Popular Mac menu bar management utility Bartender was recently quietly sold to another company, a fact that only came to light after app monitoring service MacUpdater alerted users that updates to the app from version 5.0.52 could be potentially unsafe due to the lack of transparency surrounding the situation.

The original developer has since acknowledged the sale. However, the new Bartender owner is a largely unknown entity that has already hiked Bartender’s in-app purchases, and is alleged to have added code to the app that may be associated with collecting analytics data on users.

Given that Bartender requires extensive permissions to operate in macOS, including screen recording, the whole event has understandably left many users concerned about privacy. Fortunately, Bartender is not the only app of its kind. So unless Apple ever gets round to integrating better menu bar management into macOS, here are some alternative menu bar utilities that are worth considering.

  • Vanilla (Free) – Simple app that lets you hide menu bar icons. Just hold Command and drag icons between hidden and visible sections. Vanilla Pro ($10) adds keyboard shortcuts, a removed section, start at login, and an auto-hide option after 5 seconds.
  • Ice (Free) – Menu bar management tool that hides items, offers an always-hidden section, show on hover, show on click, show on scroll or swipe, automatic rehide, and app menu overlap correction. Also includes hotkeys, launch at login, and options to change menu bar appearance.
  • Hidden Bar (Free) – Lightweight tool that lets you drag a divider between icons in the menu bar to separate hidden and shown sections. Includes launch at login, auto-hide durations, show/hide global shortcut, and full menu bar mode.
  • iBar (Free) – This tool hides menu bar icons which can be revealed in a floating bar that extends below the notch on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
  • Barbee ($3.99) – Management tool with similar interface to Bartender. Includes sections for shown, hidden, and always hidden items, as well as extensive menu bar appearance settings. Also offers ability to quickly search your menu bar items in a Spotlight-style floating window.
  • OnlySwitch (Free) – More than just a menu bar management tool, OnlySwitch offers a broad range of customizable toggle switches designed to offer quick access to system and other settings, such as hide desktop icons, dark mode, hide MacBook notch, mute mic, and more.
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If you are a BetterTouchTool user, Andreas Hegenberg has a thorough tutorial on how the utility can be used to hide menu bar items. Know of a great Mac menu bar management tool that we haven’t highlighted? Let us know in the comments below and we might append it to this article.

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