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New Video Shows How the New Menu Bar Works With the Mac’s Notch, *SPOILER* It Does Not

Quinn Nelson of Snazzy Labs

So remember last week when the new notch with MacBook Pro’s attached were announced? ‘Member? You ‘memeber.

Almost as soon as that glorified gaping notch was unveiled, a flurry of on-lookers came cascading down with the same concern: “But, Apple? How will notch handle too many third-party menu items in the menu bar? They go around?”

The answer: “It won’t.” – Lmfaooooo

Some of you even defended Apple and the newly unveiled notch.

Trump’s voice ‘Wrong’

Naturally, many were concerned about how the notch would integrate third-party apps and if an excess of menu bar items would be inadvertently hidden behind the notch.

A new video, tweeted yesterday by Quinn Nelson of Snazzy Labs – one of my FAVORITE YouTube creators, illustrates a MacBook Pro notch problem where status bar items end up hidden behind the notch. No, they don’t become smoller, jump to the next side, or even scrollable, they are…just fu*in gone lol. Buh byeeee.

In the first video, menu bar items for popular app iStat Menus can be seen partially hidden behind the notch but still accessible via mouse pointer, albeit obscurely, but still accessible.

Contrastingly, in his second video, he opens an older version of DaVinci Resolve, where he illustrates how the menu bar items act differently by avoiding the notch altogether, blocking mouse pointer access in the process.

It’s worth noting that the menu bar behavior he is pointing out in his videos is, of course, third-party apps that have not been updated to accommodate the new notch. Apple’s newest macOS, Monterey, has a new “compatibility mode” that is supposedly a tool to stop any content being obscured by the camera housing. I say ‘supposedly’ because, well, it no work.

“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. The system only activates this compatibility mode while an app that requires it runs in the current desktop space.”

– new developer document by Apple

While the UI inconsistency problem still remains, the behavior in the second video is actually intentional by Apple. By blocking access to the space underneath the notch, it ensures that older versions of apps will not display menus in that space, however, at a system level, the mouse pointer can still enter the notch area where it will be hidden. This applies fullscreen mode as well.

Monterey ensures that app menu items are displayed on either side of the notch by using “compatibility mode” that disables the active display area taken up by the notch, however, that does not mean that adding this type of compatibility mode support would automatically fix the behavior we’re seeing in these videos. Bjango, the developer of iStat Menus, does not believe that adding this tool would solve the problem seen in Quinn’s video.

To all third-party menu bar items in excess: Rest in spaghetti, the notch wasn’t ready.

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