How to hide Mac menu bar icons (Free!)

I recently made the switch to macOS from Windows and one of the things I miss is being able to hide the menu bar icons (Windows equivalent is the task tray). There are a few reasons why you may want to hide the menu bar icons on your Mac, other than the menu bar can quickly get unwieldy, some icons are ugly, or you just don’t want to see the icon for an app running in the background.

Hidden Bar: A free app to hide Mac menu bar icons

The best free app I have found to hide Mac menu bar icons is called Hidden Bar. This is 100% free and requires no registration. It will start at login and auto-hide hidden icons after 10 seconds, but you can customize it. This is the only truly completely free way to hide menu icons on the Mac.

Hidden Bar

Hidden Bar is a better (in my testing) alternative to Vanilla.

Vanilla Pro

The next best choice to Hidden Bar I have found to do hide mac menu bar icons is Vanilla. This is what Vanilla looks like.

Vanilla macOS Hide Menu Bar Icons

The basic version of Vanilla is free. There is a Vanilla Pro version that lets you both auto-start on login and auto-hide the hidden icons. You really need to upgrade to the pro version of Vanilla to get the best results.

I have found some weird quirks (bugs) with Vanilla, in that you need to get your menu bar icons in the position you want them before you start hiding them. Also, some menu bar icons don’t show at all (either hidden or otherwise) unless you close and restart the Vanilla app. It seems to be a first-run issue, as it only occurs when an app adds a new menu bar icon. It also asks for a lot of permissions upfront, which Hidden Bar doesn’t require.


If you want a more sophisticated offering, you can try BarTender. It’s paid only but has a 4-week trial. The full version of BarTender gives the ability to schedule hidden icons. So it’s really only for advanced users.


That all said, why Apple doesn’t include any of these functions as a standard feature of macOS is beyond me. Apple should just buy one of these apps outright and integrate them into macOS.

I’m not affiliated with any of the apps, just sharing to help others. Hope this makes your life easier.


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