Menu Bar

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Menu Bar:

Hold down the Option key to unlock Mac’s hidden menu bar actions


menu widgets
Not that kind of menu item.
Photo: Croissant/Unsplash

The Option key (sometimes marked ⌥ on your Mac’s keyboard) offers you extra options, whether you’re using the keyboard or the mouse. Hold it down while dragging a file, for example, and it will create a duplicate of that file, instead of just moving it1. The Option key works everywhere — in menus, too. Today, we’re going to see what happens when you Option-click on the status menu icons up on the right side of your Mac’s menu bar. The Bluetooth, volume, Wi-Fi, Time Machine and Notification Center widgets, to be precise.

Option-clicking on these icons gives you far greater control of some of your Mac’s core functionality. You might be surprised at what you can do up there.

How to find out which Mac apps are using your location


Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Photo: Apple

As our digital lives converge across mobile and desktop devices like our iPhones and Macbooks, we rely on them knowing where we are at any given time. Safari suggestions, for example, count on knowing your location, as do any Maps searches or such.

You might want to know when your Location data is being used, however, for privacy reason. If you enable the Location Services menu bar, you’ll be able to see when any app is accessing your private location data, making it more possible to lock down any sources you don’t want using it.

Here’s how to get that menu bar notice working.

Say goodbye to the OS X Dock. With StatusDuck, you’ll never need it again



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.

Get Rid Of The Chrome Bell Notification Menu Bar Icon [OS X Tips]


chrome bell icon

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.

How To Un-Clutter Your Mac’s Menu Bar [OS X Tips]


menu bar de-clutter

I swear, the more I learn about the Mac OS X operating system, the more there is to know!

There are so many little hidden key strokes on the Mac that help you do all sorts of things, and there’s really no way to find them out.

This little gem is something I just found out today, and I’ve been sending you OS X Tips for the better part of two years.

To get rid of the system menubar icons, you can drop into each System Preference pane and uncheck the “Show in Menu Bar” option, or you can just do this.

Tired Of Clicking? Use The Keyboard To Navigate The Menu Bar [OS X Tips]


Look, ma, no mouse!
Look, ma, no mouse!

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.

Hide The Menu Bar On Your Secondary Monitor With Mavericks [OS X Tips]


Get Rid Of Secondary 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.

Toggle The Menu Bar Translucency On Your Mac [OS X Tips]


Translucent Menu Bar

It looks like this has been possible since, oh, Mac OS X 10.5 or so, but I hadn’t come across it before. I’m guessing that might mean some of you haven’t, either.

If you’re one of those amazing folks who have seen this already, then feel free to check out all our other OS X tips; it’s possible there’s something in the list you didn’t know about already.

For the rest of you, if you want to disable the translucent menu bar on your Mac, it’s relatively simple. Check it out.

Quickly Access Time Machine Options Right In The Menu Bar With Mavericks [OS X Tips]


Browse Other Backup DIsks

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.

NotesTab Pro: Nice Idea, But Improvements Needed [Review]


NotesTab Pro and begging
NotesTab Pro and begging "join our mailing list" window. Could have been worse; could have said "Please rate us five stars!"

Do we need any more notepad apps for OS X? Of course we do, what a foolish question. We always need more notepad apps. But if a newcomer to the notepad app scene (what, you didn’t know there was a notepad app scene? tut tut) wants to make any impact, it needs to be really, really good at what it does.

NotesTab Pro is one such newcomer, and although it has some appealing features, it doesn’t offer enough to make it stand out from its rivals.

Set Up Multiple World Clocks In Your Menu Bar [OS X Tips]


Clocks App

Maybe you’re a world traveler, looking to keep track of the time in the many places you visit around the globe. Or, you might be an office manager, only your offices are spread acloss several different timezones in as many countries. Heck, maybe you just write for a bunch of different websites and your editors need you to keep track of what time it is in their hometown before you call them about a hot story lead. Whatever the reason, today’s tip is an app that will help you with the need for many clocks.

Skip Tunes: A Simple Way To Control iTunes Or Spotify From Your Mac’s Menu Bar [Review]


Screen Shot 2012-02-14 at 12.31.57 PM

I’m always looking for ways to enhance my music listening experience on the Mac. For the last several months I’ve been using Bowtie to control iTunes with keyboard shortcuts, and Ecoute is another great alternative for managing iTunes in a minimal, simplified way.

When the developers of Skip Tunes contacted me, I was intrigued by the app’s menu bar interface. For quick access to simple music playback controls, it doesn’t get much better than this.

How to Get Google+ Running in Your Mac’s Menubar


tab for google+

Have you fallen in love with Google+? Do you find yourself checking the social network frequently throughout your day?

There’s a free app in the Mac App Store that let’s you run Google+ from your Mac’s menubar, and it’s called Tab for Google+. With this app, you can easily check and interact with Google+ while doing just about anything on your Mac.

Twit Menulet : A Twitter Client for Jaguar and Tiger Users [Review]



With Twitter gaining so much popularity in the mainstream, there seem to be hundreds of Twitter clients available for Mac. But what about us Tweeters who still have old Macs and are running OS X Tiger or even Panther? Twit Menulet fills the gap for those Mac users who still want to Tweet without having to upgrade their entire system. Read on for the full review and an exclusive offer for the Cult of Mac audience: