Bartender 5 Blog

Bartender 5 - Updates

05 October 2023

I wanted to take a moment to reach out and provide you with some insights into the frequent updates you’ve been noticing for Bartender 5. First and foremost, I’d like to reassure you that these updates are not the result of a bug 😂. Rather, they are a testament to my unwavering commitment to delivering the best possible user experience.

You may have noticed that I’ve been pushing out updates almost daily, especially since many of you upgraded to macOS Sonoma. This accelerated release schedule is driven by my dedication to addressing corner cases and unusual issues that some users have encountered in their unique setups. My goal is to ensure that Bartender 5 not only works seamlessly with the latest macOS but also caters to your specific needs and preferences.

I understand that this frequent stream of updates may seem overwhelming, but rest assured, it won’t continue indefinitely. My intention is to resolve any issues you may encounter as quickly as possible, sometimes to fix bugs. Your feedback is invaluable to me, and I want to make sure that your experience with Bartender 5 is as smooth and problem-free as possible.

In the near future, you can expect these rapid-fire updates to gradually slow down as I address the most pressing concerns. I’m working tirelessly to refine and improve Bartender 5. I will then get back to adding more features.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as I work to enhance Bartender 5. I appreciate your feedback, and I’m committed to making Bartender 5 the best it can be.

Bartender 5 - Menu bar item groups

02 October 2023

Bartender 5 introduces a novel feature known as “Menu Bar Item Groups,” which facilitates the consolidation of sets of menu bar items beneath a single, fully customizable menu bar item. This feature serves as an ideal solution for categorizing and conveniently accessing related menu bar items with a simple click or hover. This innovation is particularly advantageous for MacBook Pro users seeking to optimize their menu bar space efficiently.

The process of creating these menu bar item groups can be executed seamlessly within Bartender Settings, specifically under the “Menu Bar Items” section, or within a Preset. The procedure remains consistent in both contexts: you simply drag the “Add a menu bar item group” lozenge from the Palette section to your preferred location within the menu bar.

Upon initiating this action, the Group Settings Editor becomes accessible, ensuring that you can fine-tune your menu bar item groups to meet your exact requirements. This editor can be accessed at any time by either clicking on the Groups icon within the Settings screens or by right-clicking on the respective group located within the menu bar itself.

Bartender 5 - Raising the bar – A Message from the Developer

26 September 2023

Hello, fellow Bartender enthusiasts! I am both thrilled to celebrate not just the release of Bartender 5, but also reflect on the remarkable journey of the past 12 years. Together, we have shaped Bartender into the tool that it is today, and I’m excited to share with you the extraordinary features of Bartender 5, our commitment to supporting each Mac release, and what the future holds.

A Journey of Innovation

Bartender embarked on this journey in 2011, born out of a desire to conquer the chaos of a cluttered menu bar. It’s been a remarkable 12 years, and I’ve been privileged to witness Bartender evolve and grow, largely thanks to your invaluable feedback and unwavering support.

Bartender: Always in Sync with Mac

One of my core principles has always been to ensure Bartender aligns seamlessly with the latest macOS updates. As macOS has evolved, so has Bartender. I’ve diligently worked to ensure that each new release of macOS is fully supported by Bartender, and Bartender 5 is no exception. With groundbreaking support for macOS Sonoma, you can trust that Bartender 5 will continue to enhance your Mac experience.

Bartender 5: The Next Chapter

Now, I’m delighted to introduce Bartender 5, the latest and most significant upgrade to date. With support for macOS Sonoma and a multitude of innovative features, Bartender 5 represents the pinnacle of Mac menu bar mastery.

Unprecedented Control

Bartender 5 empowers you with unprecedented mastery over your menu bar items. Conceal select menu bar items while retaining quick and easy access through intuitive methods. Swipe and scroll within the menu bar to unveil hidden items instantly, simplifying access to multiple screens of concealed items with a simple swipe.

Bartender 5 introduces menu bar item groups, allowing you to consolidate sets of menu bar items under a single customizable menu bar item. Perfect for categorizing and accessing related menu bar items with a single click or hover, this innovation is amazing for MacBook Pro users optimizing space in the menu bar landscape.

Smart Interaction, Anytime, Anywhere

With its revamped trigger system, Bartender 5 elevates menu bar item interaction. Apply presets or reveal menu bar items precisely when they demand attention. Whether at work, on a specific Wi-Fi network, monitoring battery status, or using custom scripts like VPN or AirPods connectivity, Bartender 5 ensures you’re always in control.

Elevate Aesthetics with Menu Bar Styling

New to Bartender 5 is the revolutionary menu bar styling feature. Customize each space’s menu bar with limitless design possibilities. Tint the menu bar with your preferred color, add borders, shadows, round off its edges, or create a distinctive pill-shaped design – your menu bar, your rules.

An Array of Enhancements

Bartender 5 boasts an extensive list of refinements, enhancements, and fresh features, creating a must-have update for Mac users seeking peak efficiency and personalization.

The Future of Bartender

As we celebrate this milestone, I’m excited about the future of Bartender. Rest assured, I’m not resting on my laurels. I’m constantly exploring new ways to enhance your Mac experience and adapt to the ever-evolving world of technology.


In closing, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have been part of this incredible 12-year journey. Bartender’s journey from a simple idea to a beloved Mac app would not have been possible without your trust, feedback, and support. Here’s to the past 12 years, and to many more ahead! Together, we’ll continue to redefine how you interact with your Mac and make it even better. Thank you for being part of the Bartender family.

Cheers to you, the heart and soul of Bartender!

Ben - Developer of Bartender

Bartender 5 - start at login not working after updating from 4

25 September 2023

If Bartender 5 is not starting at login after updating from Bartender 4 it seems to be caused by macOS Sonoma being more restrictive with starting at login entries, and doesn’t like the name change from Bartender 4 to Bartender 5 (It keeps adding Bartender 4 to start at login as they share the same app ID even though its been deleted).

To fix this:

  • Make sure all copies of Bartender 4 are removed from your mac (including form trash),
  • Update to the latest Bartender 5 release (at least 5.0.24),
  • Disable Start at Login in Bartender Settings, quit Bartender
  • Open macOS System Settings > General > Login Items (this seems to make macOS realise Bartender 4 has gone)
  • Launch Bartender 5 and enable start at login.

If this still doesn’t work, turn off Bartenders start at login, restart macOS and then try turning it on again.

Bartender 5 - show for update image triggers

25 September 2023

Image comparison triggers are currently disabled in Bartender 5, unfortunately in macOS Sonoma Bartender cannot get images of menu bar items without macOS showing a purple "Screen capture" menu bar item (the new API for image capture can not get images of hidden menu bar items still). For the image comparison triggers Bartender would very often need to get images of the meun ar items to do the comparison so the purple macOS menu bar item would always show. Because of this Image comparison triggers are currently disabled in Bartender 5. With Bartender 5 you now have triggers with more trigger conditions (I will be adding more) so you can still show menu bar items or even better sets of items when they are needed. If there is ever a way to bring back the image comparison trigger type I will do. I am also considering having an Advanced option that is basically "I don't care about the purple "Screen capture" menu bar item" and lets you use image comparison triggers again, but this needs consideration.

With macOS 14.1 Apple implemented changes I requested so I could recreate this feature without macOS showing the screen capture purple menu bar item.
Any previous image comparison show for updates from Bartender 4 should automatically be converted into triggers for you. This is now available in Bartender 5.0.45 (which at time of updating this was still a test build)

macOS purple menu bar item - "Bartender 5 is capturing your screen"

25 September 2023

Whenever Bartender gets an image of a menu bar item macOS will show the purple screen capture menu bar item (shown above) letting you know Bartender is getting an image of your menu bar items, so you always know when Bartender captures a image of a menu bar item.

This menu bar item cannot be hidden, or disabled by Bartender and is put there by macOS, it will show for approximately 20 seconds after Bartender has got an image of a menu bar item.

Bartender gets images of the menu bar items to show in Bartender Settings, the Bartender Bar and Search.

If you want to reduce the number of times this shows its best to not use the Bartender Bar, you can still access all your menu bar items on MacBook Pro and Air screens with a notch, as Bartender 5 will now hide any already shown menu bar items if it needs to make room for the hidden items its about to show.
You can access any additional still hidden menu bar items that by swiping/scrolling in the menu bar (scroll setting must be enabled in Bartender Settings)

Bartender 5 Officially Released

19 September 2023

I am super excited to announce the public release of Bartender 5 today (public beta until macOS release).

This does not mean I am stopping working on Bartender 5, anything but! As I still have many exciting features I want to add.

Bartender 5 is Bartenders’ biggest update yet; with support for macOS Sonoma, it also boasts a load of new features and updates to its core abilities making it the best version yet.

Bartender gives you total control over your menu bar items (the icons at the right of your menu bar). It lets you hide any menu bar items you want but still quickly access them in a variety of ways, such as revealing your hidden menu bar items instantly by swiping / scrolling in the menu bar, this is great if you have lots of menu bar items that wouldn’t fit easily in the menu bar itself because of the notch, with swiping you can access more then just 1 screen of hidden items, swipe again to access as many screens as needed to see all your menu bar items.

Bartender 5 also introduced menu bar item groups. These allow you to add groups of menu bar items under 1 customisable menu bar item, great for grouping menu bar items into similar groups that you can access with 1 click or hover, even better for saving space on a MacBook pro with a notch.

Bartender also brings a host of ways to improve your interaction with menu bar items with a completely new designed triggers system for applying presets or showing menu bar items when they need your attention. Such as when at work, on a particular Wi-Fi network, certain battery state, or even via a script such as showing items when on a VPN or when your AirPods are connected.

Completely new to Bartender 5 is menu bar styling, with this you can customize each spaces menu bar, the possible menu bar designs are endless, you can tint the menu bar with any color, add borders, shadows, make the menu bar rounded or even separate pills.

Bartender 5 has many more improvements, refinements, and new features that make it a brilliant update worth checking out.