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The menu bar is the symbolic area of â€‹â€‹the Mac user interface. It has been around for many years and, apparently, is not going anywhere either. The dynamically changing menu options on the left, combined with status icons for background programs and system functions on the right, make it a must-have.
The Mac menu bar can also be customized. You can add new status icons, shuffle things, and get rid of the clutter to make things easier, and that’s just the beginning. Below you will find many different ways to customize and effectively use the Mac menu bar.
Note. Most of the following Mac menu bar customization options apply to devices running macOS Big Sur 11.0 and later.
Add Control Center Options to Menu Bar
Starting with macOS Big Sur, there is a new addition to the menu bar called Control Center. It combines options for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, and more, similar to iPhone and iPad.
However, if you plan to reuse a particular control, you don’t need to open the Control Center every time to access it. Just drag it to the Mac menu bar and it will appear as a regular status icon.
Rearrange Status Icons on Mac Menu Bar
If you have a lot of programs installed on your Mac, chances are you also have a lot of status icons in your menu bar. To clean up the mess, you can try rearranging them.
By holding down the Command key, you can drag the icons however you want them to appear. However, you cannot move the Control Center, Siri, and Clock icons.
Add Other System Icons to Mac Menu Bar
Besides the controls in the Control Center, you can also add a few other system-related icons to the Mac menu bar. Open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Then select the Dock & Menu Bar and scroll down to the left to the Other Modules and Menu Bar Only sections.
From here, you can select the Accessibility Shortcuts, Fast User Switching, Spotlight, and Time Machine side tabs and select the Show in Menu Bar check box to add the corresponding icon to the menu bar.
Alternatively, you can go to System Preferences> Keyboard> Input Sources and select the Show Input Menu checkbox in the menu bar to insert an input icon. You can then select it to open the onscreen keyboard or emoji viewer.
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Add Battery Percentage Indicator
If you’ve just upgraded your Mac from macOS Catalina or earlier, you can skip the battery gauge in the menu bar. Go to System Preferences> Dock & Menu Bar> Battery and check the Show Percentage box to revert it.
You can also use several third-party apps to show the battery percentage on your Mac.
Remove Icons From Menu Bar
If you have a highly cluttered menu bar, you can mitigate the situation by removing unnecessary status icons. Hold down the Command key, drag the icon from the menu bar and release it as soon as you see the tiny x – it should be gone forever.
This should work for all system-related icons except Control Center, Siri, and the clock. However, you can remove Siri on purpose by deselecting Show Siri in Menu Bar under System Preferences> Siri.
However, status icons related to third-party applications are quite difficult to remove. You have to tweak the appropriate application settings so they don’t appear in the menu bar, but not every program allows this. Alternatively, you can select an icon and use the Exit or Exit options to get rid of it, but this will also close the corresponding application.
Hide and Reveal Status Icons
Instead of removing things from the menu bar, you can use a free app called Hidden Bar to hide unwanted icons. Install and open it (it’s completely free), and only the status icons that are between | and the> markers will remain visible. Hold down the Command key to drag icons inward or outward.
Change Clock Appearance
The clock in the menu bar not only shows the time but (starting with macOS Big Sur) also opens the Action Center. You can change its appearance by choosing a full indicator that displays the month, date, and time (along with flashing separators), or a simple analog icon. Or you can go for something in between.
Go to System Preferences> Dock & Menu Bar> Clock and use the customization options to customize the clock to your liking.
Reduce Mac Menu Bar Transparency
By default, the Mac menu bar is very transparent and takes the color of the desktop wallpaper. However, you can remove this effect to make it stand out. To do this, go to System Preferences> Accessibility> Show and select the Reduce Transparency check box.
However, this setting also applies to the rest of the user interface (such as the dock and application windows), so disable it if you don’t like the new look of your Mac.
Hide Menu Bar Automatically
Instead of making the menu bar more visible, you can do the exact opposite by hiding it. Not only does this give the Mac an ultra-minimal look (especially if you hide the dock with it), but it also frees up some extra screen real estate for work.
Go to System Preferences> Dock & Menu Bar and uncheck “Auto Hide and Show Menu Bar” to hide the menu bar. You can still access it at any time by dragging your cursor to the top of the screen.
Council. You can also hide the Dock by selecting the Auto Hide and Show Dock option under System Preferences> Dock & Menu Bar.
Access Menu Bar Using Keyboard
Did you know that you can access the menu bar from the Mac keyboard? Just press Ctrl + F2 or Fn + Ctrl + F2 to select the Apple logo to the left of the menu bar. You can then navigate the panel using the left and right arrow keys, and move up and down through menu items using the up and down arrow keys.
You can also change the keybindings for this shortcut by going to System Preferences> Keyboard> Inputs. Then choose Move Focus to Menu Bar to replace the shortcut.
Hold Down the Option Key
As you interact with different menus or status icons on the menu bar, holding down the Option key can display alternate items and additional information. For example, selecting the Wi-Fi icon in this way will display many details related to any active Wi-Fi network.
Locate Menu Items Faster
The help menu on the menu bar contains the search bar but is not limited to filtering search topics. You can also use it to easily open any menu item. If you have trouble finding something, just search for it.
Time to Serve
You are required to interact a lot with the Mac Menu Bar. So take a few minutes to customize it the way you want it to work much more conveniently. The tips above are not meant to be exhaustive, but they should get you on the right track.
How to customize the Mac menu bar and usage
How to customize the Mac menu bar and usage.
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