How to Fix: Menu Bar Disappears on macOS Big Sur

A lot of people are really enjoying the macOS Big Sur update. But as with any big update, there are usually some bugs that exist within the early versions that can cause a variety of issues after installing it.

macos big sur menu bar missing

In this article, we are going to take a look at the issue of the Menu bar disappearing on macOS Big Sur. If you encounter this problem, take a look at the suggested fixes below to see if they can help you resolve the problem.

Why Did the Menu Bar Disappear After Installing macOS Big Sur?

One of the big reasons for creating the new Big Sur upgrade is to create a platform that more closely represents the iOS mobile platform that Apple uses on iPhones and iPads.

This means that there are some pretty drastic visual differences with the Big Sur update compared to other macOS versions you might be used to. The update makes the desktop look pretty different and part of that is a different-looking menu bar.

Fix #1: Disable Fast User Switching

A new feature found with Big Sur that can cause your Menu bar to disappear is known as Fast User Switching. Luckily, you can disable this feature to get the menu bar back. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Finder
  2. Select System Preferences
  3. Click on the Users & Groups icon
  4. Click on Login Options from the bottom left corner
  5. Click on the checkbox for Show fast user switching menu as to disable it (Note: you may need to click on the lock to enable this option)
  6. The menu bar should now be visible
  7. Go back to System Preferences
  8. Select Dock & Menu Bar
  9. Disable Fast User Switching
  10. Your menu bar should now be visible at all times

Fix #2: Run First Aid in Disk Utility

Another fix that can resolve the issue of the Menu bar disappearing after installing macOS Big Sur is to run first aid through the Disk Utility feature on your Mac. First aid can fix a variety of small problems and it is good to know how to access this feature.

This fix seems to help when some Menu icons are missing from the bar. To perform this fix, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Finder.
  2. Select Utilities.
  3. Select Disk Utility.
  4. Click on the First Aid icon on the top of the Disk Utility window.
  5. Your Mac will run through first aid to fix any issues and this can resolve the problem and get all icons back into your menu bar.

Fix #3: Reduce Transparency to Help See Menu Icons Better

The first two fixes addressed how to bring the menu bar back if it has disappeared, but another issue that some people are encountering is Menu icons that are difficult to see because of the Big Sur update.

This is another issue caused by the drastic changes to the visual end of the update and can be resolved by following these steps:

  1. Open the Finder
  2. Select System Preferences
  3. Select Accessibility
  4. Click on the Display tab
  5. Uncheck the Reduce transparency checkbox
  6. This should give you more clarity and allow you to see the icons in the menu bar better.

Final Thoughts

If you have recently installed macOS Big Sur only to find your Menu bar has disappeared, don’t panic. The update results in a few visual differences that can take some getting used to, and this issue is one of them.

Follow the steps found in the fixes above, and you should be able to get your menu bar to reappear in no time. This isn’t a magic trick, and most users want to know how to access this useful feature of their mac computer.

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  • Bryan

    Thanks Andreas, the trick for my machine was to switch off ‘reduce transparency’ then switch it back on. I’ll admit to being an outlying use case though, I’m using Big Sur 11.6 under OpenCore Legacy Patcher on a early 2008 MacBook Pro. It’s certainly not fast (spinning disk 5400rpm and only 4GB RAM). Naturally I started blaming OCLP until I saw your hints on vanilla Big Sur. Thanks again!