Too many menu bar icons on your MacBook? Hide the unused ones

How to hide menu bar icons you do not need to see on the Apple Mac. Free up space on the menu bar if it is full.

The menu bar on a MacBook, especially one of the smaller models ones, has a very limited amount of space. It is easily filled, but you can reduce the overcrowding by hiding the unused icons.

Some apps have a lot of menus and there may be 9 or even 10 items on the left hand side of the menu bar. On the right hand side is the notifications/today panel icon, spotlight search icon, user name or icon, Siri, battery icon and percentage, Bluetooth, clock, Wi-Fi and possibly several utilities you have installed.

iMacs with their huge screens are not a problem and the menu bar is 21 or more inches wide, but the MacBook / Air / Pro 12 and 13in models have quite limited screen space. The two sides of the menu bar can meet in the middle and it then becomes too crowded and cannot fit everything in.

The solution is a free menu bar utility called Vanilla. It adds another menu bar item, but this is diferent and it is useful. Download it and open the .dmg file. Drag the Vanilla icon to the Applications folder.

Install Vanilla on the Apple Mac

When the Vanilla utility is run, it adds a couple of tiny characters to the right side of the menu bar: >  . They are easily missed, so look carefully.

The Vanilla app adds two icons to the menu bar

If there is an icon in the menu bar that you don’t want to see, hold down the Command key and click and drag it left and drop it between the > and the . It is a bit tricky using the trackpad to do this and it takes two hands.

Click and drag more icons you want to hide and start filling the space between > and . with them.

The Vanilla app hides menu bar items on the Apple Mac

This area is automatically hidden (close the Vanilla help window if it is open) and all the icons it contains are temporarily removed from the menu bar. This frees up a lot of space and it makes the menu bar less distracting. Here I have hidden three icons, but you could hide many more.

The Vanilla app hides menu bar items on the Apple Mac

You don’t need to hide every icon in the menu bar and there will be some you want to keep on the screen, like the battery charge. The icons you want to keep should be left at the far right side of the menu bar, after the dot.

If you need to see the hidden icons at any time, they can be made visible again. Just click the < symbol and the hidden area becomes visible. After using them, they will become invisible again as Vanilla hides them automatically.

Vanilla is a great little utility that does one thing very well. There aren’t any extra features and no configuration options apart from dragging the icons into the automatically hidden area. It is a great free utility.

App: Vanilla http://matthewpalmer.net/vanilla/
Price: Free
By: Mathew Palmer
Size: 6MB
Verdict: An essential utility for reducing menu bar overcrowding

 

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