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Python library for cross-platform desktop notifications

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Desktop Notifier

desktop-notifier is a Python library for cross-platform desktop notifications. Currently supported platforms are:

  • Linux via the dbus service org.freedesktop.Notifications
  • macOS and iOS via the Notification Center framework
  • [experimental] Windows via the WinRT / Python bridge.



desktop-notifier aims to be a good citizen of the platforms which it supports. It therefore stays within the limits of the native platform APIs and does not try to work around limitations which are often deliberate UI choices. For example, on macOS and iOS, it is not possible to change the app icon which is shown on notifications. There are possible workarounds - that would likely be rejected by an App Store review - and desktop-notifier deliberately stays away from those.

Where supported by the native platform APIs, desktop-notifier allows for:

  • Clickable notifications with callbacks on user interaction
  • Multiple action buttons
  • A single reply field (e.g., for chat notifications)
  • Notification sounds
  • Notification threads (grouping notifications by topic)
  • Limiting the maximum number of notifications shown in the notification center

An exhaustive list of features and their platform support is provided in the documentation.

Design choices by desktop-notifier:

  • Async API: The main API consists of async methods and a running event loop is required to respond to user interactions with a notification.
  • Prefer pure Python dependencies over extension modules. We make an exception for Windows because interoperability with the Windows Runtime is difficult to achieve otherwise.


From PyPI:

pip3 install -U desktop-notifier


The main API consists of asynchronous methods which need to be awaited. Basic usage only requires the user to specify a notification title and message. For example:

import asyncio
from desktop_notifier import DesktopNotifier

notifier = DesktopNotifier()

async def main():
    n = await notifier.send(title="Hello world!", message="Sent from Python")
    await asyncio.sleep(5)  # wait a bit before clearing notification

    await notifier.clear(n)  # removes the notification
    await notifier.clear_all()  # removes all notifications for this app

For convenience, there is also a synchronous method send_sync() to send notifications without manually starting an asyncio event loop:

notifier.send_sync(title="Hello world!", message="Sent from Python")

By default, "Python" will be used as the app name for all notifications, but you can manually specify an app name and icon in the DesktopNotifier constructor. Advanced usage also allows setting different notification options such as urgency, buttons, callbacks, etc. The following code will generate the notification shown in the gif at the top of the page:

import asyncio
from desktop_notifier import DesktopNotifier, Urgency, Button, ReplyField

notifier = DesktopNotifier()

async def main():
  await notifier.send(
      title="Julius Caesar",
      message="Et tu, Brute?",
          title="Mark as read",
          on_pressed=lambda: print("Marked as read")),
        on_replied=lambda text: print("Brutus replied:", text),
      on_clicked=lambda: print("Notification clicked"),
      on_dismissed=lambda: print("Notification dismissed"),

loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()

Note that some platforms may not support all options. For instance, some Linux desktop environments may not support notifications with buttons. macOS does not support manually setting the app icon or name. Instead, both are always determined by the application which uses the Library. This can be Python itself, or a frozen app bundle when packaged with PyInstaller or similar solutions. Please refer to the Platform Support chapter of the documentation for more information on limitations for certain platforms.

Any options or configurations which are not supported by the platform will be silently ignored.

Event loop integration

Using the asynchronous API is highly recommended to prevent multiple milliseconds of blocking IO from DBus or Cocoa APIs. In addition, execution of callbacks requires a running event loop. On Linux, an asyncio event loop will be sufficient but macOS requires a running CFRunLoop.

You can use rubicon-objc to integrate a Core Foundation CFRunLoop with asyncio:

import asyncio
from rubicon.objc.eventloop import EventLoopPolicy

# Install the event loop policy

# Get an event loop, and run it!
loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()

Desktop-notifier itself uses Rubicon Objective-C to interface with Cocoa APIs. A full example integrating with the CFRunLoop is given in examples/ Please refer to the Rubicon Objective-C docs for more information.

Likewise, you can integrate the asyncio event loop with a Gtk main loop on Gnome using gbulb. This is not required for full functionality but may be convenient when developing a Gtk app.

Notes on macOS

On macOS 10.14 and higher, the implementation uses the UNUserNotificationCenter instead of the deprecated NSUserNotificationCenter. UNUserNotificationCenter only allows signed executables to send desktop notifications. This means that notifications will only work if the Python executable or bundled app has been signed. Note that the installer from provides a properly signed Python framework but homebrew does not (manually signing the executable installed by homebrew should work as well).

If you freeze your code with PyInstaller or a similar packaging solution, you must sign the resulting app bundle for notifications to work. An ad-hoc signature will be sufficient but signing with an Apple developer certificate is recommended for distribution and may be required on future releases of macOS.


  • macOS 10.13 or higher
  • Linux desktop environment providing a dbus desktop notifications service


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