The Best Ways to Customize Your Mac’s Menu bar

The menu bar on Mac acts as a gateway for various system functions and applications. And just like the Dock, you can customize Mac’s menu bar, albeit limited. This article explores tips, tricks, and hacks for personalizing the menu bar of your Mac, so let’s dig in.

Customize menu bar of Mac

Where is the menu bar on Mac? Located at the top of your screen, the menu bar is a constant companion. By customizing it to your specific needs, it can optimize your workflow and enhance your overall Mac experience. Follow along to unlock the menu bar’s full potential and make your Mac usage more efficient and enjoyable.

What’s in the Menu Bar on Mac

Before we begin customizing, let’s familiarize ourselves with the elements typically found in the menu bar.

Apple menu bar on Mac
  • Apple icon or Apple Menu – Access system tasks such as update apps, System Settings, Force Quit, lock your screen, shut down options, etc.
  • App menus – A list of menus such as File, Edit, View, Window, Help, etc. This will vary as per the app you’re currently using.
Click on Apple Menu or app menus
  • Status menus – Icons situated at the right-end corner of your screen. It includes icons of apps you regularly use and icons to check the status of your Mac, like battery charging, brightness, Wi-Fi, and more.
  • Control Center – Quite like the Control Center on iPhone, you can access various settings here, such as AirDrop, AirPlay, Focus, Display, and more.
  • Notification Center – When you click the date and time from the right end of the menu bar it opens Notification Centre. Here, you can view app notifications, weather, notes, appointments, etc.
Access Control Center or Notification center

Tip: You can also customize Notification Center on Mac, from selecting which apps can show notifications to which widgets to pop up.

  • Siri – If the Siri icon is available in the menu bar, click it to access Siri on your Mac.

Automatically Hide and Show the Menu Bar

Although pretty resourceful, you might want to hide the menu bar on Mac, especially when using apps in full-screen mode. The feature makes the menu bar disappear when you’re not using it and reappear when you move your cursor to the top of the screen.

To enable this option,

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu and select System Settings (macOS Ventura and later).

Step 2: Click Desktop & Dock.

Step 3: Under the Menu Bar section, click the dropdown menu next to ‘Automatically hide and show the menu bar.’

Click Control Panel and go to menu bar

Step 4: Next, select one of the options,

  • Always
  • On Desktop Only
  • In Full Screen Only
  • Never
Select a suitable option

When using macOS Monterey and earlier, go to Apple Menu → System Preferences → Dock & Menu Bar → select Dock & Menu Bar from the left sidebar → check the box next to ‘Automatically hide and show the menu bar in full screen’. Notably, you can also select ‘Automatically hide and show the menu bar on desktop’ if preferred.

Add or Remove Items From the Menu Bar

While you can’t edit the left side, i.e., the app menus from the menu bar, you have the flexibility to edit the status icons. To tailor the Mac menu bar to your liking, follow along.

Show or Hide Status Icons to Mac Menu Bar

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu → System Settings.

Step 2: Click Control Center.

Step 3: You’ll spot a list of settings you can show/hide from the menu bar.

Click Control Center and select preferred option

Step 4: Depending upon the setting, you’ll get the following options,

  • Always Show in Menu Bar
  • Show When Active
  • Don’t Show in Menu Bar
Select a preferred option

Step 5: If you can’t find the desired icon here, scroll down to the Other Modules or Menu Bar Only sections.

Step 6: Here, either

  • Toggle on/off the switch next to Show in Menu Bar, or
  • Select ‘Show in Menu Bar’ or ‘Don’t Show in Menu Bar’ from the dropdown menu.
Decide which icons to show or hide in mac's menu

Note: You can also customize the Mac Control Center from this section. Simply, toggle the switch next to ‘Show in Control Center’.

Alternate Methods To Remove Icons From the Mac Menu Bar

In addition, using the above-mentioned steps, you can also remove a stock menu bar icon by dragging it. To do so, hold the Command Key from your keyboard and drag the icon away from the menu bar.

You’ll see a cross icon next to the dragged icon, release the icon on the desktop to hide it.

Drag and remove icons from Mac

Tip: The trick also works by moving the status icons from Control Center to Menu Bar or vice-versa.

Add or Remove App Icons From Menu Bar

You might have observed that app icons are missing from this list. Majorly, because the setting is hidden within the app’s settings. Moreover, not every app offers this service.

To hide or show menu bar icons for such icons, you need to launch the app → go to its Settings → look for the show icon in menu bar settings → check/uncheck it accordingly.

Show or hide Telegram icon on Mac menu bar

How to Rearrange Items in the Menu Bar

To rearrange the order of items in the menu bar according to your preference, hold the Command Key → click and hold the icon to move → drag it to the new position → drop/release the item.

Rerrange icons in Mac Menu bar

Notably, you can’t move the Control Center icon or place anything to its right, so, keep that in mind.

Change the Date and Time Display in the Menu Bar

Although the Mac menu bar shows the date and time by default, you can customize how they appear. To change the date and time display format, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to Apple Menu → System Settings → Control Center.

Step 2: Scroll down to Clock and click Clock Options (under Menu Bar Only section)

Step 3: Here, select a preferred option. You can,

  • Hide the day and date.
  • Switch between Analog or Digital clock.
  • Enable/disable the 24-hour format
  • Show or hide AM/PM
  • Flash the time separators
  • Display the time in seconds
Select Clock Options and then preferred option

If using macOS Monterey and earlier, go to Apple Menu → System Preferences → Dock & Menu Bar → Clock → make the required changes.

Tricks to Make Mac Menu Bar More Helpful and Fun

1. Show Battery Percentage in Menu Bar

Want to keep a constant eye on your Mac’s battery level? Follow these steps to enable the battery percentage display in the menu bar.

Go to Apple Menu → System Settings → Control Panel → scroll down Battery (under Other Modules section) → Toggle on Show Percentage.

Toggle on Show Battery percentage

2. Add a Custom Shortcut to the Menu Bar

Are you fond of using the Shortcuts app on your Mac? Then you’ll probably know that you can quickly run shortcuts from the menu bar. Just remember to check the box next to ‘Pin in Menu Bar’ from the shortcut menu.

Select Pin to menu bar

3. Access Emoji or Other Keyboards From Menu Bar

While adding special characters, emoji, or more on Mac is relatively easy, you can further simplify it by adding the keyboard shortcut to the menu bar.

Click Apple Menu → System Settings → Keyboard → Under the Text Input heading, click Edit next to Input sources → toggle on the switch next to ‘Show Input menu in menu bar’ → Done.

Select Show input in menu bar

Now when you click the keyboard symbol from the menu bar, you’ll see the list of all available keyboards; click Emoji & Symbols to activate that keyboard.

Select the Emoji keyboard

4. Add Your Name to Mac Menu Bar

Although the trick is to allow you to switch between users quickly and effortlessly, you can use it to display your name on the menu bar. For one, it works as an excellent personalization option. And secondly, if you have multiple users, you’ll always know which account is active.

To do so, click Apple Menu → System Settings → Control Center → Scroll to Fast User Switching → From the drop-down menu next to ‘Show in Menu Bar’ select Full Name or Account Name.

Show your name in Mac menu bar

5. Use Third-Party Apps to Enhance Menu Bar Experience

Another neat way to manifold the flexibility of your Mac’s menu bar is to take aid from a third-party app. You’ll be surprised by the variety of menu bar apps available for Mac, from Bartender (one-stop menu bar organizer) to iStat Menu (brings system information to the menu bar).

Customize Macbook Menu Bar Like a Pro

Now you have a customized menu bar that suits your workflow and preferences. Enjoy the convenience of having quick access to your most frequently used functions and applications! Additionally, we hope you enjoyed the tricks and they further helped you. For any further queries, feel free to ask us in the comment section.

Last updated on 24 July, 2023

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