Pour one out for Growl. The app we all used for Mac notifications is gone.

High Sierra Mac notifications
High Sierra Mac notifications (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Growl, the popular app that provided Mac notifications before Apple did, is dead..

Growl is an app that older Mac users will remember because it was what brought us notifications for apps like Adium and Colloquy before Apple did. But no it's no longer around after developer Christopher Forsythe announced that the app is being retired.

Originally launched in 2004, Growl was the best way to get system-wide notifications on a Mac and it was pretty great. But the writing was on the wall once Apple announced notifications of its own – part of Mac OS X Mountain Lion – at WWDC 2012.

Growl somehow survived another eight years.

Growl is being retired after surviving for 17 years. With the announcement of Apple's new hardware platform, a general shift of developers to Apple's notification system, and a lack of obvious ways to improve Growl beyond what it is and has been, we're announcing the retirement of Growl as of today.It's been a long time coming. Growl is the project I worked on for the longest period of my open source career. However at WWDC in 2012 everyone on the team saw the writing on the wall. This was my only WWDC. This is the WWDC where Notification Center was announced. Ironically Growl was called Global Notifications Center, before I renamed it to Growl because I thought the name was too geeky. There's even a sourceforge project for Global Notifications Center still out there if you want to go find it.

We've all heard of apps being Sherlocked. It's a testament to Growl's awesomeness that it survived so long after its own Sherlocking.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.