The menu bar runs along the top of the screen on your Mac. Use the menus and icons in the menu bar to choose commands, perform tasks, and check status.

The menu bar. On the left are the Apple menu and app menus. On the right are status menus, and the Spotlight, Siri, and Notification Center icons.

You can set an option in General preferences to automatically hide the menu bar; then it’s shown only when you move the pointer to the top of the screen.

Apple menu

The Apple menu , located in the top-left corner of the screen, contains commands for things you do frequently, such as update apps, open System Preferences, lock your screen, or shut down your Mac. See What’s in the Apple menu?

App menus

App menus are located next to the Apple menu. The name of the app you’re using appears in bold, followed by other menus, often with standard names such as File, Edit, Format, or Window. Each app has a Help menu to make it easy to get information about using an app. See Use the built-in help.

App menus.

Each menu contains commands, many of which are available in most apps. For example, the Open command is often in the File menu. For information about the symbols in the menu commands, see What are those symbols shown in menus?

Status menus

Toward the right end of the menu bar are status menus, typically represented by icons. Use these menus to check the status of your Mac or quickly access features—for example, quickly turn Wi-Fi on or off or check your computer’s battery charge.

Status menus.

You can add status menus, such as the emoji viewer or a Volume control icon. You can also add status menus for some apps when you install them.

To rearrange the status menu icons, press and hold the Command key while dragging the items. To remove an icon, press and hold the Command key and drag the icon out of the menu bar.


Click the Spotlight icon , located after the status menus, to use Spotlight to search for items on your Mac and more.


Following Spotlight is the Siri icon —click it to ask Siri to do things like open files or apps, or to find things on your Mac or on the internet. You can easily keep Siri results handy on your desktop or in Notification Center.

Notification Center

At the right end of the menu bar, click the Notification Center icon to use Notification Center to view details about your day and catch up on notifications you missed.

Adapted: October 2, 2020  

Originally Posted on Apple Support