Bartender 3 Update

One of the benefits of an upgrade to the Mac Operating System is a sudden influx of updates to our favourite applications. In order to ensure compatibility, new versions come flying thick and fast with a selection of new features, cosmetic enhancements and generally great stuff!

Once such update comes from the team at Surtees Studios and that is their flagship product, Bartender. A staple in the arsenal of many Mac Power Users, Bartender is a utility that takes control of your menu bar, allowing you to ‘hide’ certain icons and notifications whilst only displaying the essentials, as chosen by you. We’ve all encountered the ever-growing row of icons so this is always one of the first apps I install on a new device. 

Bartender 3 deviates a little from previous versions. In the past, you would click a little Bartender icon in the menu. This would display a row of previously hidden icons underneath the menu bar. Very discreet indeed. However, due to limitations within the High Sierra update, Surtees have had to take a different approach. Rather than a 'submenu bar', we now have an 'in menu bar'. Clicking the Bartender icon will replace the permanent items in the menu bar with the hidden ones. 

Confusing? I thought so too at first - however a few quick changes to my configuration allowed me to work around this design change and my setup is working now as well as ever. I’ve got a few more items contained within the Menu bar itself on a permanent basis whilst the remainder are hidden within the Bartender bar. 

I’ve also leveraged the option to Show For Updates for some of my most often used applications. When this is enabled for an application, if there is any kind of status change, such as a mail notification, successful sync or alert, then the icon will appear in the main menu bar for a given amount of time (by default, 15 seconds). I never felt the need for this before however now I find it helpful, especially as I hide my dock by default and miss badge notifications.


Some people won’t like the change, but I urge those of you to stick with it. Apple has tightened it’s System Integrity Protection security feature which prevents system items from being controlled by Bartender. The team have released a solid upgrade to compensate for this and once you get used to the change, you won’t notice it. 

It’s still a great application and certainly does the job intended. I heartily recommend it.