Center at some point, you will need to re-enable it beforehand.
Macs with older versions of OS X and iTunes can continue to use a defaults command to enable a Dock-based song alert instead.