Bartender 2 – organize your menu bar apps!

By | 11/09/2016

Bartender 2One of iconic UI aspects of macOS is top menu. It’s shared by all apps, labels in top menu are dynamically changed by opened app. For example, if you open Safari (web browser), you will see app name “Safari” and next to it are menu items – “File”, “Edit”, “View”, “History”, “Bookmarks”, “Window” and “Help”. When you open another app, for example Preview (image and PDF viewer), you will see in menu app name “Preview” (changed from “Safari”) and it’s menu items “File”, “Edit”, “View”, “Go”, “Tools”, “Window” and “Help”. Top menu items are matched to currently active app. Some users hate it, some love it. Critics say it’s wasting time with extra mouse clicks, lovers say that it’s more tidy and many menu actions, like find, text replacement, preferences and many others are in same place across all apps. But there is one ugly issue. On the right side of top menu are items like current time, battery status, wi-fi and Bluetooth icons, search icon, Siri icon (since macOS Sierra), AirPlay status, etc. And issue is, that when we have many top menu bar apps and opened app with many menu items, top menu is full and some items from top menu are missing. But don’t worry, here is a solution – Bartender 2.

With Bartender 2, you can arange top menu bar apps into extra menu line. I have made screnshots for you, just click on the link. I haven’t included images directly to this review, because they are wide and thin:

Bartender – extra line

When I turn off Bartender 2, it looks like this:

Bartender – Disabled

Of course, when you want, you can hide extra line. Bartender 2 will then left it’s own icon in top menu bar. You can always show extra line after clicking Bartender 2 icon in top menu:

Bartender – Enabled

Note: in this screenshot, Bartender’s 2 icon in top menu bar is highlighted by red rectangle.

Many settings are available. Most items that came with macOS can be edited and it should works for all 3rd party apps icons. You can move items to Bartender’s extra line or completely disable it from top menu. Or just keep them where they are. If you are using services like Dropbox, Bartender 2 got interesting feature: you can move Dropbox icon to Bartender’s extra line, but when something in backgroud is uploading data to Dropbox (or other activity related to Dropbox), icon can be shown in default place notifying you that something is happening. After some time (can be adjusted, 9 options – from 5 seconds to 10 minutes), Dropbox icon will be automatically moved back to Bartender’s extra line. It should work for all apps. You can disable this feature.

In settings, there is option to launch Bartender 2 after loging-in to your Mac. You can even disable Bartender’s 2 icon in top menu bar and control it via keyboard shortcuts. Icon can be customized by 7 built-in icons or your own picture. I personally use default “Bowtie” icon, which is shown in screenshots.

One hint: by holding CMD key on your keyboard and using mouse/trackpad, you can re-arange icons, in both system’s menu and Bartender’s 2 extra line.

In short, Bartender 2 is a must-have for Mac power users with many app icons in menubar or for users which just want to hide some elements to keep menubar tidy.

You can download reviewed app(s) here:

Bartender 2 – Organize your menu bar apps

Bartender 2 on developer’s website

Update 1st – 28. June 2018: Bartender 3 was released, available via the link above. Bartender 3 is ready for newest macOS and it’s free upgrade for all owners of license for Bartender 2.

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