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macos menubar

2024-03-04 . 449 words . 3 min

I really like my 16.2-inch MacBook; the mini-LED backlit; the Liquid Retina XDR; the 1600 nits peak; the P3 gamut wide color; and the ProMotion for adaptive 120Hz refresh rates. But with all these goodness, there is a "notch" situation. It doesn't bother me so much until some of the menubar icons go below it and I can't find that anymore. Apparently, everyone in Cupertino thought that the best solution to "not having enough room to display menubar apps" is to "hide them with zero indication that there are more that simply can’t be displayed. Thank you, Notch!

This “design” (or lack thereof) is so dumb. Is it so hard to add an overflow button.

Solve without installing anything

1 - Move MacOS system-provided icons into Control Center. While writing this I gave this option a good deep thought but I still don't like this option. It works though where WiFi, Bluetooth, Battery, AirDrop, Focus Status or Screen Mirroring, etc. can exist in Control Center instead of menubar.

2 - Reorder apps from left to right with least important on left side. This way the ones that get hidden under the notch are "not so important". I don't like this option as well.

3 - Reduce the menu bar item spacing and padding via built-in option. There are 2 default settings which can be configured via. below options

# Get current defaults
defaults -currentHost read -globalDomain NSStatusItemSpacing
defaults -currentHost read -globalDomain NSStatusItemSelectionPadding

# Set spacing and padding by providing integer values
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain NSStatusItemSpacing -int X
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain NSStatusItemSelectionPadding -int Y

# Reset (if you don't like this)
defaults -currentHost delete -globalDomain NSStatusItemSpacing
defaults -currentHost delete -globalDomain NSStatusItemSelectionPadding

I found that X=12 and Y=6 works the best for me. Also, to make the settings come into effect, you need to logout and login again.

Solve with "Hidden Bar"

People have build commercial and open source software that help you manage menubar apps and icons. Most representative of them are Bartender (Paid with Free Trial, Website), Hidden Bar (Free, Github) and Say No to Notch (Free but has in-app purchases).

I went with Hidden Bar because:

Once I added Hidden Bar, I also change 2 other settings i.e.

Now, I like my menubar! Fin.