I'm new to macOS and I really like the way you can assign a window to be it's own Desktop via full-screening. However, I have an issue with the default way the Menu bar works in full-screen.

I often move my cursor to the top of the screen to click on my tabs in my browsers and editors, and accidentally trigger the Menu bar obscuring my tabs. Other times I'd like the Menu bar to be available at a glance rather than having to trigger it by mousing up.

Is there some setting or application that will force the Menu bar to show at all times for full-screened windows?

It appears I'm not the first to have this issue, but the solutions in this post didn't work for me and based on the comment for the top answer it won't work for anyone.

If there is no way to do this can anyone give me a hint where I can get started writing an application to do this?

PS: Please don't suggest that I simply hold alt when clicking the fullscreen green button or anything else like just resize the window to fill the screen". This doesn't solve my issue because it strips away many of the advantages of fullscreening.

  • 1
    If you like the isolation of multiple desktops and being able to swipe between them etc, have you considered just adding the "maximised" version of the application to a new space/desktop? As "full screen" is "full screen" its not "full screen minus a bit" otherwise many people could get frustrated that full screen is not full screen :P - You say you lose advantages of fullscreening, maybe if you could elaborate on these advantages you want then would be easier suggest things – Owen Mar 13 '17 at 11:26
  • Can you elaborate what you mean by "the advantages of fullscreening" please? – n1000 May 3 '19 at 9:33

I've been annoyed by this, too, and the simple, yet very, very painful answer is to hold alt ⌥
and press the green title bar button (which should turn into a + when you hold option/alt)

enter image description here

If this doesn't make it cover the screen, you can finish the job by holding alt ⌥
and double-clicking a corner to resize the window to fill the screen.

If you make your dock hide by default, this essentially gives you a "fullscreen" program with the menu bar always shown.

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    This is a great solution. However it doesn't work in split screen mode. – dorien Jul 21 '17 at 2:27
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    @dorien yep. Another reason I'm disappointed. Apple can do better. – Supuhstar Jul 21 '17 at 2:33
  • @Supuhstar Indeed. Also making a maximized window a separate desktop seems overkill. You can't have windows on top then if you want to float them over it. – dorien Jul 21 '17 at 3:13
  • @dorien - what makes you think that? In fact it's the opposite - a fullscreen app will take up the whole Space, a maximised one can have other apps/windows over it, if desired. – Tetsujin Jul 21 '17 at 5:08
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    Still, quite annoying that there's only one way to maximize windows. – Aaron Franke Oct 22 '18 at 19:15

In addition to what others have said (using the ALT/OPTION + CLICK green maximize button), to designate a Desktop Space for one app, you can do a:

  • 3 (or 4) Finger Swipe Up to bring up the spaces menu at the top of the screen.

  • Bring your mouse over the top right and the (+) icon should expand and let you add a new space.

  • Drag that space in whichever order you desire (first, second, or last, etc.)

  • Now you can drag your desired app into that space, and (if it's not already...) you can maximize it with the usual keyboard shortcut trick.

It's worth noting that although ALT/OPTION + CLICK-ing the green maximize button does expand the window to full height, you probably want to combine it as SHIFT + ALT/OPTION + CLICK to expand to full width and height of your screen.

Add your own Desktop Space manually

Happy Spacing & Maximizing!

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  • Awesome! Thank you! – Daydah Jan 25 at 9:17

I use BetterTouchTool in two ways.

First, I defined an action that right clicking the maximize button will maximise windows rather than trigger fullscreen mode. Of course, you can set your own action or key combination instead or even override the green button entirely.

enter image description here

Second, I use Window Snapping, which basically imitates the functionality in Microsoft Windows. When you drag a window into a corner or to the top of the screen it will either enlarge it to an area of the screen or maximize it, respectively.

enter image description here

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  • Why the downvote? – n1000 May 3 '19 at 9:31
  • Your link doesn't work anymore. – Josh Correia Jul 16 '19 at 13:54
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    @JoshCorreia Thanks! Updated. – n1000 Jul 16 '19 at 14:03

I know this might not be what you actually want to hear, however...

Fullscreen/Menus is an either/or
You can have one or the other. That's the whole idea, like it or not.

The workaround is to learn the key commands.

Once you do, you'll wonder what the menus were ever for.

BTW, your two scenarios are mutually exclusive & simply require more accurate mousing.

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  • Good point, also, if you want help in learning the keyboard shortcuts you can use the excellent CheatSheet app: cheatsheetapp.com/CheatSheet – Brethil Nov 25 '14 at 20:24
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    "just learn all the shortcuts" is not viable. Nobody knows all the shortcuts for every program they use. – Slicedbread Nov 25 '14 at 20:29
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    of course not - but you learn the ones for the apps you use most frequently, or dial in your own. Alternatively, don't use fullscreen til you have learned them, or for apps you don't use enough to ever be bothered learning. Long & short is, mousing to & from item to menu & back is inefficient. – Tetsujin Nov 25 '14 at 20:36
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    Mac's window behaviour leaves much to be desired compared to KDE's. To me it was standard behaviour to maximize a window without it forming a second desktop, just remove the clutter of other windows around it. Then have whatever side windows you are working on pinned on top of the fullscreen, with all menu bars intact. Hope they catch up on this. – dorien Jul 21 '17 at 2:29
  • This isn't just about keyboard shortcuts and menus. Besides hiding the menus, it hides the title bar if the window has one. I very much like the full-screen behavior and want to keep that, but switching between many windows with similar content while coding, for example different git branches, I need to see the title to know which I'm looking at. Otherwise I have to manually find other context clues or always drag my mouse to make the title show... very annoying. Other "solutions" are clunky workarounds. This could be solved by simply having an option to make the menu bar persistent. – C Perkins Feb 28 at 15:38

⇧ shift-⌥ opt-click on the green stoplight button (+) to maximize the window in both width and height, keeping the menu bar visible.

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  • What does ⇧ do in this case? – Ben Leggiero Oct 5 '18 at 17:40

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