The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro has a new feature that everyone is talking about. No, it’s not the blazing processor speed, it’s the notch at the top of the display. Some people don’t like how it looks, even though it doesn’t take away from the workable space of the screen.
Apple made the bezels on the laptop super thin in an effort to provide the user as much screen space as possible. But there is a module that cuts into the screen to house the 1080p FaceTime camera, thus the notch. It’s important to point out that the notch doesn’t infringe on the screen area—you still get a 16-by-10 screen below the notch, so the notch area is “extra” screen space compared to the older MacBook Pro.
Apple has a solution if you use an app in full-screen mode. But when you’re not, the menu bar often is another color other than black and the notch stands out. For some, its mere presence feels like a poke in the eye, another example of Apple doing something “innovative” that they don’t agree with and they just have to sit there and take it. (I actually don’t feel that way. The notch doesn’t bother me. But according to social media, many of you CAN’T STAND IT! ARGH!)
But you don’t have to just sit there, you can do something about it, thanks to the software community. A few developers have already made utilities that black out the menu bar, effectively hiding that god-forsaken notch. Or you can fully embrace the notch and use a few utilities to make the most of it. Here’s a look at some of those menu bar utilities.
From MakeTheWeb, makers of the CleanShot screen capture app, Top Notch (free) can be set to launch at startup and it appears as a menu bar icon. It’s a pretty basic utility with just the essential set of features: turn on/off the black menu bar, activate rounded screen corners, and whether the app should work with dynamic wallpapers (the ones that change colors based on the time).
Developer Jordi Bruin likes the notch. He’s also sympathetic to those who don’t share his feelings, so he wrote Forehead (you set the fee you want to pay the developer). It has a basic feature set, but if you want to go to the extreme with the rounded corners, you can really do so with Forehead by using its slider to go from no rounded corners to a corner radius of “100.”
Bruin notes on his website that Forehead may not be able to modify some wallpapers and that Forehead doesn’t currently update the variations of dynamic wallpapers and uses the default.
Notch Pro (free) doesn’t disguise the notch—oh no, in fact, this is the app to get if you want to add a notch to your non-notch Mac. And you can make the notch any size you want, really small or really big. While it sounds rather useless, there’s actually a practical use for Notch Pro: You can run it and see how much a notch would annoy you before you invest in a MacBook Pro.
When Notch Pro is running, any menus and menu bar icons it covers up are still accessible, even though you can’t see them. Move your cursor to the menu and click and you’ll find them. And if you can’t get enough of the notch, you can run it on the new MacBook Pro, and if you have the “Scale to fit below built-in camera.” option running, Notch Pro will add a notch to the menu bar that’s underneath the actual notch. Natch.
The notch gets no love. But with Notchmeister, you can give the notch exactly that (and personality). The Iconfactory’s free app lets you decorate the notch with light effects such as holiday lights, a “Cylon” effect, and more. With Notchmeister on, the effect appears when you move the cursor under the notch, so it comes on when you want it. Bonus: Notchmeister even adds a virtual notch to MacBooks that haven’t been adorned with it, so those laptops can get in on the notch fun.