New macOS 'Compatibility Mode' Options Let Developers Decide How Fullscreen Apps Handle the Notch

While users and developers come to terms with the fact that the last-minute notch rumor for the new MacBook Pros was true, Apple has released new Human Interface Guidelines explaining how developers can make the best use of the extended screen areas around the camera housing if they think their app would benefit from it.

macbook pro 2021 notch
According to the new documentation, the fullscreen mode in macOS Monterey features a "compatibility mode" that automatically accounts for the camera housing by placing a black bar across the top of the screen to hide the notch and prevent app content from being placed there.

However, macOS also includes a new "NSPrefersDisplaySafeAreaCompatibilityMode" property list key that lets developers specify whether their apps should conform to compatibility mode or if their apps can expand to use the space on either side of the notch.

On Macs that include a camera housing in the screen bezel, the system provides a compatibility mode to prevent apps from unintentionally putting content in the region the housing occupies. When this mode is active, the system changes the active area of the display to avoid the camera housing. The new active area ensures your app's contents are always visible and not obscured by the camera housing.

macos notch new macbook pros
On Macs that have a notch, the Finder automatically adds a checkbox to an app's Get Info panel that can be used to manually enable or disable the new compatibility mode. Alternately, developers can force compatibility mode on or off using new code properties that define the safe area of the screen and allow them to make use of the areas on either side of the notch for active content.

Developers should confirm that their app layouts do not overlap with the notch area before setting the NSPrefersDisplaySafeAreaCompatibilityMode key to "false" to bypass compatibility mode.

The inclusion of a notch allowed Apple to make the bezels on the new 14-and 16-inch MacBook Pros considerably thinner compared to the previous 13-inch and 16-inch models. The new Liquid Retina XDR displays also feature ProMotion technology, which allows the screen to run at as high as 120Hz, and as low as 24Hz, similar to the iPad Pro.

The new MacBook Pros are available to order now and begin shipping next week, but delivery dates for various MacBook Pro configurations have already slipped, with some of the 16-inch MacBook Pro models now listing delivery dates ranging from November 2 to November 16, up from the original October 26 delivery date.

Update: This article was updated to clarify how the property list key for compatibility mode functions.

Related Forums: MacBook Pro, macOS Monterey

Top Rated Comments

Prabas Avatar
8 months ago
People don't realize that the notch area is extra screen space.

Attachment Image
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mockletoy Avatar
8 months ago

I feel like this is such a clunky solution for something that we didn't really need? Is this to house a single webcam? In full screen mode your screen size is smaller than it could've been…
It’s really not. In full screen mode your screen is the same size and aspect ratio it would have otherwise been.

In regular desktop mode, you get extra space, bringing the aspect ratio from 16:10 to something much closer to 3:2.

The thing most people seem to be forgetting is that on PC laptops that have have razor thin bezels, no notch, and a webcam, the cam is either in a weird place or it’s a piece of low-res garbage (with a tiny sensor).

I really do not understand why people are so up in arms about this. It makes the screen bigger in one mode, the same size in the other, and the camera vastly better.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghanwani Avatar
8 months ago
What a relief. I was worried I wouldn't be able to see the notch when using full screen mode.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mockletoy Avatar
8 months ago

Let's be clear here: this upper space is NOT an "extended screen area", right? The notch cut's into the regular screen resolution, right? The Finder configuration option therefore cut's away display space and will downscale the full screen app, is it?
That is all entirely wrong.

It is an extended space. In fullscreen, with the notch area blacked out, the screen is regular old Apple 16:10 that it’s always been.

In regular desktop mode, you get extra space for the menu bar and below that is the same old Apple 16:10 rectangle.

So, in desktop mode you get more space for content because the menu bar has been pushed up into the area previously occupied by the bezel, and the overall aspect ratio is closer to 3:2 than 16:10.

You lose nothing, in either mode.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mockletoy Avatar
8 months ago
I cannot begin to fathom why people cover their MacBook webcams with tape, for so many reasons.

1) The camera cannot physically activate without turning on the LED. It just can’t. If the camera has power, the LED has power.

2) If someone has so thoroughly owned your computer that they can spy on you through your webcam, then they already have total access to your system and you’re screwed anyway, so worrying that they’re going to catch you picking your nose while they riffle through every file on your system seems a bit hysterical to me.

3) How do you disable the microphones? Or do you just take extra care to never say anything sensitive within earshot of your MacBook?

It’s all quite silly, isn’t it?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BvizioN Avatar
8 months ago

A larger bezel would be a much much better solution
For you I guess, for many others not. I would rather have a "bezel" I can use for menu icons rather than a dead frame. And lets be honest, not many people are fan of thick bezels. Just the way it is.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

14 inch macbook pro hands on featured

New Images Offer Even Closer Look at New 14-Inch MacBook Pro

Saturday October 23, 2021 3:46 pm PDT by
Ahead of an official launch later this week, new images sent to MacRumors show the new 14-inch MacBook Pro on display at an Apple Authorized Reseller, offering us an even closer look at Apple's entirely revamped MacBook Pro. The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros were by far two of the most highly anticipated and talked about Apple product releases of the entire year. Now that Apple has...
macbook pro notch weibo

MacBook Pro With Notch Was Potentially Leaked Months Ago in Stolen Schematics

Sunday October 17, 2021 10:45 am PDT by
Following a last-minute rumor that upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models could feature a notch at the top of the display, it has come to our attention that this design was potentially leaked in stolen schematics months ago. Back in April, a ransomware group known as REvil publicly stated that it had gained access to internal information from Apple supplier Quanta Computer in...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

Apple to Unveil 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro With Unchanged Design Next Month, Claims Original MacBook Pro 'Notch' Leaker

Tuesday February 15, 2022 4:07 am PST by
Apple will next month debut its latest M2 Apple silicon processor in a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro model that will have no major design changes, according to a previously reliable source with close links to Apple's supply chain. Based on the new information seen by MacRumors, the upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro retains the same design as the current version, including the Touch Bar, but...
macbook pro 2021 notch feature2

How the Mouse Pointer Deals with the Notch on the MacBook Pro

Tuesday October 19, 2021 1:57 pm PDT by
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros both feature a notch, a first for the Mac. Given we've never had a notch on a Mac, there are some questions over how macOS handles the notch, and more specifically, how the mouse pointer does. The predicament about how the mouse pointer handles the notch has been a question floated across Twitter and Reddit over the last 24 hours or so since the new...
macos notch hides in full screen

macOS Hides the Notch on New MacBook Pro in Full-Screen Mode

Monday October 18, 2021 1:49 pm PDT by
The new MacBook Pros, for the first time in a Mac, feature a notch. While some have been quick to criticize Apple's design choice, it turns out that the notch may not be entirely visible in day-to-day use when using apps in full screen, as when macOS apps are in full-screen mode, it essentially disappears. According to Apple's marketing material, when macOS apps are in full-screen mode,...
notch behavior feature

Videos Show Menu Bar Behavior in Apps Not Updated for MacBook Pro Notch

Wednesday October 27, 2021 1:45 am PDT by
When Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro models with a notch to house the camera in the thinner display bezel, many observers pointed out potential problems for third-party apps that place additional content across the menu bar, in the form of dropdown menus that extend from the left or menu items that extend from the right. The concern was that extended menus or menu items in the menu bar...
remove notch app feature2

Can't Get Used to Your MacBook Pro's Notch? These Apps Will Hide It for You

Wednesday October 27, 2021 3:54 am PDT by
If you bought a new MacBook Pro and you're having a hard time acclimatizing to the notch at the top of the screen in the middle of the menu bar, there's an app for that. The inclusion of a display notch on the redesigned MacBook Pros was a surprise to most observers and was one of the few last-minute rumors that surfaced ahead of their unveiling. Some have since criticized Apple's design ...
notchmeister 1

'Notchmeister' Lets You Decorate the Notch on Your MacBook Pro

Friday December 17, 2021 10:52 am PST by
While the inclusion of a display notch on the latest MacBook Pro was derided by many from its first appearance as a rumor ahead of the machine's unveiling, it's now a fact of life for those who have purchased Apple's latest pro notebook. Various apps and wallpaper designs to hide the notch have popped up, but The Iconfactory has gone in the opposite direction, embracing the notch with a simple ...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
iphone 13 pro max display bleen

iPhone 14 Max Reportedly Weeks Behind Schedule [Updated]

Thursday May 26, 2022 7:25 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Max is currently behind schedule by around three weeks, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu. Yesterday, Nikkei Asia reported that at least one iPhone 14 model was three weeks behind schedule due to the impact of lockdowns on Apple's supply chains in China, but it was not clear which iPhone 14 model this related to. Now, Pu has clarified that the model...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5.1 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Wednesday May 25, 2022 9:42 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5.1, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5.1 comes about 10 days after the launch of tvOS 15.5. tvOS 15.5.1 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌‌‌ owners who have automatic software updates...