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How To Disable The Second Menu Bar In OS X Mavericks

Posted in How To, OS X on 24/10/2013 by Cormac Moylan

19s

I like the idea of having a second menu bar in OS X Mavericks for when you have a second monitor plugged into your Mac, however, I don’t particularly like Apple’s implementation of this feature.

It’s distracting. The opaque menu bar signifying inactivity is a real eye-sore. Why not just make it fully solid and therefore less distracting? And how come I don’t have the option to control whether it’s solid or opaque?

There is a solution – turn it off.

Disable second menu bar in OS X Mavericks

How to disable the second menu bar in OS X Mavericks: Click on System Preferences > Mission Control > Un-tick “Displays have separate Spaces”. Once your restart your Mac, you will have just a single menu bar. Done.

For more helpful tips, check out our full collection of tutorials by visiting our How-To category!



  • Pat Mahon

    The opaque menubar/s allows the user to quickly see which monitor is displaying the “in focus” app. This is very useful when you start to use two, three & four display setups. I have two large Thunderbolt displays and love being able to just rise from the in-use app to it’s file menu. As opposed to ‘mousing across three and a half foot of screen and then back again.

    Give it a chance. It improves one’s workflow. IMO

  • czarembo

    I really appreciate the distinction between the two monitors by having a visual cue as to which one is active.

    Was I dreaming or wasn’t the dock supposed to appear in both monitors? I only have it in one.

  • Tony the Tech

    I have a monitor looming over my laptop screen when at my desk. I like the displays having separate spaces, but I don’t like the lower screens menubar sitting in the middle of my workspace. I guess you can’t have it both ways…

  • POIMann

    I’m using the second screen to present my slides.
    Your solution worked for me and is very much appreciated!

  • nsfw

    Thanks! I’m with you.

  • Shane Ellis

    I’ve been trying to get rid or the mnu bar on my second screen all day.. THANK YOU!!

  • David Greenwell

    Unfortunately this option has more ramifications than just removing the second menu bar… it reverts back to previous OS’s handling of the second display in that it treats it as a tiled display.
    As such, if you go to full screen mode in an app the second display is grayed out and doesn’t display other apps.
    It seems you can’t have your cake – and eat it!
    Apple needs to implement an option to retain the independent screens but completely hide the menu bar on the inactive screen – rather than just dim it.

    • David Is Wrong

      False. I am doing right now, what you said I could not. Running Maschine in full screen on my slave monitor and Spotify in full screen on the other. NEITHER with menu bars. BUT if I go the top of either, it magically appears. None of that half transparent non-sense. I love Mavericks. And David. You were wrong.

      • David Greenwell

        That’s not my experience. When I run Aperture in full screen it still shows the menu bar on the secondary display.

      • Peter Krnjevic

        I’d love to know how you’re doing this, because I get the same behaviour as David. Please enlighten us.

      • Fred Maxwell

        You’re a snide little pr*ck, aren’t you?

        “on my slave monitor”

        You see that word “my”? David’s not running on your machine and, obviously, his experience was different from yours.

        David’s computer and experience shall be the gold standard on which all statements must be based. Any statement that does not accurately describe the behavior of David’s system shall be considered “false” and “wrong.” Or did you only like that approach when your computer and experience was the standard by which all statements were judged?

        • schnizel

          Maschine with an “S” is an audio production system made in Berlin, a city in Germany. I like pretzels.

          • Fred Maxwell

            That’s very nice, but I was not referring to the software. I was referring to the computer, as in “that’s a serious number-crunching machine you’ve got there.”

  • Lance Koth

    I use Autodesk software for about half my production. Using this suggestion seems to have corrected several issues I have been struggling with for a few days now. Thanks for the tip!

  • Mario Montero

    Thank’s so much….you save my day, I was tried to reinstall mountain lion x again , because my cintiq 12″ didn’t display radial menu in second monitor with Maverick, I uncheck second bar menu, and runs ok…tell me if somebody has same experience with your Cintiq..greetings..:)

  • anon

    It is possible to disable the menu bar transparency for the in-focus desktop. I too found it very annoying, because I want a very plain grey screen for photoshop editing, but want to see the menu bar at the same time. The control is System Preferences – Desktop & Screen Saver – Desktop – Translucent Menu Bar. Turning that off doesn’t affect the transparency on the not-in-focus desktops but does make the in-focus-desktop menu bar a nice opaque plain grey.

  • Ron

    Can’t you just use the “Translucent menu bar” option in the Desktop and Screen Saver System Preference?

  • Hozey

    The second menu bar and a dock on both of my monitors is great. But, when editing html files with a WYSIWYG app such as WebDesign by Rage, I like to position the window where the html code is on the left monitor and the WYSIWYG portion is on the right monitor. WebDesign has both horizontal and vertical scroll bars for both sections. To accomplish what I prefer is impossible without disabling Displays have separate Spaces. Hopefully Apple or a third party will come up with a solution to have the best of both worlds. Isn’t that why we use Macs in the first place?

  • barney59

    Thank you, now if Apple will just return LABELS…

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Cormac Moylan

Cormac is the head honcho behind MacTrast. Based in Cork, Ireland, his first foray into the Apple world was way back in 2006 when he purchased an iMac followed by a Macbook around 4 weeks later. He currently owns a Macbook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and Apple TV. But he prefers to buy watches. Go figure!