How to Permanently Display or Automatically Hide and Show Menu Bar on Mac

Your Mac’s menu bar is the thin strip across the top of your screen and spans its entire width. It contains some very useful menus and shortcuts. For example, the menu bar includes app menus that let you find the majority of an app’s essential functions.

Mac menu bar

The above is a diagram of a Mac menu bar. Unless you change, by default, the menu bar in macOS always appears at the top of the screen. However, you can change this. You can also change your settings to show the menu bar only when you move the pointer to the top of the screen. This means that the menu bar will automatically be hidden and shown. This article explains how you can do these. And furthermore, sometimes, our users ask us why their menu bar is missing. This may be because the setting may have been accidentally toggled off. You can bring back your menu bar. Here is how:

Use System Preferences

1. Click the Apple menu, located in the top-left corner of the screen, and select System Preferences.

System Preferences

2. Click Dock & Menu Bar.

Dock and Menu Bar

3. Under the Menu Bar section:

  • Select the “Automatically hide and show the menu bar” box, if you want to hide the menu bar when it’s not in use. Some users may want to select this because this will give them more space on the screen.
  • Deselect the “Automatically hide and show the menu bar” box, if you want the menu bar to always show.
Menu bar hide or show

Use Terminal

Alternatively, you can use Terminal to change this setting. You can set the menu bar to be hidden and unhidden using defaults. Here is how:

1. Open Terminal on your Mac (Applications > Utilities).

2. Enter the following command and hit enter to hide the menu bar (to turn on auto-show):

defaults write NSGlobalDomain _HIHideMenuBar -bool true

You will need to log out and then log in so that the changes can take effect. Or you can use the following command:

killall Finder

3. Enter the following command and hit enter to permanently show the menu bar:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain _HIHideMenuBar -bool false

Again, you will need to log out and in or use the killall Finder command.

See also:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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