The menu bar is an essential tool for macOS users who want to increase their productivity without cluttering up the desktop with too many active windows. Learn how to easily customize the menu bar by rearranging items, sharing toggles from Control Center, and adding neat information like battery percentage with just a few clicks. Optimizing the menu bar to cater directly to your unique workflows can help you get more done in less time.
- To rearrange items on the menu bar, hover over a toggle button. In this tutorial we will move the Wi-Fi button.
- Hold down the command key on your keyboard.
- Click and drag the icon you want to move while continuing to press command Key.
- After placing the menu bar item in its new location, release your finger command button and your mouse or trackpad. In this example, we’ve moved the Wi-Fi icon from its original position and placed it between the spotlight (magnifying glass) and the battery indicator.
Adding new items to the menu bar
There are two ways to rearrange menu bar items on macOS: with a keyboard shortcut and a simpler but longer process that uses the System Preferences app.
Add menu bar items with Control Center
- To add a new item from “Control Center” to the menu bar, first activate the Control Center by clicking on the corresponding icon. The Control Center icon shows on/off buttons stacked vertically above and below each other.
- Click and hold on one of the outlined modules in the “Control Center” to raise it from the menu as a standalone module. In this example, we’re going to drag the “Display” toggle from Control Center to the menu bar.
- After performing a click-and-hold action on the control module you want to move, drag your cursor up to the menu bar to add the new item. In this guide we’ve added the screen brightness toggle to the menu bar between keyboard brightness and battery indicator.
Add/remove menu bar items using system settings
- To add new menu bar items using the System Preferences app, click the gray app icon overlaid with mechanical gears. The default macOS layout places the System Preferences app at the far right of the Dock.
- After launching “System Preferences”, click on the “Dock & Menu Bar” menu between “Mission Control” and “Desktop & Screen Saver”.
- Scroll the leftmost menu to view the listed toggles available in Control Center.
- Click on the control module that you want to add to your menu bar. In this example we select AirDrop.
- Click the empty check box next to the text “Show in menu bar” to add the item. Clear the check box to remove the item from the menu bar.
- To quickly remove items from the menu bar, press and hold command button and hover over the control you want to remove.
- Click and drag the menu item you want to remove while still pressing command Key. In this example, we’re removing the Display element, which is represented by a white glyph of a computer monitor.
- Continue dragging the icon towards the center of the screen until you see a white circle with a gray “X”.
- Release your fingers command key and your mouse or trackpad to finish removing the selected menu item. The object dissolves and disappears.
Add battery status in the menu bar
- To view the battery percentage on your Mac laptop, first launch the System Preferences app.
- Then select the “Dock & Menu Bar” menu between “Mission Control” and “Desktop & Screensaver”.
- Navigate to the Battery menu by scrolling down the sidebar on the left until you see a section titled Other Modules.
- Check the box next to the Show Percentage dialog box to show the battery percentage in the menu bar.
frequently asked Questions
How can I hide the menu bar?
To hide the menu bar, navigate to “System Preferences -> Dock & Menu Bar -> Auto-hide and show the menu bar on desktop”.
How can I remove my name from the menu bar?
Removing your name from the menu bar is similar to the workflow for removing regular menu items. You need to access “Dock & Menu Bar”. On the left side of the screen, select “Fast User Switching” under the “Other Modules” category. Disable the “Show in menu bar” option.
How do I find the System Settings app if I don’t see it in the Dock?
Open the “Finder” window by clicking on the blue icon with a smiley face in the lower left corner of the display. Then select “Applications” from the sidebar aligned to the left of the “Finder” window. Scroll through the application grid to find the app labeled “System Settings”.
Photo credit: macos high sierra on the macbook pro screen from 123RF. All screenshots by Brahm Shank
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