Apple anchors its legendary Menu bar at the top of macOS. Well, it’s not because Apple wants macOS to be the opposite of Windows. The menu bar continues to play an important role in macOS, especially if you want to install apps that don’t consume a lot of system resources. Whether you’re running task management apps or just want to check the system status, the menu bar can really help you take a quick snapshot.
For simple to medium tasks, you don’t need to install every other app under the sun. Thanks to the macOS developer community, there are plenty of macOS menu bar apps to help you complete simple tasks. However, some apps really get the most out of the menu bar without putting a load on the system. That is why we have compiled the list of the best menu bar apps for your Mac that you must try and use.
1. iStat menus
Monitoring your system status while you work can get a bit of a hassle. You might want to know the status of the granular components like CPU, GPU, network, sensors and others. Hence, the iStat Menu provides a more complete detail of such components as system information. Also, the app doesn’t use a lot of resources to collect the information and you can view all of them for it by clicking the app icon in the menu bar.
The iStat menus can also help you determine if an app is suspiciously using more resources than it should. In my case, I noticed that the speed (revolutions per minute) of the fan on my MacBook Air suddenly dropped with a whirring noise. After a quick SMC reset , it has returned to normal and has helped prevent potential permanent damage. From the temperature to the volume, it displays information quite neatly in the menu bar. It’s a must-have for anyone who takes care of their Mac. The iStat menus come with a 14-day trial version. If you like the app, you can purchase it from the developer’s website for $ 14.15. Or you can get it for free with a SetApp subscription.
2. A switch
One Switch is like the reincarnated version of the Control Center on iOS. True to its name, One Switch offers several switches to turn various services and settings on or off that are otherwise deeply nested. It can be so easy to clean up your desktop view or disconnect the bluetooth headphones / speakers.
You can use it for some nifty tasks, like showing or hiding hidden files or activating a screen saver. I loved Do Not Disturb mode which can be handy when working on full focus tasks. A Switch app comes with a 7-day free trial, and then you have to pay $ 4.99 to buy it from the website. Alternatively, you can get it for free if you have a SetApp subscription.
You can run snippets of code for things like weather information for the track that is currently playing. With BitBar you can insert and produce any information in the macOS menu bar. The real champions behind this app are contributors who have written several ready-to-use plugins for BitBar. All you have to do is install the app, download the plugin and put it in a folder.
From your network speed to mixing songs on Spotify, you can do most things with various plugins from the Plugin directory . BitBar lets you spice up your Mac’s menu bar with a variety of plugins. The best part is that the app is available for free, as are the plugins. If you don’t mind tinkering a little with the code, you can further customize the plugins to suit your needs.
At the time of writing, the official website is under maintenance. Run the BitBar app to create a folder called Plugins. Copy the code of the desired plugin from the plugin directory, save the file with the name of the plugin (ending in .sh) and then run the BitBar app.
The task view under Windows 10 and the split view under iPadOS whet the appetite for a similar function on macOS. Thankfully, there’s the Magnet app, which lets you snap and stack app windows in different directions on your screen. Click the app in the menu bar and choose a direction from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can memorize the shortcuts for quickly snapping and sorting the windows.
Magnet is extremely useful for work and entertainment. As you work, you can snap and sort the windows for quick reference to reports and documents. Likewise, you can enjoy YouTube or Netflix on the one hand while checking email or chatting with friends. Magnet works best when you plug your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air into a suitable monitor. You can purchase Magnet for $ 2.99 on the Mac App Store.
Bartender 3 is an efficient tool for managing all of the app icons that appear in this list after installing the apps. You can smartly clean up this menu bar area and arrange the app icons in an expandable but invisible stack that will automatically hide. You can also rearrange the icons manually based on your usage and choice.
If you tend to have multiple apps running, you can even use the keyboard shortcut to toggle between these app icons. Alternatively, you can also search for the app using the search field. Hiding certain apps protects your privacy from others and also cleans up the menu bar.
You can enjoy the 3 week trial version of Bartender 3 by downloading it from the official website or paying $ 15 as a one-time license fee. Alternatively, you can get it free of charge with the SetApp monthly subscription.
Clean up the bar
A properly organized menu bar with the bartender app looks a lot more appealing to me than having all the icons appear there. You can also make the menu bar your new place by trying out small apps that likely won’t need a full installation through the applications folder. Use the menu bar as an opportunity to try out small programs in order to free up your system resources and save them for crucial tasks later. What are your favorite menu bar apps? I bet there are plenty of other menu bar apps out there that you might want to share in the comments.
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