If you’re like me, you hate OS X’s Dock. While a useful UI innovation on Apple’s part, the dock takes up a surprising amount of screen real estate on what, in the end, adds up to a superfluous amount of visual fluff.
You can hide your dock, sure, but isn’t there a better alternative to dock? As it turns out, there is… and thanks to a cheap Mac app, that alternative is the Menu Bar.
Boy, you’d think this would be an easy one, right? Most third-party menu bar icons allow you to either drag and delete them from the menu bar itself, or at least provide a Quit or Disable function in their own drop-down menus, but not Chrome.
The little bell menu bar just sits there, mocking us, providing no easy way to delete it from the horde of other app icons competing for our admittedly limited attention.
Fear not, though, as there is a fairly easy–though rather unintuitive–way to delete this bell icon.
Back in the day, Apple popularized the point and click interface so well that Microsoft decided it would use the same system, thereby paving the way for decades of mouse pointers and menu systems.
Still, one of the great things about Mac OS X is the way it caters to the power user with keyboard shortcuts, both built in and customizable. Heck, in Mavericks, you can even sync these custom tricks with iCloud.
It comes as an obvious surprise, then, when you realize that you can even navigate that most mouse-centric of innovations, the menu bar.
The external monitor support in Mavericks is much improved, as we noted in yesterday’s tip on getting the Dock to show up on your second monitor.
The menu bar itself will dim when you’re not actively on a specific monitor, as well. In other words, if you’re using monitor A, the menu bar will look opaque, as per usual, while it will dim and go see-through on monitor B. When you switch your active focus by using the cursor on monitor B, though, the menu bar will brighten and not let you see through it, while the menubar on monitor A will go semi-transparent and dim.
There is a way, however, to just hide the menu bar altogether on your secondary monitor, if that’s how you want things to work. The preference is in an unintuitive place, though.
On my Macbook Air running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, when I click on the Time Machine backup menubar item, I see the option to browse other backup disks. That’s a pretty cool option, if I need to switch between different disks to backup my Mac; maybe to make a secondary backup for redundancy.
In Mavericks, the Time Machine menu bar icon doesn’t have this option any more, instead only showing Stop This Backup when backing up (or Back Up Now when it isn’t), Enter Time Machine, and Open Time Machine Preferences. If you’re wondering where the option to browse other backup disks has gone, you’re not alone.
With the abundance of icons in the upper right corner of the Mac OS X screen, it could be time for a change. If you’re tired of the same old Notification Center icon–the one that looks like a bullet list–this tip’s for you.
The Option key is a powerful ally in your transition from new, beginner user of OS X to the power user that you want to be. There are a ton of features in the Menu Bar that are hidden behind this underrated and unassuming Option key.
BackUp Gmail does what you’d expect: it backs up your Gmail account to your desktop computer. It’s a simple Menu Bar app that works in the background. It’s only $2 in the Mac App Store, but does have a few problems.