Sometimes on my Macbook Pro when I have a lot of icons in the menu bar, if I start an application which has a lot of menu items, some of these icons get automatically obscured by the menu items.

For example, when running iTunes, the Twitter icon gets obscured...

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...but if I switch to Finder (which has a fewer menu items) the icon then re-appears

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Is there any way I can show or get to these obscured icons without having to switch to an application with a shorter menu bar?


I have been using this for a while and it seems to be configurable to do what you need.


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  • Note that MacBartender is a paid app. $15 today. – Rob Bednark May 21 '14 at 14:15

An app called AccessMenuBarApps allows you to do that by basically providing a keyboard shortcut to an application with no application menu items. It's free, so it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

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  • +1 Good find, thanks! That works pretty well actually, with the minor exception that there doesn't seem to be an option to hide its dock icon! Frankly I'm a little amazed that along with the other slick features and tricks in OS X that theres no option to, say, temporarily slide or swipe the menu bar out the way. Perhaps its just not a problem for most people... – binarybob Mar 29 '12 at 22:15
  • Use Dockless (homepage.mac.com/fahrenba/programs/dockless/dockless.html) to hide the icon for it. – penguinrob Mar 29 '12 at 22:17
  • Unfortunately, that also seems to disable the menu bar completely for the application whose icon is to be hidden. Probably just a GUI wrapper round the LSUIElement trick (EDIT: The dockless readme.rtf confirms this) – binarybob Mar 29 '12 at 22:32
  • So it pretty much disables the app then? That's probably an apple ui limitation then. – penguinrob Mar 29 '12 at 22:33

When holding the command-key you can drag the menu bar items around and change their order. That just helped me when I switched to an app where I could see the required menu bar item and then I moved it far to the right so that I could then see it also in the other app.

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BetterTouchTool has an action that hides all menu items.

You can assign arbitrary keyboard shortcuts or mouse / touchpad gestures.

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BetterTouchTool is commercial software (pay what you want – $3.99 minimum). During the 45 day trial phase you can use all features of BTT.

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NoMenuBar is a free app whose only purpose is to have no menus other than it's name so that you can switch to it and see more menu bar icons.

This isn't a direct solution to the question (not have to switch to another app), but it did help me see more icons that even Finder's menus were obscuring.

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