Built-in workaround for applications hiding under the MacBook Pro notch

247 points1
flohofwoe1 day ago

I really like my M1 Mac, but the notch has to be the dumbest design decision in the history of laptops :/ I would accept any design compromise for the webcam, make it grainy / low-res and put it under the display, put it at the bottom so it points up my nose, or move into a small 'corner notch' in the top-right corner so that the camera looks at me from the side ... anything really but please get rid of that stupidly oversized center notch.

thimp1 day ago

Haven't really noticed mine. Even after I've used it plugged into the studio display for a couple of days and go back to laptop mode, it's just such a non issue.

lloeki1 day ago

I live with it, the most annoying part being how big it is vertically. It has a weird psychological effect of screaming WASTED SPACE!!! at me, even though I rationally know that if the screen would start below would make for less space.

It's constantly bothering me to the point that I set a background with a black area at the top so that it blends with the menubar. I don't have a problem with the menubar icons though because I keep that tidy and minimal.

I punt on the issue through clamshell mode most of the time though.

To each their own, and TBH I have worse pet peeves.

devsda1 day ago

The way I see it, we can think of the screen below the notch as actual display area and consider the area next to notch as bonus display dedicated for menubar. The bonus area goes dark when in fullscreen app. So, the app area is consistent in both modes.

This way you don't have to feel like there's wasted space.

j451 day ago

Is there a chance anything that us paid attention to grows in size.

Would anyone be willing to go to an older laptop without it?

Assuming not, what are the options? External displays?

I find I usually look at the content on the screen not the webcam or the notch, but it could be different for others

WWLink22 hours ago

No way lol. I bought a 15" macbook air and the notch is the one thing I hate on that laptop.

Like seriously, why is it so dang big?! I could understand a little cutout for the camera, but it's not like there's a faceid scanner array in there. It's just a dang camera. They could've stuck the ambient light sensor anywhere else.

wtallis16 hours ago

IIRC, Apple used to have the ambient light sensor under the left speaker grille. If you happened to rest your hand there, it would make your screen suddenly start dimming.

When using the laptop in a dark environment, it was also prone to a feedback loop where the screen dimming would result in less light hitting the sensor, leading to further screen dimming, or runaway brightening. Putting the sensor facing outward from the plane of the screen minimizes that feedback.

tcdent1 day ago

I've had my M2 Air for about a month now and this thread is the only reason I know that it's there. Never would have noticed.

gomox10 hours ago

Same here. I actually had to look up whether my model had it since I'm not in front of it.

I do use external screens a lot tho (in addition to the built in one).

naikrovek21 hours ago

How can you not notice that? Hate it or not it is incredibly easy to notice.

wtallis16 hours ago

It's trivial to notice when you go looking for it. But if you keep your machine in dark mode and don't use apps with an overloaded menu bar, it's also very easy for the notch to entirely disappear from your awareness.

pdntspa1 day ago

I agree here. I thought it was dumb but the OS works around it really nicely; the only time it ever got in the way was with some non-native software

gniv1 day ago

> I would accept any design compromise for the webcam, make it grainy / low-res

I think this is a minority opinion.

I personally don't remark the notch anymore.

ambyra1 day ago

It’s an okay solution, not the best, but definitely the most expensive.

Another solution that would have been cool and expensive: if they put a camera in each corner of the screen. Then at least they could have the rounded corners they always wanted. Also four cameras could be used for cool 3d effects and AI to keep your eyes looking at the center of the screen.

threeseed1 day ago

I think you need to think through that four camera concept a bit more.

It would significantly increase the screen bezels because instead of just one notch you now have to bring in all four edges to accomodate the cameras.

LeonenTheDK1 day ago

> Also four cameras could be used for cool 3d effects and AI to keep your eyes looking at the center of the screen.

Nvidia has been doing the eyes with a single generic camera for over a year now:

lxgr1 day ago
cooper_ganglia1 day ago

Wait a second, I think you’re onto something here…

mceachen1 day ago
pompino1 day ago

It's the majority opinion, infact Apple also believes that the notch is a compromise. Apple has been trying to develop the under-screen webcam tech. They just don't have the technical capability to eliminate it. When Apple and others finally eliminate the notch it will be heralded as the best thing ever.

Few will realize how Apple milked you twice - once to accept the horrible design (that they created), and again to accept how wonderful they are for eliminating the problem.

Tagbert1 day ago

All designs involve compromise. That doesn’t mean that those designs are bad, just that they are taking into account factors which are in opposition. Factors such as size, capacity, function, and legibility are examples of the kinds of oppositional factors that designs often need to take into account.

The MacBook notch is a clever design that increases the size of the screen without increasing the size of the overall case. There are some, relatively minor, downsides.

1. Some applications have an unusual number of menu items. The system takes this into account and renders those menu items to the right of the notch. In many cases, those are the less often used menu items “Window” and “Help” so the impact is lower.

2. When there are large numbers of app icons in the menubar, they may not all fit and some are truncated. This has always been a problem with that feature and many people have solved this by using utilities such as Bartender that hide extra app icons and move them to secondary panels.

3. There is an additional visual element on the screen. Many people quickly learn to ignore the notch and soon forget that it is there. For those who are bothered by it, there are a couple of simple ways to reduce the visibility of it. One method is to change the resolution of the screen so that all content appears below the notch. The downside of that solution is that there is less screen area. Another method is to use a utility to turn the menubar black. This makes the notch blend into the menubar so that it is much less visible.

pompino1 day ago
resfirestar1 day ago

I don't see anyone saying the notch on a laptop is a "good" thing that they bought the laptop to get, just people who bought a laptop for other reasons justifying why an imperfect screen shape wasn't enough to make them regret the purchase. They're not being "milked" in any way I can see.

Compare phones, where manufacturers have actually created a narrative that camera cutouts are a desirable feature. Maybe people who bought new phones because they like the cutout design are getting milked twice.

pompino1 day ago

Its an MBA thing. Engineers and nerds would never support it.

arrowleaf22 hours ago

I'm saving up to replace my personal intel MBP with a new one partially because using my work MBP I really appreciate that little bit of extra screen space. In regular use I hardly notice the notch, sometimes I'll even have fun watching my cursor jump back and forth when it gets close to one side of it.

KerrAvon1 day ago

Unless you've actually conducted a survey, you don't know how many people feel like you do. I get that you hate it, but I personally haven't noticed the notch in day to day use ever -- I've been using an M1 in light mode since it came out.

pompino1 day ago
kstrauser1 day ago

If you look at it as "the notch took away part of the screen", it's annoying. I see it like "the notch gave me new chunks of screen that wouldn't have been there otherwise".

nicoburns21 hours ago

This is even literally true as they made the screen (and screen resolution) bigger with the introduction of the notch. Given the existence of macOS's menubar I personally think it's a great design.

pompino1 day ago

A customer should care about looking at a retail product with their own POV, not someone else's. This is the classic "you're holding it wrong" response.

kstrauser1 day ago

OK. I'm the customer here, and I'm looking at it with my own POV. I think it's neat that I have extra pixels to hold the menu bar so that the rest of the screen can be dedicated to the apps I'm running.

pompino1 day ago
yungporko1 day ago

no it's just a fact. before the notch, the parts of the screen either side of it were not screen, but now they are. the complaints about the notch literally boil down to "it's not enough extra screen".

pompino1 day ago

The only "fact" here is that Apple is going to milk you twice. Once when they sold you a knowingly flawed design and again, when they finally develop the tech to eliminate the notch, Apple fans will happily line up to pay them again.

SkyMarshal1 day ago

It's more the classic glass half empty vs half full response. Although given the small size of the notch, it's more like 10% empty vs 90% full.

pompino1 day ago

I don't see a problem with criticizing the one of richest companies in the world on legitimate issues, or holding them to a very high standard. They can defend themselves just fine. I'd give a smaller company much more leeway. I own several Apple products (often the ones I criticize the most are the ones I personally purchased and used long term), but I'm not part of the Apple "community" or other Apple fanbases.

xattt1 day ago

“Screen half black vs half lit up”

dimask21 hours ago

This. And makes the laptop smaller. I have a notchless M1 13" air and it is almost the same size as my 14" M3 mac, albeit with bigger screen.

wulfeet1 day ago

I've been using a M1 for well over a year, and until about two weeks ago I didn't know it had a notch.

I don't follow the tech press, who I'm sure discussed it a great length when it was released. And I'm not personally invested in the Mac, it's owned by my employer.

So I didn't notice the notch until my cursor disappeared while scrolling across the top of the screen.

TillE1 day ago

Yeah it's completely invisible if you use a background that's very dark near the top, I haven't thought about the notch in months.

bombcar1 day ago

The notch is really noticeable if you have a white menubar.

I'd take a screenshot of it but ... ha!

mort961 day ago

Just don't think of it as a 15.4:10ish screen with a hole cut out of it, think of it as a 16:10 screen with some extra space on top for the menu bar. Realistically, what you're proposing is to remove the part of the screen with the notch in it to make it a normal 16:10 screen, and tbh that seems like a straight-up downgrade.

I do think the machine looks better with a dark menu bar in the "notched" area though. That's how I have my Asahi Linux system set up.

Miraste1 day ago

I don't believe those are the only options. Why is the notch so big? If they kept the webcam the same size and made it a hole punch in the display, instead of surrounding it with a giant blob that still can't do Face ID, it would solve the whole problem.

Tagbert1 day ago

Because there is more than just a camera. There is the camera, two sensors, and some mounting hardware. It all adds up to some space. The specific size doesn’t really matter especially if you use Bartender to properly manage the app icons.

See the camera module here:

Miraste1 day ago

I know, but the other two sensors are for color temperature and light level. There's no reason they couldn't be in the bezel or the bottom of the display, and they don't need that massive chunk just to mount a camera.

Before Apple Silicon I always set the menu bar to autohide, and it bugs me unreasonably that I can't do that anymore.

mort9613 hours ago

I agree that it certainly seems wider than necessary.

duxup1 day ago

> put it at the bottom so it points up my nose

My Dell has a nose cam… it’s so unpleasant a view that it is unusable IMO.

dev_tty011 day ago

Just use something like RDM to set the screen size to the choice that is a few pixels shorter. The system will take those pixels off the top and the notch will disappear. The top of the active pixel area will be a bit lower.

I suspect those settings are available in the controller because some Apple engineers also hate the notch.

Groxx1 day ago

I really hate it. I lose menu bar applications and application menus behind it literally every single day.

I don't mind that it exists and that some people prefer it to large bezels... I just wish there was a way to say "claim my screen is -X pixels and show me the full menu" like before. Without both requiring one app to be full screen and that crazy scaling mode that makes everything fuzzy.

renewedrebecca1 day ago

That’s literally possible… there’s some criteria that will force the display into that mode (although I can’t remember off hand what it is)

Groxx1 day ago

Full screen app + tell it to shrink (afaik only available if it doesn't natively declare support for the notch).

And it achieves it by scaling the whole screen ever so slightly, ruining pixel offsets everywhere and making everything fuzzy, seemingly so it doesn't ever present a non-standard display ratio despite the notch being very non-standard already, and despite full screen apps already working on external monitors that can have any ratio.

It's not an option anywhere else. Nor would I want that fuzzy mess anyway. It's such an insane design.

kalleboo20 hours ago
andrei_says_1 day ago

The notch gives me a larger screen combined with a camera and a smaller body. I personally value these and the decision to use that real estate for the hardware camera is imo quite creative.

I paid a few dollars for the bartender app which solves for the hidden apps. Haven’t thought about it since.

ActorNightly1 day ago

>but the notch has to be the dumbest design decision in the history of laptops

The virtual escape key on the touch bar, all while Apple was pushing their laptops as developer friendly, is magnitudes worse

bri3k1 day ago

You can change the resolution in System Settings->Displays, make it so the entire display is below the notch.

flohofwoe1 day ago

The thing is, I really like the thin bezel, but why has the notch to be so massively big? The camera hole looks like it's just about 3..4 millimeters in diameter.

PS: also looking around, there seem to be plenty of laptops with thin display bezel and no notch, if others can do it, why not Apple?

Wowfunhappy1 day ago

> PS: also looking around, there seem to be plenty of laptops with thin display bezel and no notch, if others can do it, why not Apple?

Because those laptops have worse webcams.

You don't have to agree with the tradeoff Apple made, in fact I don't, but I think the reasoning is pretty clear.

jwells891 day ago

Most of those other laptops have asymmetric bezels, which Apple was probably trying to avoid. They wanted thin bezels on all edges.

The extra room in the notch is likely there in case they want to change webcam parts to something larger, add Face ID, etc so they don’t also have to change the display panel and can continue to use existing stock.

Apple seems to like to try to avoid changing parts/tooling wherever possible and will go as far as to awkwardly keep using a chassis until stock of that part has been exhausted if necessary (see the 13” M1 Touch Bar MBP).

nottorp1 day ago

> Most of those other laptops have asymmetric bezels, which Apple was probably trying to avoid. They wanted thin bezels on all edges.

Yeah, I'm thinking firing Johnny Ive wasn't enough.

Waterluvian1 day ago

There’s like four different things in the notch. Not just a camera. Plus some recessed screw holes to mount it.

The notch feels weird, but when I try to redesign it without sacrificing features, I can’t come up with a better option. …Not that I’m a brilliant designer by any means.

pimanrules1 day ago
tambourine_man1 day ago

It is extremely hidden, but here's how you access all available resolutions, including the ones which work below the notch:

dur-randir1 day ago

>but the notch has to be the dumbest design decision in the history of laptops

No, it had been the touch bar. There're multiply solutions for the notch, none had been imagined for that abomination.

mjcohen23 hours ago

I got the original 13" M1 MPB and put some additional "buttons" on the touch bar. Sort of miss it on my 16" M1 MBP.

swozey1 day ago

I've had an m1 max 14" since the week they first released 2-3 years ago and I actually COMPLETELY forgot there was a notch until I read this post.

I can't think of like, one time when it was an issue but I also have probably used TopNotch since then.

Fnoord1 day ago

I own a M1 MBP.

What you wrote about notch isn't a fact but a (controversial) opinion. Some people feel very strongly about it in a negative way, but many don't care.

Personally, I don't care much about notches, and if you can put the pixels very dark/black (ie. OLED) I don't think you should care either. With Settings -> Accessibility -> Reduce Transparency you can make the menubar very dark. But to be fair, miniLED isn't OLED.

I am using Bartender to hide items in menubar. I did so before notch existed. Without it, I wouldn't be able to fit my menubar (with or without notch).

bombcar1 day ago

I prefer to think of it as two large full-color notches going upwards as compared to a small black notch coming down.

Too bad they didn't increase the resolution of the display slightly for that.

selectodude1 day ago

They absolutely did though. The notched MacBooks are 15.5:10 instead of 16:10.

bombcar24 hours ago
anais91 day ago

Completely agree - I made to help mask it visually when it came out expecting Apple to quickly obviate via their own design updates and yet years later we're still having this conversation.

My tinfoil hat take is that the true primary purpose of the notch is to drive upgrade purchases at some point in the future whenever serious technical advancements are waning.

__jonas22 hours ago

Hm I don’t have one of those notch MacBooks but it kind of seems like a great idea to me if my understanding of how it works is correct.

I usually use my apps in fullscreen, which hides the menu bar, this has the very annoying side effect that moving the cursor to the top of the screen (where a lot of apps have buttons) will make the menu bar drop down and cover the buttons.

I am assuming a fullscreen app will not extend under the notch, so with this notch thing I imagine I could always have the menu bar visible on fullscreen apps without sacrificing screen real estate and without the annoying animation triggering when I want to interact with the upper part of the app. Can someone confirm it really works like this? I feel like it would be a huge improvement.

eastbound22 hours ago

If that were true, it would be losing a centimeter off the too of the screen, wouldn’t it?

nicoburns21 hours ago

You do lose a centimeter off the top of the screen, but luckily they added a centimeter to the screen (compared to the previous model) when they built it. So it's pretty strictly a win.

The area of the screen below the notch is 16:10 resolution. The bar at the top is "extra".

__jonas22 hours ago

Would it? I wouldn't consider the bezel/notch area part of the screen, since I assume an app in fullscreen mode doesn't extend into that area anyways because how would they deal with UI elements that fall into the top center?

I mean maybe it's a bit of mental gymnastics, of course it's technically screen space taken away, but I am guessing the top bezel also becomes thinner so it seems like a great use of space to me, feels like it would allow me to justify always having the menu bar visible without feeling like it being there is wasting my space (because nothing else can be there). And having the menu bar always visible + avoiding this animation is something I would love.

amanzi1 day ago

You're right about the dumb design decision. There's no good technical reason that it's so massive compared to the single tiny webcam. The only way it would have made any sense was if it also contained the FaceID array of cameras too. This was just Apple going all-in on the notch that was part of the "iconic" iPhone design. Now that the iPhone notch is on the way out, I expect they'll introduce the dynamic island to the MBP in a future update.

bloopernova1 day ago

I use my mac docked and closed, so I hardly ever see the notch.

However I think Apple should be able to use some fancy engineering to keep the camera as hidden as possible in the edge of the screen surround. Or use multiple fibre optic points embedded in the screen along with those fancy neural processors to create an eye-to-eye webcam.

naikrovek21 hours ago

You can set screen resolutions which bring down the top of the screen to the bottom of the notch and leave everything else alone. You lose 64(?) pixels of vertical screen but the notch goes away.

apple4ever23 hours ago

> the notch has to be the dumbest design decision in the history of laptops

Agreed. It's such a bad bad bad design. No reason to hide the camera. Just make the bezel taller. Its fine.

It's just as bad as the notch/pill on the iPhone. Drives me crazy everytime I look at it.

Can't wait til we move to a notch free world.

Sohcahtoa8222 hours ago

> Can't wait til we move to a notch free world.

Never gonna happen. Apple sales continue to grow despite the notch, so obviously users LOVE the notch.

The notch is here until we can put a camera and any other sensors inside the screen without losing pixels.

apple4ever3 hours ago

I understand its Apple's current policy, but you did contradict yourself by saying never gonna happen and it's only here until we can put sensors inside the screen.

And I doubt users LOVE the notch. They tolerate the notch at best, and if you gave them a non-notch device, they'd instantly see the would hate the notch.

Sohcahtoa8236 minutes ago

> And I doubt users LOVE the notch.

The comment was supposed to be rather tongue-in-cheek.

I'm poking fun at how companies will make a change to a product, people still buy the product, and the company then assumes that people must like the change.

Fact is, people will buy the latest iPhone no matter what. They make unpopular changes and people buy them anyways.

porphyra1 day ago

I don't think the notch is inherently dumb.

It's a great use of the space in the macOS menu bar that is otherwise usually wasted.

Moreover, having a good webcam is very important to a lot of Macbook users who would not be able to tolerate grainier cameras or the nostril-peering bottom positioning on some XPS laptops.

It is, however, super annoying that various implementation bugs have not been fixed after years.

lcnmrn1 day ago

I sold a M2 MBA and bought a M1 MBA because of the notch.

ClassyJacket20 hours ago

I could deal with a hole punch camera like on Android phones, or a Dynamic Island or something, but why on Earth does it need to be so big? The camera itself is tiny, and it's far bigger than the Dynamic Island despite containing only a camera, and not a depth sensor too. We get that gigantic black notch and don't even get FaceID.

Is it something to do with the lid being thinner than an iPhone so the entire camera assembly needs a cutout rather than just the lens? That's the only reason I can think of.

Personally, I'd rather even have a physical notch extending out from the edge of the screen, like a tab in the middle, than the current black cutout.

Eric_WVGG1 day ago

> While it offers many features, I've refused to pay for a solution to Apple's poor design decision.

The phrasing of this kind of gets under my skin.

Like, it's fine to call it "refusing to pay" if it's some kind of Apple tax. Bartender is great little indie app, a real quality-of-life enhancement. I like to reward creative developers who come up with solutions for weird edge-case users like us.

jeroenhd1 day ago

I can understand the sentiment. It's not necessarily something against independent developers, it's anger about a problem that shouldn't happen in the first place to a device this expensive.

Windows had a similar problem with its notifications tray growing to unreasonable size, and they fixed that back in Windows Vista, after applying some auto-hiding algorithm in versions before that. Apple missing this problem or not being able to come up with a solution is simply not believable, this has to be the result of them simply not caring or refusing to address the issue for stylistic reasons.

I'm sure Bartender is great software (even without the notch problem, from what I can tell!) but Apple is the one forcing their users to pay extra for their stupid design decisions. $16 to fix a problem other operating systems fixed almost twenty years ago is a steep price to pay when you're expecting a quality laptop.

sofixa1 day ago

> I can understand the sentiment. It's not necessarily something against independent developers, it's anger about a problem that shouldn't happen in the first place to a device this expensive.

Especially considering how much people harp on about Apple's amazing UX and quality and how that makes the absurd prices worth it. The notch problem, as well as other UX bugs (like scroll direction having two separate toggles in mouse/touchpad settings, that toggle each other) really don't look all that polished to me.

esperkin3910 hours ago

Apple sells good hardware that's buoyed by a loud marketing department that covers its often pathetic software.

Mac users touting a bunch of third-party apps as solutions to obvious os problems (bartender, magnet, amphetamine, etc.) is tacit admission of that fact.

samatman2 hours ago

I would argue that in general, third-party apps to customize macOS are an expected part of a healthy ecosystem. I use Karabiner for keyboard customization, Moom for window management, Hidden Bar to hide the menu icons I use infrequently, and that's not a complete list. I don't think any of those need to be part of the core OS, Moom in particular is one of several ways to manage windows, it's the one I prefer but it being built-in to the OS wouldn't help me, or people who like it better some other way.

I don't consider the menu bar notch bug to be part of that general case, though. That's just a long standing bug and it's obnoxious.

HumblyTossed1 day ago

> I can understand the sentiment. It's not necessarily something against independent developers, it's anger about a problem that shouldn't happen in the first place to a device this expensive.

This. Apple cultivates this myth that they only release polished devices/software. When they fail to do even the littlest things like work with a design decision they made, people, rightfully, get frustrated.

lex-lightning1 day ago

I agree. I love my iPhone and my iPad. But that touch bar era on the Mac was rough.

cqqxo4zV46cp1 day ago

Polished doesn’t mean perfect. This sounds like you’ve got an axe to grind and nothing more.

HumblyTossed1 day ago

Sounds like you're just a wee sensitive. No axe, just telling like it is.

hobs1 day ago

How many trillions of dollars does Apple need before we can complain about menu bar items?

onnimonni1 day ago

Thanks @jeroenhd for giving me the benefit of doubt and explaining it even better than I could! My intention was definitely not to bash bartender and I need to select my words more carefully in the future.

It was just the only solution I knew before yesterday for a such a simple stupid design flaw from Apple. I have nothing against Bartender or its developers. I just wish I wouldn't need to install 3rd party software to fix Apple's issues.

haswell1 day ago

There was a time when I would have agreed pretty whole-heartedly with you and dismissed this as a "simple stupid design flaw". I've been writing production code for over 20 years, and the existence of solutions like Bartender is evidence that the problem can't be that hard, right?

And then I became a product manager for a large suite of capabilities for which large customers would spend millions/year, and my mind changed pretty significantly. Every release, I was forced to choose the 10-15 things that we could reasonably accomplish from a list of hundreds. Many dozens of the things that we didn't do could be classified as "simple stupid design flaws".

There was one of these flaws in particular that I was determined to fix when I took the role. "This makes us look stupid" I thought. It had been a gap in the product for years, and I always marveled at the fact that no one had fixed it. But the reality was, the product was architected to be extensible, and to allow 3rd party developers to build their own solutions. And in this case, there were numerous solutions in the community that solved the problem quite well. When faced with the reality of a mile-long backlog, and many of those items having no solution at all, and no affordance for developers to solve them, the already-solved design flaw always fell below the cut line for each release, despite my best efforts to prioritize it. And I begrudgingly had to acknowledge that this was the right choice at the time.

I have a slightly different view on these types of issues now. It's easy to call this a design flaw, but on the flip side, Apple has clearly made it possible for the community to solve this issue. I'm 100% positive someone at Apple is trying their hardest to get this thing fixed, but most likely keeps getting thwarted by more critical issues, and the realities of managing a large and complex platform/ecosystem.

"Apple has all the money; they should just scale up the dev team". And if they did, those new devs would be assigned to the next 10-15 items on that mile-long list that are still more important than a 1st party solution to a solved problem.

It does show the cracks in Apple's marketing, but it's also far more understandable and reasonable than I once would have believed.

(I don't/didn't work for Apple).

tzs1 day ago

It still makes no sense to me because I don't see how it is relevant that it is fixing what you see as a design flaw from Apple.

If the gutters on one side of my house frequently get clogged up with needles because the builder planted some pine and fir trees close to the house (but not so close as to be against any codes or regulations), I'm not going to just live with it because it is the builder's fault and so I'm not going to spend money to install gutter guards or have the trees removed.

I think it is a design flaw in many car mirror systems that when a car that is overtaking you gets close enough to no longer be visible in the center mirror it isn't yet visible in the side mirror. It is never occurred to me to just live with it because fixing it means spending money to fix the car's design flaw.

I fix this by buying a cheap little stick on convex mirror and sticking it on the side mirror. Then there is overlap between what I can see in the center mirror and what I can see in the side mirror, and I can see overtaking cars at all times. (Or bicyclists and motorcyclists that are lane splitting).

Nullabillity1 day ago

> I'm not going to just live with it because it is the builder's fault and so I'm not going to spend money to install gutter guards or have the trees removed.

No, you'd complain to the builder until they fix their fuckup.

onnimonni1 day ago

You're right and anyone can fix this same issue with Bartender too. You can also fix this issue by using your MacBook solely with external monitor :D

My point was just to raise awareness that there's a free alternative which doesn't require any 3rd party apps.

jwells891 day ago

I think Apple hasn’t followed Microsoft on status item (that the name of menubar icons on macOS) management is simply because they didn’t intend for the API to be used even a fourth as much as it is.

In older releases (back when in it was still known as OS X), persistent status items weren’t something devs could do without dipping into hacks. That part of the menubar was intended solely for system stuff, e.g. the display and sound menus.

There were always APIs for transient status items, but those were intended for use by “normal” apps with a dock icon that you have open only temporarily to accomplish some tasks (which means these status items wouldn’t accumulate). Status items added this way couldn’t even be rearranged like the system ones.

So in short, there’s no management because they’re designing for the user who has a couple of status items, not 5, 10, or 15+.

cpuguy831 day ago

This is not the same thing as Windows. MacOS users choose to have those things in the menu bar.

On Windows the notification bar was a dumping ground that you couldn't prevent apps from using.

clawoo1 day ago

> While it offers many features, I've refused to pay for a solution to Apple's poor design decision.

Well then you're in luck, because there's a free app called Hidden Bar[1] on the Mac App Store that allows you to hide icons which you're not interested in.

I am not affiliated with the author(s?), I am just a happy user and I would probably be using it even if the Macbook didn't have a notch.


samatman2 hours ago

This is only of limited help. If I didn't want a program to have a menu icon, I wouldn't be running that program, or would have configured it to not have an icon. Hidden Bar's entire purpose is to hide the infrequently needed icons, conversely, it needs to expose them when I un-hide icons.

If there are too many, some end up under the notch, even though there's room on the other side of it for them in most cases. That's just Apple shipping a bug and not fixing it.

onnimonni1 day ago

> Well then you're in luck, because there's a free app called Hidden Bar[1] on the Mac App Store that allows you to hide icons which you're not interested in.

Author here: I did try Hidden Bar yesterday before finding this workaround and I uninstalled it today. I want to see all of the 16 apps that I have. I don't want to hide any of them. By changing the whitespace mentioned in the blog post I now can see all of them.

bitcurious1 day ago

Hidden bar has the added benefit of not asking to record your screen, an insane thing to consent to for this very basic bit of functionality.

thesuitonym1 day ago

Still sort of insane that you need extra apps to fix an issue that Microsoft figured out decades ago. The GP says it was in Windows Vista, but I'm pretty sure even Windows 98 had it. I know XP did.

How has Apple not addressed this?

evilduck1 day ago

Weirder still is that they did, they have an entire expanding control panel pane with redundant pop out controls for stuff that was previously in the menu bar, they just failed to universally integrate it with the system so that third parties could use it.

seba_dos11 day ago

98 did not, XP was the first one. So, this was addressed there merely 23 years ago, give them some slack! ;)

lxgr1 day ago

Besides the freeware/shareware issue, I'd like to limit the number of various little tools running on my computer, often with effectively full access to my data (since software that provides that type of quality-of-life improvements for core OS functionality is often hard/impossible to sandbox).

I can't even use most of these on my work Mac for the same reason (it's outright not allowed/possible by policy).

daviddever23box1 day ago

It is perfectly acceptable to provide a zero-cost, command-line focused solution to a single, specific user-interface constraint, while, at the same time, providing additional parametric insight to macOS user preferences.

sunshowers21 hours ago

More than the cost, it's the fact that it's yet another app with its own updater, attack surface, etc that's a bother. (I don't know if this app has an App Store version available -- but in general, even if they are, they're often worse than the non-App Store versions.)

OJFord1 day ago

No, that's clearly not 'I should not have to pay Bartender for its work'; it's 'I should not have to find a third-party who can sell me a fix'.

risho1 day ago

especially considering that apple is full of poor design decisions that people have already been using third party software to compensate for. for example a lack of any form of reasonable window management that the many people use stuff like magnet or rectangle to compensate for. or the fact that mouse scroll direction and trackpad scroll direction are linked. or the fact that you can't control volume on a per app basis.

pushedx1 day ago

30% or more of the cost goes directly to Apple, so there are some perverse incentives at play with such unofficial fixes.

jlokier5 hours ago

The App Store fee is down to 15% these days*, or zero if you buy Bartender from their own website.

* For entities with < $1M annual revenue.

hannes01 day ago

You can purchase directly on their website or via Setapp. So, I would count this as an argument.

cqqxo4zV46cp1 day ago

I assure you that whatever money Apple would make from this wouldn’t make a dent in even some lower-level Apple pleb’s P&L.

This sort of unbound cynicism isn’t intelligent or useful. It shouldn’t be conflated with being usefully or interestingly critical.

lynndotpy1 day ago

It adds up when you need to pay $25 to get per-app volume control, $20 to fix to the menu bar, $10 to get window management, etc, per seat.

I don't think it's cynical to point out the perverse incentive. I think it's a useful point for discussion, especially given anyone familiar with any of the other major desktop environments (Windows, GNOME, KDE, etc.) might be surprised to learn that there's a modern desktop environment lacking these amenities.

delfinom1 day ago

Handling the app icons properly due to the notch IS something that Apple should have done. It's pure idgaf incompetence on Apple's part. Their software quality has been declining the past few years in respects to macOS.

kalleboo19 hours ago

> Their software quality has been declining the past few years in respects to macOS

Was there a previous version of MacOS where this problem was solved?

I remember literally running into this same problem on Macintosh System 7 when running MS Office apps that had too long menus for a PowerBook screen, there was a third party app back then as well to solve it (by replacing the "File", "Edit", etc menu names with icons to make them shorter)

aqme281 day ago

“Refusing to pay for…Apple’s design decisions” makes no sense when you just spent $2000 on an Apple laptop, in order to not pay an indie dev $16

wtetzner1 day ago

I think the point is that you shouldn't need to spend anything extra after spending $2,000 on an Apple laptop for something Apple should have already addressed.

aeturnum1 day ago

> * I discovered a free, native macOS solution that doesn't require installing Bartender or any other additional apps.*

> You can adjust the values from 0 to 6 to accommodate even more icons. Personally, I found 6 to be a good fit.

It's ultimately a really petty point - but this is not a fix. This increases the number of apps on the top bar before the problem occurs. Bartender (and hidden[1] - which I discovered in this thread) fix the problem. Calling a technique that delays the problem "a solution" after sneering at a project that actually is a solution just rubs me the wrong way.

Edit: Though I'll leave my rude comment in its original form, it's also important to note that OP added a note clarifying this may not fix the problem for everyone in what I thought was a mature reaction to a petty complaint.


onnimonni1 day ago

You're correct that there are certain scenarios that won't be addressed by this. Would it be more fair to say to write that this will only postpone the issue?

To offer a counterexample, I've been using my machine for slightly over a year now, and the number of applications running in the menu bar have stabilized to 16 apps. So this undeniably resolves the issue on my machine and for my usage.

EDIT: I think this was a great point and I added a notice section to the blog post so that everyone using this hack will be well informed to make best decisions. Thanks for the feedback!

aeturnum1 day ago

I appreciate you taking my very petty feedback! I totally agree that it's a clever change that will allow most people to avoid the problem.

onnimonni1 day ago

I really appreciate your original comment and it was straight to the point. It's probably good to still reflect about that part since other users might feel offended. Thanks also for the EDIT part too. It makes me feel that HN users won't tolerate bullshit but will nonetheless give great feedback :)

Your comment original comment lead me to ask if HN admins could rephrase the blog article from: "Native macOS fix for applications hiding under the MacBook Pro notch" -> "Built-in MacOS workaround for applications hiding under the MacBook Pro notch"

Which is more accurately representing the contents of the article. I also changed the title in my own blog post to this already.

rollcat1 day ago

I endorse Hidden Bar, it's just such a simple and obvious solution.

I use my Mac with a 43" screen at 4k/1x, so the space in the menu bar has never been a real problem... It's the sheer number of icons and the resulting clutter, especially as they're all tiny, monochromatic, and therefore hard to tell apart.

IMHO, 80% of apps that put icons on the menu bar, shouldn't, but the system doesn't really give them any better place. Lunar (<3) should just hook into the builtin system brightness control; Velja (<3) or Shortcat (<3) should've been panes in System Settings; and so on. And then there's apps that put icons in both the Dock and the menu bar - just why...

yardie1 day ago

Longterm Mac OS users have used tools like Onyx[0] to configure hidden system and finder settings. It's probably one of my first downloads after an OS upgrade.


therealmocker1 day ago

Could you share some examples of settings you customize with this tool? The description on the website seems pretty fairly broad.

suction1 day ago


onnimonni1 day ago

I learned yesterday about this setting which can be change the default whitespace in MacOS menu bar to get access to apps which would otherwise be hidden under the notch. Many of my colleagues told me they were happy so I thought it might be useful for wider audience as well.

I know that the HN guidelines recommend linking to source directly but I think short blog post with images is easier to understand and I hope this is okay :)

tw041 day ago

Bartender is an app that will let you hide items/hide items in a submenu. I have no affiliation, and it just works.

I’m guessing there’s something similar open source but I’ve yet to stumble across one that works as well.

tanepiper1 day ago

$20 for what should have been the workaround from Apple for their design decision. I mean really, too many icons - have a widget to display the rest on click - the number of times I have to kill Alfred to get to Docker Desktop is more than I can count on one hand.

aeturnum1 day ago

I think it's worth emphasizing that, while Bartender does solve this egregious oversight from Apple - it also makes a number of enhancements to the top bar that are hard to write off as "bad Apple design". Even if the notch has never bothered you it may be worth your money.

DavideNL1 day ago

Yea, Bartender does its job really well… simple and stable. Would also recommend.

rsanek1 day ago

This is mentioned in the third sentence of the article.

iAkashPaul1 day ago


neodymiumphish1 day ago

When I open the hidden bar, they still expand "behind" the notch. What am I doing wrong?

evilduck1 day ago

Nothing. HiddenBar will declutter your menu bar by hiding things but it doesn’t help with having so many menu bar items that they’re obscured by the notch like Bartender does.

neodymiumphish1 day ago

Damn, ok. Thanks for the clarification.

iAkashPaul16 hours ago

Use this whitespace reducing config with HiddenBar for a compact menu bar icon set

Tagbert1 day ago

This is a “problem” that existed before the notch was born and has been fixed with Bartender (and clones) for several years now. Anyone with lots of app icons would run into situations where the icons would not all fit on the menu bar. Bartender gave us control and helped reduce the clutter.

The problem didn’t start with the notch, it just made it more likely that someone would run into it.

miles1 day ago

Here is the apparent origin post of this undocumented preference:

Hidden preference to alter the menubar spacing

The author describes tracing Bartender's activity to hunt down the method.

And this blog post mentions higher values than 6 (recommending 12 for NSStatusItemSpacing and 8 for NSStatusItemSelectionPadding):

How to fix Mac menu bar icons hidden by the MacBook notch

icodestuff1 day ago

The notch is what it is: a compromise between webcam quality, branding, and thin bezels. But it’s hard to argue but that Apple’s software integration with it is mediocre at best. None of the extra space is usable except by anything but the awkwardly tall menu bar and the status items or menu extras it holds, and the system not being aware of the notch —sometimes— like letting status items pile up underneath, or being able to put the mouse pointer underneath it but not when a mouse button is held down (this behavior was removed in a late version of Ventura), or putting the picture-in-picture window partially underneath the menu bar (like it expects only a regular-sized menu bar to be there)… is symptomatic of a larger quality and integration problem at Apple, I think.

SteveAlexander1 day ago

You don't need to log out / in after trying this. You can instead restart the service that runs the menu bar.

killall -KILL SystemUIServer

onnimonni1 day ago

EDIT: I tried this out and at least it didn't work for me. The whitespace did change a bit after running your command but not as much as happens when I log out and log in.

croemer6 hours ago

Original source of this hack is:

I recommend upvoting (and favoriting) to make it more findable in the future (including my future self).

onnimonni6 hours ago

Author here: This link is also mentioned in the sources section of the article and I did personally upvote that answer too in Stack Exchange.

croemer6 hours ago

Thanks for discovering that answer, improving on it (with screenshots) and sharing it on your blog which made it pop up here! My comment isn't a slight at all, it's just much easier (for me at least) to rediscover useful StackOverflow answers (by favoriting them) than to find a blog post.

tambourine_man1 day ago

Wow, thank you.

Someday Apple will expose the gazillion defaults write options in a “Pro” tab in System Settings. One can dream.

lbourdages1 day ago

Back in the day there was a "secrets" third party preference pane you could install. It would let you toggle a bunch of options like this.

62746720 hours ago

Hey, I love to bash appl like anybody else, and this notch issue is an equivalent dumb outcome as the magic mouse charging like a dead cockroach or the "you're holding the phone wrong". But my main concern is how EVERY Mac app nowadays feels the need to leave an icon on the "tray" leading to this problem in the first place. Notch or no notch, this pattern just doesn't scale. Am I the only one installing apps to hide the trays icons? On windows this hiding pattern come as default for years.

Saris1 day ago

How come apple doesn't just 'jump' over the notch and keep displaying icons on the left side like android does?

nerdjon1 day ago

The large amount of white place has been driving me insane for a while, glad to see there is a fix I will need to check this out later.

But I don't understand why Apple did not take a page out of Windows's taskbar. If there are too many make a dropdown. They are already easily draggable and removable so concern about bloat isn't really a concern. If I have them there I want them there and accessible.

jonhohle1 day ago

As the author of a current and many past Menu Extras, holy crap! Why would anyone have so many menu bar apps!

lemming1 day ago

I find that I only have a couple, but I have a lot of system services in the menu bar. I currently have (apart from time/date): siri, control centre, the user switcher, wifi, battery, bluetooth, music, volume, spotlight, time machine and keyboard layout. Some of those show up by default, and some I had to turn on (bluetooth, keyboard layout). But that's all just default system stuff. I have only 3 custom apps, and the next one will go behind the notch by the look of it.

eitally1 day ago

I don't have that many, but they can definitely add up. On my work machine, where we have a need to provision multiple VPN options for technical staff working on client projects, I have menu bar icons for 3 VPNs, not to mention SentinelOne, Cylance, and CarbonBlack... and Google Drive Sync, and then a few others for software I've installed.

onnimonni1 day ago

Author here: @dang other users here helped me to understand that the title is bit misleading. I was just eager to share about this and possibly help others with this knowledge without thinking about this correctly.

I already renamed the article on my end and redirected it to a new url:

Can you change the url and rename the submission title to: "Built-in MacOS workaround for applications hiding under the MacBook Pro notch"

Thanks a lot and sorry for the trouble!

iAkashPaul1 day ago

HiddenBar is a FOSS alternative to Bartender, combined with reduced whitespace it'll be quite nice!

xwowsersx1 day ago

This drives me nuts. I resort to quitting applications until I've removed enough that the app I'm looking for is visible again. I did use bartender for a while. I can't remember why I stopped using it.

onnimonni1 day ago

Author here: Sounds very familiar. I used this exact same "Poor Man's process" up until yesterday :D

actinium2261 day ago

I was hoping this article would show how you could make fullscreen apps actually fullscreen. It bothers me that the top of the app sits below the notch - there are some apps where there's nothing in the top middle that the notch would cover, and the apps would benefit from a little bit of extra real estate.

Oh well, we wait and hope someone figures it out.

neither_color1 day ago

I found an alternative solution: the application Easyres, a little app that lets you change resolutions from the menu bar, has an alternative resolution that's about 30-40px shorter than the standard resolution. This gives you back the whole menu bar as it sits below the notch. It's a much cleaner look. The notch completely disappears and you forget it ever existed.

swozey1 day ago

I use bartender and try to keep the right side of my menu pretty light on taskbar stuff. I think I do lose a few things on my 14" but anything critical I want in 1 click is on the far right and visible.

bloblaw1 day ago

The open-source Hidden Bar is my current solution to this problem, but I think I prefer this native fix.

  brew install --cask hiddenbar
stewx1 day ago

The free app Dozer gives you the ability to move icons into a collapsible section, which also solves this problem from a different angle.

avnigo1 day ago

It doesn't look like it solves the problem.

dorianmariefr1 day ago

You can kill "Core" processes if you don't want to log out/log in

onnimonni1 day ago

Author here: Can you test this and share a working one-liner? I will happy to add it into the blog post.

I tried few commands like this but they didn't work consistently for me.

luuurker1 day ago

I've been using Bartender since before the notch because often the space isn't enough.

This is something macOS needs to handle better. The notch itself only removed some space, but the problem was already there.

LaSombra1 day ago

All this added padding from the last few releases forces me to believe this is in preparation for a port to iPad or AVP.

EDIT: The hardware is there, it's just a matter of getting the right UX in place.

notorandit1 day ago

The real point for me is: where were all Apple Egineers when the decision ws taken to add (or actually remove) that notch to the display? Have then been called in at all?

I can hardly think that the decision came from the engineers: that would not solve any technical problem or add any extra technical feature. Just whoes.

The decision likely came from the marketing.

Fancy and stylish decisions (the nothces) on engineered stuff (the Mac) should require the former to beg the latter for a go/no go badge.

I think you can put a camera in any of the 4 corners in a bezel, you can put it (back) in the middle of the upper bezel, maybe in the middle of the lower bezel.

Or ask you Apple fans to use their iPhone as a camera.

Look at where they put cameras in a Tesla. Not where it is nice, but where it is effective under all the points of vieew.

To me the notch is totally useless also in my phone as it doesn't add anything. It rather makes some of my screen real estate unavailable. Just to get a slimmer bezel which is not a useful feature.

I would rather sacrify some of the bezel to get back my perfectly rectagular display without any rounded corners (another pesky marketing-driven decision) or nothces. Meh!

samatman2 hours ago

The notch is not the problem. It's free real estate, as the meme says. Older models, and most other laptops which ship a webcam (frankly essential in this day and age), just have dead space the size of the webcam. I'd much rather have a notch and more screen, Apple did the right thing here.

The problem is shipping the notch and not making the menu bar icon layout aware of its existence. That's just lazy, and it's appalling they haven't fixed it yet.

tiltowait1 day ago

While I doubt anyone at Apple wants to keep the notch forever, I imagine the engineers justified the notch as adding screen real estate, and rightly so. The display's size ratio is 1728:1117, which is slightly taller than the 16:10 of the older displays—taller by exactly the size of the notch, in fact. So while it's a bit unsightly, it does serve the functional purpose of allowing them to raise the "ears" of the monitor about the size of the menu bar[1].

Prior to owning this Mac, I always set the menu bar to autohide, which wasn't the greatest UX but gave me some extra screen space. Now I can keep the same space and have the menu bar always visible. Seems like a win to me.

[1] Yes, they could have just made the top bezel bigger and had no notch, but that would have have meant having a smaller screen or a larger footprint for the laptop. I don't like the notch one bit, but I think they made the correct choice.

noqc1 day ago

>I think they made the correct choice.

Do you understand how much harder layout is when its not on a rectangle?

threeseed1 day ago

> Just to get a slimmer bezel which is not a useful feature

I would much rather have more screen real estate.

And if you need to have a perfectly rectangular display you can just make your apps full screen.

beretguy1 day ago

People need to vote with their wallets and stop buying MacBooks with a notch instead of complaining.

samatman2 hours ago

Avoiding excellent hardware because of a software bug is pretty short-term thinking. I want the notch. I also want the OS to behave correctly, given the notch. That's not too much to ask, and no, it's not worth ragequitting the entire ecosystem over. YMMV on that one.

stewx1 day ago

IMO, complaining is probably a more effective way to get the message to Apple in this case than buying a different computer.

evilduck1 day ago

To buy a Windows laptop with a half dozen worse problems instead? Hard pass, I’ll take an even bigger notch instead please.

klaushardt1 day ago

I just dump my default changes here. Maybe somebody finds something usefull for themself. Added the command from this thread too. :) Edit: Looks like i already did edit this before since mine was already at 8 and 12. Added the original source like its linked above.

# Defaults and other Stuff

    sudo scutil --set HostName nix
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false
    defaults write "autohide-delay" -float "0" && killall Dock
    defaults write "autohide-time-modifier" -float "0.3" && killall Dock
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowScrollBars -string "Always"; killall Finder
    defaults write "disable-shadow" -bool "true"
    defaults write "tilesize" -int "38" && killall Dock
    defaults write "mineffect" -string "scale" && killall Dock
    defaults write "ShowExternalHardDrivesOnDesktop" -bool "false" && killall Finder
    defaults write "ShowRemovableMediaOnDesktop" -bool "false" && killall Finder
    defaults write "mru-spaces" -bool "false" && killall Dock
    defaults write "DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup" -bool "true"
    defaults write "enable-spring-load-actions-on-all-items" -bool "true" && killall Dock
    defaults write "userWantsPlaybackNotifications" -bool "false" && killall Music
    defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain NSStatusItemSelectionPadding -int 8
    defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain NSStatusItemSpacing -int 12

    defaults write -g MetalForceHudEnabled -bool YES
    /bin/launchctl setenv MTL_HUD_ENABLED 1
jwr1 day ago

I don't mind the notch (I understand the reason it's there and it's a compromise), but it boggles my mind that Apple decided to just place the icons under the notch, where they aren't visible.

This is a clear example of lack of dogfooding: clearly Apple executives do not use many apps, or they would have been infuriated at the stupid problem.

samatman2 hours ago

Apple no longer lives in fear of Steve Jobs. This is just the latest brain-dead problem which would have obviously been fixed before it shipped in the face of Steve's cold fury.

nottorp1 day ago

Apple executives don't have time to use computers :)

josephd791 day ago

I just use TopNotch.

speedgoose1 day ago

It's not doing what you think it does.

kjkjadksj1 day ago

Broken in Sonoma

luuurker1 day ago

Top Notch is working well here with 14.3.1.

This app only makes the menu bar black though, so it's not really a fix for what the article complains about.

kjkjadksj8 hours ago

I can’t get it to work with dynamic wallpapers. It defaults to the generic sonoma hills wallpaper.

Erratic65761 day ago

There’s a FOSS alternative to bartender

Sohcahtoa8222 hours ago

Why would you drop a comment like this without saying what it is?

Erratic657611 hours ago

Sorry I meant to look it up on but I got distracted because it would have taken me 3 seconds on my laptop. Damn mobile phones

Hiddenbar. It might not be as shiny as bartender but it gets the job done

euroderf1 day ago

Do tell

DarthNebo1 day ago


Erratic657611 hours ago

Yessir, Thank you very much

Simulacra1 day ago

I find the notch the be an utterly horrible design choice. Like the iPhone notch, it seems like a major step back in aesthetic. I found both too distracting for comfort.

lioeters1 day ago

I agree, Steve Jobs would have never accepted such a design compromise.