Mac

Can you change the colour of the Mac Menu Bar?

Mac
On the Menu: change the look of the Menu Bar

The Mac Menu Bar is the thin strip at the top of the screen, with the Apple icon in the far left corner. In recent editions of macOS, it adopts its colour based on the wallpaper – or desktop background in Apple parlance – that sit behinds it. But can you change the colour of the Mac Menu Bar to a hue of your own choice? Let’s find out.

How does the Mac Menu bar get its colour?

As mentioned above, macOS automatically generates the colour of the Menu Bar based on the wallpaper used. It seems to be a variation of the colour at the top of the wallpaper.

Here, for example, you can see the Menu Bar colour is derived from the grey sky.

Mac Menu Bar

But here it’s taken from the blue of the sea:

Mac Menu Bar

In each case, I did nothing – macOS generated the Menu Bar colour by itself. There are no options to alter the Menu Bar colour in the Desktop & Screensaver System Preferences.

How to change the colour of the Mac Menu Bar

There are a couple of ways to do this, although it’s not as simple as simply picking the colour of your choice, sadly.

If you just want to make the Menu Bar easier to read, for the text to stand out from the background more clearly, you can achieve that with macOS’s Accessibility options.

Click the Apple icon in the Menu Bar, then select System Preferences > Accessibility and then choose Display from the pane on the left. Experiment with Reduce transparency and Increase contrast to see what impact they make on the Menu Bar.

Mac Accessibility options

Note that these are system-wide settings, not Menu Bar specific, so you may see other elements (such as the Dock) change in appearance too if you fiddle with contrast and transparency settings here.

If you want to make a more subtle change to the colour of your Mac Menu Bar, try Menu Bar Tint. This tiny utility adds a gradient to the Menu Bar. It doesn’t let you change the colour completely, but it might be enough to make it stand out from the background a bit more.

Menu Bar Tint

If you want full control of the Menu Bar colour and you’re comfortable with installing utilities from the Terminal, you might try ChangeMenuBarColor.

You’ll need the HEX code of the colour you wish to use. It’s also worth reading the Known Issues on the ChangeMenuBarColor Github page linked above. I’ve not tried it myself, but others confirm it works.

Alexa Routine

Reduce the size of a photo on a Mac

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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