Friday, 22 February 2013

Managing Your Menu Bar

More and more OS X applications are using the menu bar to enable access to their settings or specific features. Even on the shiny new 27" iMac at the Apple Harvest this was becoming a real problem, but on the 13" MacBook Air things were far worse. I hate to think what it would like to use an 11" MBA! There have been a few utilities to help overcome the problem - I've been using AccessMenuBarApps for a couple of years with some success, but now there's a new kid on the block which is spot on for the job.

Bartender really solves the problem of an overcrowded menu bar using such a simple set of concepts that it's a wonder that no-one thought of doing it before. It's a beautifully executed app  and it doesn't take a lot of looking after once you have set up the initial configuration. Most importantly it allows you to take control and ownership of what goes into your menu bar (and where) rather than the apps themselves (and their developers).

Bartender in action (from developer's website)

Basically, Bartender allows you to set up a secondary menu bar which sits hidden underneath the system menu bar (or can float around wherever you wish), and allows you to decide which icons sit in the main menu or which can be delegated to the secondary bar. Icons can be hidden if they aren't used very often, and reordered any which way you want. Rather than trying to describe all the features here I suggest you download the trial version from the website and have a play. I seriously doubt that you will go for the full 4 week trial period before you commit to buying it. And when you do decide to shell out, it'll be one of the best £10.17 ($15) you'll have invested in your Mac - especially if you're a laptop owner! Astonishingly some people are whinging about the price for such a "simple" app. Seriously, if it was that simple someone would have written it a long time ago!

If you don't believe me or the developers, just take a look at some of the reviews recently published in Macworld, MacLife and Cult of Mac. If you'd prefer a video, here's one on YouTube. For reference, Bartender is no longer in beta but is fully functional and currently on V1.0.6


  1. Oh thanks for sharing. I really did not know how to manage menu bar but learn well after reading your article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad to be of help. Hope you find the other posts useful as well. Anything you'd particularly like me to write about? I can't promise I'll have the right knowledge but will always try and help!