Reduce System Notification Volume in Ubuntu [Beginner Tip]

Imagine this: you are watching a movie or enjoying music at a louder volume when all of a sudden a terrible system notification ruins your experience, perhaps even scaring you. Maybe it was the torrent you started downloading half an hour ago or the daily backup you had running in the background. Annoying, isn’t it? I’m sure this has happened to you more than once before.

But don’t worry! There is a simple solution for you: decrease the volume of those nasty system alerts.

Decreasing the system volume lets you play specific audio/video program at your desired volume without getting bugged up by annoying notification sounds. In this beginner guide, we will show you how to decrease your system volume in Ubuntu 18.04 & 16.04.

Reduce System Notification Volume In Ubuntu 18.04

Reduce System Notification Volume in Ubuntu 18.04

Fortunately, reducing the volume of your system notifications is a plain task in any Ubuntu machine. To make it this guide even easier to follow for beginner Linux users, we will provide useful screenshots at each step. Let’s get to it!

First of all, press the Super (a.k.a. Windows key) or click on Show Applications in the bottom of the left side of your desktop.

Show Applications Ubuntu 18.04

This will open up a search menu similar to this one:

Applications Menu Ubuntu 18.04

Anyway, you should see a Search Bar at the top of your screen. Type in sound.

Search for Sound Settings Ubuntu 18.04

This is what we are looking for. Press Enter to open up the Sound Settings Menu.

Sound Settings Menu Ubuntu 18.04

In Sound Settings, go to Sound Effects tab.

Sound Effects Settings Ubuntu 18.04

Here is where the magic happens! You can choose to adjust the volume of your notifications:

Adjust Notification Volume Ubuntu 18.04

You could choose a different sound for your notifications:

Change Notification Sound Ubuntu 18.04

Or even mute them altogether:

Mute Notifications Ubuntu 18.04

After you have made your adjustments, you can safely close the Settings Menu by clicking the X icon in the top-right corner of the menu:

Close Settings Menu Ubuntu 18.04

That’s it! No restart or anything else of that nature needed.

Reduce system notification sound in Ubuntu 16.04 Unity desktop

It’s the same drill in Ubuntu 16.04. It might look a bit different though.

Click on the “speaker icon” in top panel and choose Sound Settings.


In Sound Settings, go to Sound Effects tab. In here, reduce Alert Volume to your own choice. You can even mute it, if you like:


That would be it. No need to restart or log out. It works immediately.

Wrapping Up

Making notifications tolerable (or even getting rid of them) is easy to accomplish in Ubuntu. You just need to modify the relevant settings in the Sound Settings Menu.

We hope this quick guide helped beginners get more friendly with Ubuntu. If you are interested in learning more about the Linux world, check out the rest of our blog, however experienced you might be. For example, if you’re customizing your Ubuntu experience, check out our list of Weather Apps for Ubuntu.

Did this article help you? Is there anything you’d like to see covered on It’s FOSS? Let us know in the comments below.

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    • Hello, Mike!

      Make sure the right device is selected. That might be why the slider doesn’t have any effect.