macOS is a beautiful and powerful operating system, but sometimes, there’s less possibility to customize it to the way you want. What am I talking about? The menu bar!
Imagine when you opened 20 apps (though you probably barely do this), the menu bar will become crowded instantly. Some of the icons in the menu bar are recognizable, while others won’t.
So how do you identify and switch to the right app, quickly without going to locate it in Applications? Bartender is the answer. This app provides an easy way to hide or show menu bar icons while keeping your Mac desktop tidy.
What is Bartender?
Bartender is a Mac menu bar manager app. With it, you can select which icons you want to show or hide in the menu bar. Especially when there are lots of applications running in the backgrounds, their icons will show in the menu bar and make it look super crowded (or messy sometimes).
What’s great about Bartender is that it can help clean your menu bar, while the Bartender app itself stays unobstructed.
Sounds great? Let’s see how it works.
How Does Bartender Work?
The main purpose of Bartender is to customize the menu bar, hide unnecessary icons, and only show the necessary ones. You can also use the app to search menu items for quick access.
Bartender provides an easy way to show or hide app icons in the menu bar. Here’s a screenshot of the app interface while running it on my MacBook Pro.
On the left panel, you can see all the active menu bar items. On the right, it allows you to customize the way you like. For example:
- Select whether you want an app icon to be shown or hidden in the menu bar.
- Decide whether you want the hidden items to be shown when there is an update, that way you won’t miss something.
- Customize the search name for items and find them more efficiently.
This is what my menu bar looks like without Bartender, crowded and messed.
With the help of Bartender, my menu bar has become much simpler and cleaner.
Personally, I always prefer to keep the following items visible: Time, Date, Battery, Volume, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If there’s any update on other items, they will show up for 15 seconds in the menu bar.
With hotkeys, Bartender enables you to be more efficient using keyboards or shortcuts. Here’s the main interface of Hot Keys, where you can create your own shortcuts for frequent operations. In this regard, Bartender is a productivity booster.
Bartender is a light and simple tool, but it also has a search function built in. With search, you can easily find out any app icons and gain quick access. All you need to do is activate the search function by hotkeys and type the name of the applications you want to open.
Bartender also allows you to reorder the icons, both in the menu bar and the hidden items. Simply hold the command key ⌘ and drag the icons to the desired position. That’s it, looks cool?
Sometimes for privacy concerns, you may want to hide all items in the menu bar. Bartender allows you to do this quickly. Just press two keys on your keyboard: Command + K. Try it yourself and you’ll see how clean your menu bar will be immediate.
Pricing & Platform Compatibility
As of this writing, Bartender 3 is only available for Mac. You can download the app from Bartender’s official website, and access all features within the 4-week trial. After the trial period, you have to buy a license at the price of $15 (one-time fee).
Bartender is also available in Setapp, with a $9.99/month subscription but you can use it for free for 7 days.
Is Bartender Worth it?
For me, absolutely YES.
When I started using it and the moment it helped make my menu bar so clean and organized, I was amazed and couldn’t let it go anymore 🙂 It’s definitely one of the must-have apps that’s worth keeping on my Mac. I highly recommend it.
Bartender is a super useful tool to organize the menu bar icons on Mac. The app has clean interfaces and requires a minimum learning curve — with just several clicks, you’ll be surprised by the way it helps make your menu bar look so clean and easy to access.
In my opinion, the sleek experience plus productivity increase is definitely worth paying $15 to get Bartender. Don’t forget that the app offers a 4-week free trial.