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How to Rearrange the Menu Bar on the Mac

Posted by Melissa Holt on September 16, 2018
mac menu bar icons

The so-called status menu icons—which is how Apple refers to the tiny icons on the menu bar in the upper-right corner of your screen—have many possible functions. Maybe yours are sparse, with only the Wi-Fi controls, the date and time, and Spotlight, for example. Maybe you instead run a zillion programs that are associated with those icons, and so your menu bar is stuffed full. In any case, though, it’s easy to move them and maybe even get rid of them if they’re unnecessary, so let’s learn about how to rearrange the menu bar on the Mac!

Menu Bar and Status Menus

So here’s what I mean when I say both “menu bar” and “status menus.” The bar at the top of your screen that contains the drop-down app menus for whatever program you’re in is the menu bar.
Menu Bar on the Mac Showing Menus
The icons to the right of those app-specific options are the status menus.
Status Menus on the Mac
With those status menus, you can of course join networks, adjust your volume, or check your battery percentage, depending on which ones are shown there.

Rearranging Menu Bar Status Icons

If you want to change the order of these status menu icons, you can’t just drag them around. Instead, you must hold down the Command key on your keyboard, and then click and drag on one you want to move to adjust its position.
Moving Wi-Fi to Rearrange the Menu Bar
I moved the Wi-Fi status menu in my above screenshot, and here I’m moving the Date & Time one:
Moving Date & Time to Rearrange the Menu Bar
When you drag a status menu to its new location, just let go, and the positioning will remain.
Rearrange the Menu Bar Process Done
Now, if you’d like to actually remove one of these icons instead, all you’ll do is hold down Command again and drag it out of the menu bar, like so:
Deleting Displays Preferences Icon to Rearrange the Menu Bar
Wait a moment or two after you drag, and a tiny “x” will appear on the icon. If you then let it go, the item will be removed from your menu bar! Now, note that this won’t work with all of them; if one of your status menus is required to be there (as in the case of third-party programs like 1Password or built-in stuff like Spotlight), trying to trash the icon in this way just won’t do anything. Yes, yes, you should have complete control over your Mac…except in cases where you wouldn’t be able to use your password manager properly afterward. That would be a bummer.

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