New mail indicator for menu bar

I’ve been on a little quest lately to get rid of my Dock. That’s been going actually surprisingly well and I realize now how much I value those newly added ~80 pixels on the RHS of my 14" MBP’s display.

There’s two things in that Dock that I’d still like some kind of always-on indication for. One is Activity Monitor’s CPU history, but thanks to M1 that’s mostly not a real issue any longer (and I know about Stats, iGlance, or iStat for that). The other, and this one indeed I’d absolutely like to get back, is the new message indicator on Mail.

So I’m wondering if anybody knows of a little lightweight menu bar extension that does nothing else than show the number of unread email. Essentially I’m looking for Mail’s unread bdage for my menu bar. Any suggestions?

Can’t you just hide your Dock to get those 80 pixels back?

Of course. But then I’d still like to see when Mail has unread messages. And hence, my question.

Note that I’m looking for an always-on indicator, not a workaround where I first have to unhide the Dock, check, and then hide the dock again.

I’m sure you’ve searched around, but just in case you missed these, here are a couple (oddly enough, you need to build them yourself…maybe too limited functionality to make a go of it on the App Store?):

One idea: xbar (a rewrite of BitBar in Go, I believe by the author and another contributor) or SwiftBar (a rewrite of BitBar in Swift), using this script.

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I turned on hiding on my laptop dock…and to be honest my desktops as well…long ago so it’s a simple run the cursor over there to temporarily show it if you want…but that isn’t a menu bar indication. I looked at Bartender which use to see if it had one…no joy there.

I know this is probably overkill (and more expensive) for what you want, but the Mail Perspectives module of MailSuite displays color-coded badges in the menu bar with the number of unread email messages in up to five different mailboxes.

I find it indispensable.

The fact that Apple has not made a menubar notifier, or even put code in MailKit to allow other developers to do it, is astonishing. People have wanted this for years.

There are workarounds – but MailSuite is the only option left I’m aware of, and it’s $80 + $45 every time Mail gets updated – which is obscene.

MailSuite used to be separate extensions, priced accordingly. I only wanted/used one of them and didn’t mind paying for it. It’s unfortunate they’re all or nothing and so expensive now, as they are excellent extensions.

With the free SwiftBar I have the following script to show a count of unread emails in the menu bar:

# <xbar.title>Mail</xbar.title>
# <xbar.dependencies>bash,osascript</xbar.dependencies>

set -e
OUTPUT=$(osascript -e 'tell Application "Mail"' -e 'unread count of inbox' -e 'end tell')
if [[ $OUTPUT -gt 0 ]]
echo "🔔"$OUTPUT
echo "👀"