What's in your menu bar?

Since folks seem to be interested in home screens, desktops, and the like, I thought I’d throw out the things I let live in my menubar.

Left to right:

  • Workspaces - doesn’t play well with MATLAB, so probably will be removed
  • Copied - syncs clipboard material between macOS and iOS, allows saving clips as e.g. templates
  • CleanMyDrive2 - can remove junk from external drives, allows quickly ejecting all drives
  • iStat Menus - overview of system activity etc. Probably overkill for most people.
  • Location Services - Calendar needs to know where I am for some reason
  • iStat Menus battery status
  • Carbon Copy Cloner - just hanging out waiting to back something up when I connect an external drive I’ve set up. Backs up my research data, cloud data (some of it anyway), and dropbox data to an external SSD.
  • Clean My Mac - waiting to clean some disc space, also keeping an eye out for hung applications. Also waiting to help clean up any files left behind when I delete an app.
  • Sharing preferences (blacked out, as everything is off)
  • Hazel - waiting to move PDFs from Downloads to my Bookends import folder. Also keeping an eye on the trash.
  • Magnet - a really awesome window manager. Shortcut keys allow you to move a window to the left half of the screen, left 1/3, lower half, etc. Also creates shortcut places at screen edges to resize windows.
  • Rescue Time - monitors what I’m doing on the computer. Pops up a window asking what I’ve been doing if I’ve been away. Helps me not fritter away my time. Weekly reports, and goals for categories, like ‘less than two hours per day on social media’.
  • Keyboard Maestro - I’ve created a lot of shortcuts and tool palettes to help me use applications more efficiently. For example, the ‘butterfly’ key on my keyboard opens Agenda, or hides the window if it’s already open - that is, it acts like a toggle. Shift+Butterfly for Bear, Ctrl+Butterfly for Ulysses. It’s really nice having them a keystroke away, and that they will go away with the same keystroke.
  • 1Password - the old standalone version
  • Dropbar - great place to stick stuff temporarily. I also use their app installer just about every time, as it does a lot of the menial work of installing automatically.
  • Time Machine - Dropbox and iCloud are copies, not backups. So I do backups. Drives at home (4T, lots of history), and school (1T, less history).
  • Sound
  • Date and time
  • The ellipsis (three dots) is for Bartender. I have my menu bar divided into two pages, the second to follow.
  • Notifications - those things that make you less productive and break your train of thought. My most precious resource is my attention, so I’m very selective about who gets any.

Second Page

Less-used things, or things that don’t need fiddling with:

  • Dropbox - because other people want to use it
  • HazeOver - dims screen areas that aren’t actively being used, to minimize distraction and eye strain.
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi / Ethernet
  • BackBlaze - if there is a catastrophe, I have a backup here, and thus a means to recover. Well worth $5/mo.
  • AutoMounter - hangs out and waits for my wired ethernet connection at school. When it sees it, it mounts a drive that I use all the time. It just works, and the drive is just there.
  • VPN
  • Currently using a Dvorak layout on my keyboard, so this is set to US English. If I switch to the builtin keyboard, I switch this to Dvorak. Completely makes sense, right?
  • My moniker
  • Default Folder X - remembers where you last opened / saved files, and their names, and conveniently goes to the folder and highlights the file. Amazingly helpful.
  • Spotlight - I always use the shortcut keys, so this doesn’t need to be here.
  • Apple Scripts - never use this menu
  • AirPlay
  • Bartender
  • Distractions, er, Notifications

My iMac’s menu bar.


Left to right:

iVI Pro - currently ripping my DVD collection.
Plex - the reason why I’m ripping my DVD collection.
Magnet - My current solution for managing windows on macOS.
Fantastical - Best quick entry system for calendar events.
Keyboard Maestro - Do a fair amount of automation with this, especially using a Brett Terpstra style hyper key.
Screens - In case I need to access my Mac from my iPad.
1Password - First thing I install on any new Mac.
Dropbox - My main file syncing solution.
Better Touch Tool - I have a few customizations for my Magic Trackpad 2, but I should probably be making better use of this.
iStatMenus - CPU, memory, SSD, network, and sensors.
Interact Scratchpad - For quickly entering contact info. No longer being developed, but still working for me for the time being.
Tooth Fairy - For managing bluetooth headphones.
Haze Over - Great for distraction-free writing and watching videos.
TextExpander - Second thing I install on a new Mac. MacOS is basically broken for me without TextExpander.
OmniPresence - Syncing for my OmniFocus apps.
Karabiner-elements - Sets up that hyper-key I mentioned earlier.
Backblaze - Gotta have an offsite backup.
Mountain - Managing external hard drives for my on-site backup.
Alfred - My launcher app of choice.
Drobo - Stores my less frequently used files (and more backups!).
Carbon Copy Cloner - This is what does all those backups.
Hazel - A vital part of my paperless workflow.
Time Machine - More backups.
Scripts - Another feature of macOS I’m not using as much as I should.
Spotlight - Still occasionally need this rather than Alfred.

I’m a big Bartender user on my laptops, but I’ve held off putting it on my iMac. The 27" display has enough real estate across the top that even with all those menu bar apps I don’t really have issues with an app’s menus covering them up. That said, I’m thinking of resorting to Bartender to hide some of the less important stuff just to make other stuff easier to find.

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tl;dr : too much!

I use Bartender on my MacBookPro. But here is the Menu bar on my iMac:

  • Skitch
  • Hazel
  • Adobe Updater which I’d love to get rid of since CS5 doesn’t get any updates.
  • 1Password
  • Alfred
  • Dropbox
  • Forklift
  • Resilio Sync
  • Display Menu
  • BetterTouchTool
  • F.lux
  • TextExpander
  • CrashPlan

And from macOS itself:

  • TimeMachine
  • Bluetooth
  • Networks
  • Eject
  • Keyboard
  • Date and Time
  • Fast User Switching
  • Spotlight
  • Siri
  • Notifications
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All the usual suspects plus a Fluid app for overcast.fm . I almost forget it’s not a native app.

Wasn’t aware of Cookie. Looks pretty handy.

Part I - Bartender “Visible”

  • ShortCat
  • Gladys
  • DayOne quick capture
  • Numi
  • Default Folder X
  • Dropzone – use this all day – best app around
  • Snagit
  • nvALT – heading to graveyard; tired of waiting for BitWriter
  • Typinator
  • FoxTrot
  • ForecastBar
  • Fantastical 2
  • TextSoap
  • Curiota
  • Amphetamine
  • BTT
  • Droplr

Part II – Bartender “Hidden”

  • 1Password
  • SetApp
  • CarbonCopyCloner
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • CrashPlan – also heading for the graveyard; they trashed my archive in their cloud – sad!
  • BackBlaze – successor to CrashPlan
  • GeekTool
  • ScreenFloat – great but flakey
  • Hazel
  • OneDrive
  • KeyboardMaestro
  • Moom
  • PopClip
  • Yoink
  • FruitJuice
  • TripMode
  • a bunch of Apple widgets

I am a minimalist for my menu bar on a 13" MacBook Pro.


  • iStat Menu’s weather, date/time, and CPU monitor.
  • Apple’s Wifi
  • FruitJuice for battery monitoring. (Recommend by Katie a long time ago on MPU)
  • Bartender 3 (with Tardis icon – you know, it’s larger on the inside)

With Bartender (most used are on the right near the Tardis):


  • iStat Menu’s network monitor
  • Apple Display/Airplay
  • Moom (window control & placement)
  • Quitter - Marco Arment’s free app (wish it had a normal app window so I could hide it)
  • Time Machine
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive Backup & Sync (for 1 folder for work)
  • Backblaze
  • TextExpander
  • Keyboard Maestro
  • 1Password
  • Colors for Hue - manages lights (sometimes you just don’t want to talk to Alexa)
  • Amphetamine
  • Bluetooth

Hidden apps from menu bar (accessed with Alfred or keyboard shortcuts):

  • PopClip
  • BetterTouchTool
  • Hazel
  • Yoink
  • ScreenFloat (screen shots that float over Spaces)
  • SwiftText (notepad-like window for text that floats over Spaces)
  • Setapp
  • Alfred

Just in case someone wants the Tardis Bartender icon. It is .png. It’s been awhile but I think it might need to be converted to .tiff for Bartender.


Me too, That took just way too long. I’d like to suggest FSNotes, which is actively developed.

In the ‘visible’ bar, I have:


  • Dropbox
  • Dragon Dictate v5
  • iStat Menu
  • Little Snitch network monitor
  • Fantastical
  • Fruitjuice battery monitor
  • Spotlight
  • Bluetooth
  • Bartender 3

Under the Bartender 3 menu, I have:


  • Duet display
  • Revisions (Dropbox change monitor)
  • 1Password
  • Mosaic (Window manager)
  • TextExpander
  • BetterTouchTool
  • Hazel
  • Fastscripts
  • SnappyApp
  • Yoink
  • Popclip
  • Unclutter
  • Shortcat app
  • Moom
  • Dictation
  • Battery (masOS)
  • Caffeinate
  • hotkeyEVE
  • Box
  • Timemachine
  • Alfred
  • Omnisync
  • Keyboard viewer (macOS)
  • Siri
  • Airplay
  • Default Folder X

I have running:


  • iStat Menus
  • Cardhop
  • Time machine
  • Battery
  • Fruitjuice
  • 1Password
  • iStat menus date and battery info
  • wifi
  • the standard macos stuff
  • Bartender

in the bartender menu:


  • Textexpander
  • Dropbox
  • Protonmail bridge
  • Keybase
  • Encrypt.me
  • (normally also running controlplane)
  • Better Touch Tool
  • Pulse Secure
  • Keyboard Maestro
  • Alfred
  • Bluetooth
  • Copied
  • Synology Drive
  • Hazel
  • Oversight
  • Sophos Home (to keep my windows buddies secure)
  • Moom
  • Amphetamine
  • Yoink
  • Growl
  • Shotbox
  • Airplay
  • Applescript


Left to right:

  • Better touch Tool for window positions and some gestures
  • Dropbox
  • 1Password
  • Docker
  • JetbrainsToolbox for PHPStorm
  • Some istat menu network / cpu and mem info
  • Backblaze
  • Viscosity VPN
  • CloudApp
  • Rocket (emoji)
  • KeepingYouAwake (dont sleep display)
  • a lot of boring MacOS defualt icons
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Almost nothing there (iStat Menus, time, battery).

The reasoning: what benefit do the icons in the menu bar have? One example: Backblaze. It does backups in the background, why do I need an icon? If I ever need Backblaze, I launch it via Alfred. Same for Dropbox: syncs in the background, no need for an icon. This applies to most stuff in the menu bar, the items are just there. So I just kept this that give me immediate, visual information and got rid of the rest. Everything can be launched or triggered via keyboard, which is way faster that moving the mouse pointer to those little icons.

The Dropbox menu bar item does provide one immeadite piece of visual information: has the file I just put into dropbox finished syncing?

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How do you manage to keep them out of your menu bar?

When I am offered the choice of the app placing its icon in the Dock, or Menu bar, I always opt for the latter, since Barkeeper hides them in any event. Granted, my Dock is hidden as well, but I occasionally still activate it up to fetch ‘hidden’ windows, and prefer to have it as empty as possible.

Never used it. 99% of the time I am on fast internet connections, so no issues. In the rare occasions where I am on wonky WLAN, I just open the folder in Finder and I see the sync status of every file.

I used Bartender 2 to manage dozens of items, now I use it mainly to hide the resilient ones.

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The Tardis icon pretty much made my day. Thanks!



Welp. That’s about it. :man_shrugging:t2:

My Dock isn’t too much more exciting, to be honest.


It’s not the tools, it’s what you can do with them.