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How to Customize Menu Bar Icons in macOS Mojave

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Customize Mac menu bar – The macOS menu bar is a great place for quickly accessing system and application functions using menu extras or “menulets”, but it can get cluttered pretty quickly as more and more icons vie for a space there.

With every new icon app added, things become a little more cluttered and usability takes another hit. Fortunately, it’s possible to edit the menu bar to rearrange and remove icons so that it’s able to suit your needs at any given moment. Read on for the best ways to make the menu bar on Mac truly yours.

How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar

Plenty of menu bar icons offer useful shortcuts to app and system functions, and may take up permanent residence on your screen. But left to their own devices, the arrangement of said icons is likely to become cluttered. Fortunately, re-organizing them is simple, once you know how to do it.

  • Hold down the Command key.
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to move.
  • Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon into your preferred position on the menu bar. Other icons will step aside to make space for it.
  • Let go of the left mouse button.

COPYRIGHT_NOVA: Published on https://www.novabach.com/i/how-to-customize-menu-bar-icons-in-macos-mojave/ by Daniel Barrett on 2022-08-26T16:54:23.000Z

How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar
How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar

The only icon that cannot be tampered with is the Notification Center. Apple has decided this must remain in the far right corner of the menu, which is fair enough — it looks good there.

Rearranging Menu Items in OS X Versions (El Capitan and Older)

The movement of icons in old versions of macOS is reserved for selected apps only: Bluetooth, audio, Time Machine, WiFi, battery, clock, and user switching. Spotlight and Notification Center must stay put, as must all third-party apps.

Rearranging menu items in OS X versions (El Capitan and older)
Rearranging menu items in OS X versions (El Capitan and older)

To move icons around within the designated area, once again hold Command, then click and hold the icon to drag it.

How to Remove System Icons from the Menu Bar

Icons linked to system controls can be easily removed from the menu bar in the following way:

  • Hold down the Command key.
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to remove.
  • Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon out of the menu bar and onto the desktop.
  • Let go of the left mouse button.
How to Remove System Icons From the Menu Bar
How to Remove System Icons From the Menu Bar

If the icon doesn’t vanish with a “whoosh” sound, then it was likely put there by a third-party app you or another user installed. In that case, look for an option in the associated app’s settings such as “Show in Menu Bar” and uncheck it.

Also read: How to Delete Bookmarks on Mac

How to Add Icons to the Menu Bar

If you’re missing a specific system icon in the Mac’s menu bar, you can add it through System Preferences. For instance, to enable the Language icon, select Language & Region in the preference pane, click Input Sources, and check the box next to the “Show Input menu in menu bar.”

Because the menu options like Clock and Ink can’t be found in System Preferences, you might need to use the System folder as well:

  • Open Finder.
  • Select Go > Go to Folder from the menu bar.
  • Type a path: /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras.
  • Double-click an item and it will instantly appear in your menu bar.
  • You can easily remove any of the icons by holding Command and dragging it outside of the menu bar as described above.

Customize Mac Menu Bar with Bartender

If you want more control over how the menu bar looks and what it does, you should consider using the Bartender app.

Customizing the menu bar with Bartender
Customizing the menu bar with Bartender

Bartender lets you hide icons without quitting and rearrange icons in a way that better suits how you use the menu bar — something particularly useful if you’re running an older version of macOS.

App icons can be displayed when updating, shown in the Bartender Bar only, or hidden completely and accessed easily using a built-in search function. It’s even possible to toggle through and activate items using keyboard navigation.

If you’re someone that prefers a minimalist look, the app gives you the option to remove the Bartender menu item, leaving you with a crisp, clean menu bar.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Mac menu bar is there to help you improve your productivity by giving you quick access to the apps and tools you need. Using the tips above, you can customize the menu bar in a way that works for you.

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About The Authors

Daniel Barrett

Daniel Barrett

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