Home Ideas Use This Free App to Clean up Your Mac’s Menu Bar

Use This Free App to Clean up Your Mac’s Menu Bar

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It’s ridiculous that Apple still doesn’t offer a way to hide menu bar icons in macOS. Windows has had this options since the launch of Windows Vista 17 years ago, but Mac users who don’t want to see every icon cluttering up the top of their screen need to either hide the menu bar entirely or install a third party app that can handle the job.

Until recently, the application of choice for menu bar maintenance was Bartender, a $22 paid application that was generally well regarded. But last week, a change of ownership raised questions about the app’s privacy. Those concerns are not entirely unwarranted: The handover happened quietly and the application in question requires accessibility access to the operating system in order to function. Only time will tell if the problem is legitimate—but I am grateful that the questions from users have brought Ice some more attention.

Ice is a free and open source alternative to Bartender that works perfectly well at hiding icons—just like Bartender, you can drag icons while holding CMD to hide them. Any icon dragged to the left of the arrow icon will be hidden (most of the time).

A messy menu bar. One icon is an arrow pointing left—everything to the left of it is normally hidden.

Credit: Justin Pot

In a few moments, you can get your menu bar looking much tidier.

A tidy Mac menu bar. The Ice icon is open, showing a few simple settings.

Credit: Justin Pot

Ice works really well. There’s even a second arrow you can drag icons past, at which point you won’t even see them n the expanded view, allowing you to keep that tidy, too. It’s great.

Ice also offers a few aesthetic tweaks worth mentioning. You can bring back drop shadows, for example, or add a border to your menu bar. You can also optionally “split” the bar, which I find gimmicky, but it does allow you to see more of your wallpaper.

I’m a longtime Bartender user, but after a week with Ice, I barely notice the difference. Yes, there are a few missing features—you can’t choose to show certain icons only under certain conditions, which is an option with Bartender. (I used that feature to only see the Time Machine icon while backups were actively running and only show the battery when I wasn’t connected to power—nice options, but not essential. And it’s worth noting that a similar feature is listed as a goal for Ice, which is an open-source project, so maybe we’ll have it soon.

Overall, Ice is a great little app, especially considering it’s free. Check it out if you are seeking a Bartender alternative, or if you’ve never used Bartender and just want to neaten up your menu bar icons.

Source: LifeHacker.com