Bartender Alternatives

I am an admitted menu bar addict and am coming very close to filling up the entire menu bar - particularly when there is an application running that competes for the same screen real estate.

I tried Bartender hoping it would help, but that seems to allow dividing items only crudely into “Hidden” or not hidden.

Is there an alternative which lets me create folders or categories of items in the menu bar?

Short answer: nope.

Not only that but Bartender-style functionality will apparently be restricted in Big Sur and the dev is working on getting it working. G̶o̶o̶d̶ ̶M̶a̶c̶R̶u̶m̶o̶r̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶r̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶[̶h̶e̶r̶e̶]̶(̶h̶t̶t̶p̶s̶:̶/̶/̶f̶o̶r̶u̶m̶s̶.̶m̶a̶c̶r̶u̶m̶o̶r̶s̶.̶c̶o̶m̶/̶t̶h̶r̶e̶a̶d̶s̶/̶b̶i̶g̶-̶s̶u̶r̶-̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶-̶n̶o̶t̶-̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶-̶a̶p̶p̶s̶.̶2̶2̶4̶2̶3̶1̶2̶/̶)̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶f̶a̶r̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶B̶i̶g̶ ̶S̶u̶r̶:̶
(EDIT: sorry that was about working Big Sur apps, not Bartender working with BS apps)

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Or, another workable approach is to add folders to the Dock maybe?

Dropzone (for the menu bar) is part of the way where you want to get to.

I wish. I’ve wanted Bartender to do “groups” for ages so I could put all of certain types of apps together.

I have not found anything that does that.

There was an app on the NeXT that did multiple docks, but I don’t think the Mac has had anything like that other than maybe DragThing (R.I.P.)





Do you use Bartender search feature ? With a convenient hotkey it is a life saver !
I recently took to use it and I don’t fumble with my menu bar anymore (it’s filled on two layers already …)

I tried the Search - honestly I am surprised that Bartender is so slow -and the appearance is even slower with multiple monitors because the primary display does not show the transitions as each app is being processed.

I don’t use search, because I always forget the hotkey I’d employed and app should but doesn’t offer the ability to click or right-click to invoke search. So I just do the stroll-and-gawk when necessary.

So, is Bartender still dead? I have an awfully crowded Menu Bar - and Big Sur just made it worse.

Bartender 4 Beta works fine in Big Sur on my Intel and M1 Macs.


Something is weird with Bartender+Big Sur. I have not dealt with it since I am waiting for my new M1 MBP and will start from scratch there. Nice to hear there’s an update coming.

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Is beta invite only or public?

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Open beta

I’m using it with no issues


I’ve found the beta now and paid the small amount for the upgrade.

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Vanilla is a neat app for this. Basic functionality is free. $5 one-time for a few extra nice-to-have features. Developer seems like a cool guy.

My M1 MacBook Air arrived recently and I decided to use Vanilla instead of the Bartender 4 beta. But I must say Bartender has served me very well over the years.

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I have been using the App „Dozer“ for several months now on multiple machines - Big Sur included by now - and it works perfectly for me to keep my menu bar at sane :blush::


How are people getting on with BarTender now?
I still find it mildly frustrating and confusing to set up right and wonder if I want to roll back to the previous version (I’ve been a happy customer for a few years, it’s just the current version seems, well, wrong).

Having stumbled back on this thread, am going to try Dozer too.

Oh really? I like version 4 more than 3.

I like the return of the Bartender Bar underneath the main menu bar.

And the keyboard shortcuts for menu bar apps is a great feature.

Love v4 as well. Much snappier and usable that v3 was for me. I wouldn’t want to go back.