MacBook Pro 2021 screen

The 2021 MacBook Pro has a notch, and some apps may encounter a problem where menu bar items are hidden behind the void. Fortunately, Apple included a toggle for ensuring menu bar items appear below the notch instead.

What’s the Issue Here?

Apple has moved the macOS menu bar on new MacBook Pro models into the bezel, but they’ve cut out a chunk of the screen for the FaceTime HD camera, TrueTone sensor, and ambient light sensor. Some people have strong opinions about the change, but regardless of what you think about it, problems with the notch can and do arise.

The menu bar is where you’ll find contextual controls for the app you’re currently using, with sections like File, Edit, View, and so on. Most apps don’t have a huge number of menu bar items to choose from, but some do. This can lead to some items disappearing behind the notch, out of view.

The problem may be compounded if you’re using a scaled display mode that makes on-screen elements larger. Older versions of apps that aren’t yet optimized for the redesign suffer the most.

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How to Avoid Hiding Menu Bar Items on Mac

Apple has provided a workaround that you can toggle on a per-app basis. If you notice an app has its menu bar items obscured by the notch, open Finder and head to your Applications folder.

Choose the application that needs a notch fix.

If you have removed Applications from your favorites you can get there by clicking Go > Applications in the menu bar (don’t worry, Finder isn’t affected by the notch). Find the app in question and right-click on it and choose “Get Info” or select it and use the keyboard shortcut Command+i.

"Get Info" selection in Finder

In the window that appears, check the “Scale to Fit Below Built-in Camera” checkbox to enable the feature. Note that our example above uses Photoshop alternative Affinity Photo, an app already updated to account for the notch that is unaffected by the issue.

Toggle "Scale to fit below built-in camera" for an application on macOS Monterey

Joseph Todaro of Sketch demonstrated the feature on Twitter in a video that uses the not-yet-updated Maxon Cinema 4D as an example.

Only apps that are affected by the issue will demonstrate any changes. If the app’s menu bar items fit comfortably to the left of the notch, nothing will change.

Notch a Problem

The notch is probably the biggest sticking point for many new MacBook Pro shoppers. It could be argued that the blowout about the notch is a lot of fuss over nothing since this is the first MacBook Pro in years that many professionals will want to buy.

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Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He has covered a wide range of topics including Apple, security, productivity tips, gaming and more for publications like How-To Geek, Zapier, and MakeUseOf.
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