If your Mac menu bar is looking increasingly cluttered with various menu bar icons, you may be interested in a nice little free utility called Vanilla. Vanilla allows you to hide Mac menu bar icons by placing them into a collapsible and expandable shelf of sorts contained within the menu bar.
Vanilla offers a nice alternative solution to hiding the entire menu bar in Mac OS as it allows you to declutter the menu bar a bit while still retaining constant visibility and functionality of icons you do want to see and use frequently. All the hidden menu bar icons are quickly accessible behind the Vanilla arrow buttons too, so they’re not gone for good.
If some menu bar icon minimalism sounds interesting to you, then setup is very easy:
- Get Vanilla from developer Mathew Palmer here, it’s free but you can pay to gain additional options
- Launch the Vanilla app
- Hold the Command key and drag menu bar icons* you want to hide into the Vanilla portion of the menu bar
- Click the arrow icons to expand or contract Vanilla, this shows all of the contained menu bar icons
This is one of those rare third party utilities that is so simple yet useful that you’ll wonder why it isn’t included as a feature in MacOS.
I dragged a handful of less used icons into Vanilla, here’s what it looks like with some select menu bar icons hidden from Vanilla:
And the same select menu bar icons revealed from Vanilla:
Each icon is still accessible, but they’re tucked behind the Vanilla menu bar curtain and revealed by toggling the arrow button.
A brief video below shows the Vanilla app being customized and at work, moving icons into the app and then hiding and showing them in the Mac menu bar.
If you later decide you don’t like the app and you’d rather all of your menu bar icons are visible on the Mac again, just quit the Vanilla app and all of your menu bar icons are returned to their normal position, no longer hidden.
* For those who weren’t aware, you can move menu bar icons around or even remove the icons from the menu bar by dragging them out and moving them around while holding the Command key. Use the same Command function to add or remove any items into the Vanilla hidden icon menu bar.
There are other similar tools out there that perform similar tasks, but Vanilla is free to download and try out, and it’s also the simplest of the bunch. Check it out if it sounds like something you’d like.