Manage menu bar icons on the Apple Mac with iBar

The menu bar on the Apple Mac is not just for menus and at the right-hand side are icons for various functions. Use iBar to hide icons you don’t need and show only those you use. It’s free.

The icons at the right-hand side of the menu bar in macOS can run into the menus on the left on small screens like 13 and 14 in Macs. You might even be short of menu bar space on larger screens if you have a lot of third-party tools installed that add extra icons.

iBar-Menubar Icon Control Tool is a free app in the Mac App Store and it enables you to choose which menu bar icons are visible and which are hidden. It can automatically hide and show them in the menu bar or in a separate popup toolbar.

It is a great utility that is essential for anyone working on a small Mac screen. Search the Mac App Store for iBar and install it. It won’t cost you anything.

Hide menu bar icons

iBar-Menubar Icon Control. Hide and show menu bar icons on the Apple Mac
iBar hides menu bar icons in macOS

All you need to do to hide menu bar icons is to run iBar. In the app preferences there is an option to enable it to run on startup, so it can be working as soon as you log in.

This is what it looks like. All the menu bar icons are hidden and instead, there is a single < icon at the right-hand side.

Show menu bar icons

Show hidden menu bar icons with iBar on the Apple Mac
Mouse over the menu bar to show icons

To see all the menu bar icons, just move the mouse over the menu bar and they appear. It is a bit like the way the Dock at the bottom of the screen can be set to auto-hide and only become visible when the mouse moves over it. It’s auto-hide for the menu bar.

The menu bar icons can be used in exactly the same way as always. Click them to access them.

Menu bar icons in a toolbar

Show menu bar icons in a toolbar with iBar for macOS
An alternative way to show and hide menu bar icons

This is an alternative and an option in the app preferences enables you to select click mode instead. All menu bar icons are hidden. Click anywhere in the menu bar and a toolbar appears below it with the menu bar icons. Click an icon to access it in the usual way.

iBar menu

iBar menu on the Apple Mac
Click the < or > to show the app menu

At the right side of the menu bar is a < which becomes > when the icons are displayed. Click either and the iBar menu appears. Most of the menu items are other apps from the developer and the only useful item is Preferences.

Customise iBar

iBar settings for showing and hiding menu bar items in macOS
iBar settings

There is a sidebar menu on the left, which isn’t in the screenshots. There are only a couple of useful sections and shown are the general settings.

Set iBar to auto start at login if you want it to automatically run. Advanced Mode has more features and you can choose whether menu bar icons appear automatically when the mouse hovers over the menu bar or only when it is clicked. I find auto mode best and you can set the delay before the menu bar icons appear.

Down near the bottom, you can choose the menu bar icon. There are several to choose from and it is just personal preference.

iBar settings for showing and hiding menu bar items in macOS
Set the icon spacing in the menu bar

At the very bottom is Menu bar spacing. Instead of hiding the menu bar icons, you could reduce the space between them. Squeezing them into less space might be sufficient to show them all without bumping into the menus of apps with a lot of menu items.

Choose which menu bar icons are visible or hidden with iBar for Apple Mac
Choose menu bar icon visibility in iBar settings

Another useful feature is choosing which menu bar icons are permanently visible and which are automatically hidden. All checkboxes are selected by default, which hides the icons, but if you want to show some, just clear the checkboxes.

Overall, iBar is a nice utility that works well and is free to install and use from the Mac App Store.

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