The macOS menu bar is a great place for quickly accessing system and application functions using menu extras or "menulets", but it can get cluttered pretty quickly as more and more icons vie for a space there.

If the corner of your Mac's screen is fast becoming an eyesore, here are some quick and simple actions you can perform to bring order to the chaos, plus a few additional tips for making the most of Apple's menu bar extras.

How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar

Plenty of menu bar icons offer useful shortcuts to app and system functions, and may take up permanent residence on your screen. But left to their own devices, the arrangement of said icons is likely to become haphazard. Fortunately, re-organizing them is simple, once you know how to do it.

  1. Hold down the Command (⌘) key.

  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to move.

  3. Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon into your preferred position on the menu bar. Other icons will step aside to make space for it.

  4. Let go of the left mouse button.

move menu bar icon
Note that the Notifications icon in macOS is designed to sit in the far right corner of the menu bar and cannot be moved elsewhere.

How to Remove System Icons From the Menu Bar

Icons linked to system controls can be easily removed from the menu bar in the following way:

  1. Hold down the Command (⌘) key.

  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to remove.

  3. Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon out of the menu bar and onto the desktop.

  4. Let go of the left mouse button.

remove menu bar icon
If the icon doesn't vanish with a "whoosh" sound, then it was likely put there by a third-party app you or another user installed. In that case, look for an option in the associated app's settings such as "Show in Menu Bar" and uncheck it.

How to Add System Icons to the Menu Bar

If you removed a system icon from the menu bar and would like it back, or if you'd like to add a fresh one, you can find options in the associated preference panes. For example, to reinstate the AirPlay icon in the menu bar:

  1. Click the apple symbol in the far left of the menu bar and select System Preferences....
  2. Select the Display preference pane.
  3. At the bottom of the pane, check the box to "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available".

rearrange menu bar icons how to
Similar menu bar options relating to Sound volume, Bluetooth, Siri, Time Machine, and Accessibility status can be found in their respective preference panes. In addition to Wi-Fi status (listed below), the Network pane will also offer "menulet" options for things like modems and VPNs if you have them set up, while menu bar icons related to keyboard, battery, user account, and date/time are located less obviously in the following preference pane menus and tabs:

  • Keyboard -> Input Sources -> Show Input menu in menu bar.
  • Energy Saver -> Show battery status in menu bar.
  • Network -> Wi-Fi -> Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar.
  • Users & Groups -> Login Options -> Show fast user switching menu as Full Name / Account Name / Icon.
  • Date & Time -> Clock -> Show date and time in menu bar.

Menu Bar Extras

For one reason or another, some menulet options remain hidden in System Preferences by default. Interested users can find the full collection in the System folder: Open a Finder window, from the menu bar select Go -> Go to Folder..., and then navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras.

Some of the extras in this folder are pretty obscure, but one or two might come in handy – like Eject if you use an optical drive, or Ink if you connect a graphics tablet to your Mac, for example. Just double-click any that look useful and they'll be added to the menu bar. They can be removed just as easily using the Command (⌘) key method described above.

Finally, users looking for a more comprehensive method of managing menu bar icons should consider third-party app Bartender 3 ($15).

Top Rated Comments

Westside guy Avatar
45 months ago
So, I already knew this - but... I wanted to say "Thank you!" to the author for writing a succinct, informative tutorial rather than an recording an eight-minute-long YouTube video!

Seriously, I get so tired of searching for information on some subject where the answer could be presented in 50 words of prose, but instead the search results page is littered with ridiculously long YouTube videos. The most ludicrous one I ever came across was a several-minute-long video that consisted of a live screen capture of some dude typing at the bash prompt! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacDawg Avatar
45 months ago
Nice article, but I'm not sure people are wanting to move them as much as maybe remove them - I'm looking at you Creative Cloud
Why anyone would want to move them
I want to do both... move them and remove some of them (and hide others on a separate bar)
I just like things organized the way I want them and not the way the system organizes them

I use Bartender 3 now to have better control and accomplish what I want
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Schranke Avatar
45 months ago
Damm I have been using mac for many years now and I did not know this:eek:
Well it sure is helpful!
The more you know:apple:
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kissmo Avatar
45 months ago
Nice article, but I'm not sure people are wanting to move them as much as maybe remove them - I'm looking at you Creative Cloud
Open Creative Cloud.
Click on those vertical dots (3 of them) on the icon in the Menu Bar - Prefferences
De-Select Launch at Login.

Do you mean this? If so - I hope it helps.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
45 months ago
Nice article, but I'm not sure people are wanting to move them as much as maybe remove them - I'm looking at you Creative Cloud
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KALLT Avatar
45 months ago
This has been around since OS X 10.2. BTW it doesn't work for all menu items so many will be frustrated when this doesn't work.
Allmost all of them work as of Sierra. Apple added this behaviour to third-party apps.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Gurman: Redesigned MacBook Pros to Launch Between September and November

Sunday July 18, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to release its redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sometime between September and November, as part of another packed fall season for new product launches, according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the new MacBook Pros will go into production in the third quarter and can be expected to be...
General Apps Messages

All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more. Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

'iPhone SE 3' With A14 Bionic Chip and 5G Expected in First Half of 2022

Monday July 19, 2021 1:31 am PDT by
Apple plans to update the iPhone SE, its 4.7-inch entry-level iPhone, with an updated A14 Bionic processor from the iPhone 12 series in the first half of next year, according to a report from DigiTimes. DigiTimes' report follows in the footsteps of reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who reported last month the iPhone SE would receive an updated processor and 5G capabilities in the first...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 14.7 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday July 19, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 14.7, the seventh update to the tvOS 14 operating system that initially debuted in September 2020. tvOS 14.7 comes two months after the launch of the tvOS 14.6 update. tvOS 14.7, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌Apple TV‌‌ owners who have automatic software ...
nso israeli surveillance firm

Report: Pegasus Spyware Sold to Governments Uses Zero-Click iMessage Exploit to Infect iPhones Running iOS 14.6

Monday July 19, 2021 12:35 am PDT by
Journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists around the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using phone malware made by Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, according to multiple media reports. An investigation by 17 media organizations and Amnesty International's Security Lab uncovered a massive data leak, indicating widespread and continuing abuse of the commercial...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 May Feature Apple Watch-Inspired Always-On Display

Sunday July 18, 2021 8:26 am PDT by
Following a successful supercycle launch of the iPhone 12 last year, Apple aims to make another "big splash" with its upcoming 2021 iPhones, which can be expected to feature larger batteries, smaller notches, improved performance, and more advanced displays that may sport an always-on mode. In the latest publication of his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
magsafe battery pack 2

Photos of Apple's New MagSafe Battery Pack Provide First Look at Thickness

Monday July 19, 2021 6:36 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe Battery Pack will begin arriving to customers around the world this week, and one lucky person has already snagged one. Steven Russell from Memphis, Tennessee said he managed to pick up the MagSafe Battery Pack from a local Apple Store over the weekend, and he has since shared photos on Reddit, providing a closer look at its design and thickness. Russell shared some...
apple releases ios 14 7

Apple Releases iOS 14.7 With MagSafe Battery Support and Apple Card Family Credit Limit Combining

Monday July 19, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.7, marking the seventh major update to the iOS operating system that came out in September 2020. iOS 14.7 comes two months after the launch of iOS 14.6, a major update that added Apple Card Family Support, Podcast Subscriptions, and more. The iOS 14.7 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the...
magsafe battery pack solo

Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack

Tuesday July 20, 2021 11:14 am PDT by
The new MagSafe Battery Pack that Apple debuted this week is arriving to customers starting today and it's also now available for in-store pickup in many Apple retail locations around the world. We snagged one this morning and thought we'd take a look at it to let MacRumors readers know if it's worth the $99 asking price. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As the name ...