Down through the years I’ve shared my lust for Mac Menubar utilities; those useful little apps and tools which reside just a click away and are easily available from within any Mac app.
Menubar utilities span the gamut from quick access to full fledged applications to simple and elegant tools that do little other that sit there and provide a status with a quick glance. Right now, my Mac’s Menubar has 24 different utilities, including the basics from Apple (time, Notification Center, sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi status, and others). And more than a dozen others that don’t work as normal apps in the Dock, but serve as useful reminders, status indicators, or quick click options to do something useful with little more than a click.
Managing the Mac’s Menubar over the years has changed but Apple hasn’t done much to help cultivate the environment for users. Today we can click and drag Menubar icons around and most of them stay put but Apple hasn’t solved the laws of physics as it relates to the number of apps we use there. For example, if you have too many Menubar utilities, and open a Mac app that has a larger than normal number of menus in the Menubar, those Menubar utilities get truncated; which is a high class word for disappear. The menu items get cut off.
There are a few Mac utilities which help you manage the Menubar and an excess of utilities and tools, but the one that resides in my Menubar is called Bartender. All it does is exactly what heavy duty Menubar users want– it manages the utilities and tools in the Menubar.
Take a look.
Bartender gives you keyboard navigation options for the Menubar so you can arrow through the ones you don’t want to get to the ones you do– without the mouse or trackpad. There’s a built-in optional search field, too (which may be faster than using the arrow).
You choose which of the Menubar’s apps are visible, which show up in a second Menubar, which are hidden, and where they reside and in what order. Otherwise, Menubar utilities and tools work the exact same way, but now you’ll always know where they are, and even more can be displayed with a click. If you want, the entire Menubar can be hidden; then displayed with a click.
Why bother with Menubar utilities and tools in the first place? Most of those I use and review have functions that do not require a full-fledged Dock-based application, but it’s the Menubar itself that breeds such functions because it’s visible and available within every Mac app, so there’s no need to Command+Tab to find a utility, tool, or app you need. You can see it in the Menubar.
My Menubar carries the usual Apple suspects, but also Sound Control and Sound Source, Copy’em Paste and Copied (to sync clipboards between Macs, iPhone, and iPad), Magnet for window control, 1Password, MailButler, Cookie, Dropbox, Screen Sharing Menulet, Changes Meter, and half a dozen more. Bartender keeps them where I put them so I don’t have to hunt around for a utility I know is there but can’t find in an instant.
The Menubar is your friend but it needs a little curation from time to time.