MacBook Pro menu bar apps and the notch

Hi friends,

I just received a new 2023 16" MacBook Pro M2 Max, and it’s got the … I can’t remember what the black space that goes through the center of the menu bar where the camera is located, is called. I’ve installed several apps that are normally visible on the menu bar, but I’m only seeing a few of them at the moment. Those that I do see are all to the right of the … black space in the middle of the menu bar. Where are the missing menu bar apps, and how do I go about seeing them? And if they do show up, they’re often in the middle of my other app’s menu. For instance, I’m in Safari right now, and I see the TextSniper icon in the middle of the Window menu!


I happily use Bartender, but there are other options.


When I needed a new laptop recently, I went with an M1 Macbook Air instead of an M2 Air, largely to avoid the annoying notch.

As tmg2021 mentioned, there are a few third party utilities that can help o organize menu bar icons. Personally, I use the one that is included in the rather useful Parallels Toolbox collection of utilities.

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I have the same issue with an M2 Macbook Air. I ended up disabling some of the menu bar apps in Settings (Control Center I think) to make room for the important ones. Very irritating!
One app I am trialling gives me the status of a Tesla Powerwall battery but its menubar icon is “behind” the notch. I correctly guessed where it was and managed to activate it without the cursor. I have notified the app developer about this.
There must be a simple solution to this!

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Bartender…for the win.


I’m transitioning from my 2019 16”MacBook Pro, and I own Bartender 4, but hadn’t gotten around to installing it just yet, as I was still in the process of installing all of my other apps. I love and use Bartender (going back to version 3), but couldn’t believe that it’s mandatory/a must install to control app icon on the menu bar! Since installing it, all is good but now more than ever I have to decide which apps are visible to me like iStat menus, Little Snitch and others versus those that are hidden.

I think it’s ridiculous that one would have to buy and use an app like Bartender on a new contemporary MBP, just to be able to see and use 3rd party apps that appear on the menu bar. Shame on Apple for forcing this situation on, and not providing a solution.


I agree that it shouldn’t be mandatory to use Bartender…but from what I’ve read previously the issue with items showing up in the notch is something in the menubar item and not an Apple thing…but it could be a combination of both of them. Regardless…it isn’t a battle worth fighting since I would be using Bartender even without the notch.

That’s my understanding as well.

As I understand it, apps that use the normal menu-bar APIs shouldn’t be affected by the notch. The system will move menu items in order to move them around the notch.

If an app doesn’t use the normal APIs, but uses some other mechanism to put an item in the menu bar, then it is that app’s responsibility to make sure it isn’t trying to draw behind the notch. macOS provides APIs to tell the app where it should not draw, but it is up to the app to get that information and do something with it.

You might want to file a bug report with the offiending apps’ developers. It might not get anything done, but at least the information will be where it needs to be.


I too use Bartender, and did for some time before my first notched screen. There is a setting in the Get Info window for apps that lets them place their menu bar below the notch (just as in previous generations of Macs with no notch and a slightly smaller screen). It says “Scale to fit below built-in camera”. I haven’t yet found a third party app that does what that suggests they should when ticked. Maybe because their menus will fit, just, on either side of the notch?

Fwiw, I eventually switched to Bartender as well, but before that I never saw a menu bar icon to the left of the notch. For apps with a lot of menu items, I have seen menus skip past the notch to the right, though.

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I also recommend Bartender. Like many utilities, it has a lot of features that I’ve never gotten around to investigating. I can manage my menu contents, and that’s good enough for me

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Ok, so now the strangest thing has happened … the Notch has completely disappeared! I enabled “Scale to fit below built-in camera” in several of my status bar (menu bar) apps, and now the notch is gone! What the heck is going on!?


Probably your screen size was reduced and resized to avoid the notch

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If that’s the case, any idea how I enlarge it and resize it to show the notch? (I’m just curious to understand exactly how this works, as I enable the “Scale to fit below built-in camera” for several apps, and I didn’t think anything happened. Perhaps I changed 1 magic app, and the notch disappeared.

What Ray said…has to have been a screen resize since the notch can’t disappear…there are no pixels there.

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I didn’t make any changes to the screen size or resolution. And after installing an app that required a reboot, the notch is back. So weird!

I’m not sure Apple’s really to blame or should be ashamed. No one has to buy Bartender to use a couple of third party apps in the menubar. But beyond a certain number of icons up there, it becomes necessary. But this was always the case, there’s only so much one can fit in a given space. Even without the notch on my old MacBook Air I needed Bartender because I didn’t have enough space for all my menubar apps when using certain apps that have a lot of menus. There’s limited space in the menubar on any laptop so anyone using a non-trivial number of menubar apps/icons will benefit from some management.

It’s true that Apple have taken some space away, but there’s still space for quite a lot of icons on the right side. I’m not sure there’s some objective value of the minimum amount of space Apple should provide in the menubar. People with 11" MacBook Airs couldn’t fit as much as those with 13" MacBook Airs, but was Apple to ‘blame’? Those people benefitted from a smaller, lighter computer as a trade-off. Those of us with the notch can’t fit as much as those without, but we benefit from a bigger screen and more vertical space for content as a trade-off.

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You may not have intentionally done anything…but there are no pixels for display in the notch…it’s taken up with the camera. It is possible (at least it used to be, don’t know if it’s still true for Ventura) for an app to hide the notch by turning the menubar black, fullscreen mode does this as well…but it’s still there and nothing can display in that area. Seems that’s probably what happened.

Correct that the display has no pixels to light up there.

But internally, the macOS frame buffer (for a Retina display, this is 2x the display resolution, which is then scaled to the physical display size) does include data for the region. So if you take a screen-shot, you may see content there, if some app tried drawing to the region.

Interesting. As I indicated above, the cursor can move into the notch and be used to select an item that is apparently hidden by it.