How You Can Access Your Favorite Apps Hidden by the Mac Notch

Key Takeaways:

  • There are manual and automated solutions to improve access to apps hidden by the MacBook Pro’s notch.
  • Bartender 5 can give you better access to hidden apps, particularly when you have a lot.

Understanding the Notch and Its Impact on App Accessibility

When Apple introduced the notch on the MacBook Pro, it certainly raised some eyebrows. As a productivity tool, your MacBook’s real estate is precious, and every pixel counts, especially for those of us who juggle multiple apps and tools simultaneously. The notch can obscure important menu bar items, creating a minor hurdle that feels like a major annoyance over time.

I remember my first encounter with the notch—it was during a critical presentation when I tried to click on my conferencing tool but couldn’t find it because it was hidden behind the notch! It took a moment to realize what was happening, and though it was a small hiccup, it highlighted the need for better menu bar management.

To address this, you can start by manually rearranging your menu bar items. macOS allows you to command-drag most system icons (like Wi-Fi, battery, and sound) to rearrange them on the bar. Placing frequently used apps closer to the center of the bar, away from the notch, ensures they are always visible and accessible.

Another quick fix is to set the menu bar to auto-hide in System Preferences under Dock & Menu Bar settings. This way, the bar only appears when you move your cursor to the top of the screen, effectively bypassing the notch when needed. While these are immediate solutions, they require manual intervention and constant tweaking as you open or close apps.

Alternative Methods to Access Hidden Apps

While manual tweaks can help, there are more streamlined ways to ensure your apps are always within easy reach, notch or no notch. Keyboard shortcuts, for instance, can be a game-changer. By setting up custom shortcuts via System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts, you can launch or switch to any app without needing to click on the menu bar at all.

For example, I’ve set up Command + Option + C to open my calendar and Command + Option + T for my task manager. This method not only saves time but also reduces dependency on the menu bar. Plus, for apps that you use less frequently but still want quick access to, consider adding them to the Dock or using a tool like Alfred or QuickSilverto launch apps with just a few keystrokes.

These tools go beyond simple keyboard commands, allowing you to perform complex queries and automate tasks, which is invaluable for technical users looking to optimize their workflows. Alfred, for instance, can be customized with workflows tailored to your specific needs, making it much more than just an app launcher.

Remember, integrating these tools into your daily routine takes some adjustment, but once you get the hang of it, they can significantly enhance your interaction with your Mac, making the notch nothing more than a minor design feature rather than a hindrance.

Streamlining Access with Bartender

For those looking for a more robust solution to manage menu bar chaos, Bartender 5 is a standout choice. It’s not just about hiding icons; Bartender allows you to organize, rearrange, and access your apps more intelligently.

With Bartender 5, you can set up configurations that automatically adjust which icons are visible based on your current task. For example, when I’m coding, I have Bartender show only my developer tools in the menu bar. For general use, it shifts to my most frequently used apps like email and web browsers.

Bartender’s ability to create custom profiles means that the notch no longer dictates which apps I can see and access instantly. It’s about reclaiming control of your workspace and tailoring it to fit your workflow perfectly, which, for any productivity-focused professional, is an absolute game-changer. Here’s an article from MacSales if you want to learn more.

As we’ve explored, there are multiple ways to mitigate the impact of the MacBook notch on app accessibility—from simple manual adjustments to leveraging powerful tools like Bartender. Each method offers its own benefits, and depending on your specific needs and workflow, you might find one more suitable than others. Experiment with these solutions, and don’t let the notch hold back your productivity. Embrace these tools and tips to create a truly efficient and personalized Mac workspace.