I used to neglect the macOS menu bar. I’d let it fill up with all manner of stuff and rarely, if ever, give it a second glance.

Now, it plays a pivotal role in helping me get stuff done each day and makes every Mac I own even more of a joy to use.

There’s a simple reason for this: I’ve really invested time in finding the best macOS menu bar apps. If you didn’t know, they’re the little icons at the top-right of your screen which display the time, battery status, and a myriad of other useful information.

As you install more apps on your Mac, you’ll notice that the number of app icons in the menu bar often increases. Some will provide additional information, while others act as shortcuts to common tasks in the app they’re associated with.

I’ve discovered four of the best macOS menu bar apps which I simply couldn’t live without. They’re super-affordable and come backed by four equally awesome apps.

Let’s get into it!


Price: from $2.99 per month (free trial available)

I used to be an iCloud Keychain user until I discovered 1Password, which has completely transformed the way I think about password management and securing my digital stuff in general.

That’s kinda the point with 1Password – it’s far more than just a password manager. You can throw all of your login detail in there, sure, but you can also secure important notes, licenses, credit card details, identities, and much more.

The 1Password menu bar app is probably my most-used. By clicking the 1Password icon at the top-right of my screen, I can immediately log in to my vault and retrieve anything I need. It’s far quicker than heading into the 1Password app and it’s ever-present on the screen, no matter what I’m doing.

1Password macOS menu bar app

Download here (try it free for 14 days)


Price: from £3.25 per month (free trial available)

I’ve been a big fan of Fantastical for some time.

There’s nothing wrong with the built-in macOS Calendar app, but it doesn’t offer one particular feature which makes Fantastical an unbeatable diary: the menu bar app.

Fantastical’s menu bar app is quite simply brilliant. A little like 1Password, it means I rarely need to head into Fantastical itself – I can simply click the menu bar app and immediately see an entire calendar month view of what’s going on.

It’s perfect for checking dates, but you can also search your calendar, scroll through each day’s activities and even create brand new entries via the awesome predictive text input.

Fantastical macOS menu bar app

Download here (try it free for 14 days)


Price: from £3.33 per month (free trial available)

I’m a recent convert to TextExpander, but I really don’t know why it’s taken me this long to jump on board.

If, like me, you regularly type the same stuff into emails, forms, or documents, TextExpander will help you reclaim a massive amount of time.

Why continually type the same thing in when you can hit a couple of hotkeys and have TextExpander automatically insert all of that text for you? Honestly, it saves more time than you think.

TextExpander ‘snippets’, as they’re known, are fun to set up, too. They’re the sort of thing you discover you need as you go about your daily work. Find yourself entering your usual email sign-off for potential new clients again? Create a snippet for it!

The TextExpander macOS menu bar app offers the quickest way to search for your snippets, remind yourself of hotkey shortcuts, and even add new snippets. It is brilliant.

TextExpander macOS menu bar app

Download here (grab 20% off with this link!)

Bartender 4

Price: $15 (free trial available)

I mentioned at the start of this guide that you can easily fill your macOS menu bar with a huge, long list of apps.

As a result, it’ll look like a right mess, you’ll never know what’s what and, consequently, you’ll probably ignore those apps entirely (like I used to). What’s worse, if you have a new MacBook Pro with a notch on the screen, the more apps you have in the menu bar, the closer they’ll move to the notch and disappear entirely.

Thankfully, there’s a solution for this and it comes in the form of the brilliant Bartender.

The premise behind Bartender is super simple. It gives you full control over exactly what you can and can’t see in the menu bar. You can hide every single app if you want to, and reveal them with a click or mouse hover. Or, you can fine-tune the apps you want ever-present or always hidden (sometimes, depending on their status – for instance, your battery charge status).

While Bartender 4 isn’t technically a menu bar app, it is the final piece of the puzzle for me and has created a beautifully clean menu bar on each of my Macs – I love it.

Bartender 4

Download here (free trial available)

What are your best macOS menu bar apps?

I’ve shown you mine – now it’s your turn. Which macOS menu bar apps do you rely on each day to be as productive as possible and make your Mac super-easy to use?

Get involved in the comments, below!

This post includes affiliate links. Bartender 4 image courtesy of Surtees Studios.