Big Sur made a big overhaul of macOS by introducing a lot of aesthetic and design changes, particularly with the Desktop. When you open your Mac, you won’t notice the changes right away, but you can see the difference in design and layout. macOS 11 Big Sur has taken the opportunity to refresh Mac’s interface to give it a more modern look. This has lead to some speculation that Apple is probably preparing macOS for the next phase of user input, such as a Mac touchscreen.
Some of the major changes in Big Sur involves the menu bar. In the previous versions of macOS, you’ll see the menu bar at the top of the Desktop, with various icons to help you access settings that you need quickly and easily toggle between open apps. In the old design, you will find in the menu bar the battery percentage, Wi-Fi icon, keyboard menu, date and time, Spotlight, account profile, and notifications. You can even add other third-party apps in the menu bar, such as your Mac cleaner or your media player.
The menu bar is located at the top of the screen in the older versions of macOS, and you have the option to hide it when not in use, so as to maximize your screen real estate. In this guide, we’ll discuss the changes to the menu bar and how to turn off automatic hiding of the menu bar in macOS Big Sur 11.
Menu Bar Changes in macOS Big Sur
With macOS Catalina and older macOS versions, the right side of the menu bar is divided into three main categories: Spotlight and Notifications on the farthest end, System Preference panes, and quick menus for third-party apps to conveniently access the app features. One of the most popular items on the menu bar is a digital clock, which can be set to display the time and date in various formats.
Now with macOS Big Sur, there are many changes to the menu bar that you probably won’t notice unless you intentionally explore this aspect. If you look at the menu bar, you’ll see that the icons are more spread with more space between each icon. This way, the menu bar doesn’t look cramped and you can easily spot the menu item that you want to access. The dropdown menu also has more space between the listed items.
The menu bar items in Big Sur have also been redesigned. For instance, you’ll notice that the Wi-Fi menu bar has been reorganized. Now, you will see your preferred networks listed above and all the other available area networks listed in the Other Networks section. The third-party items in the menu bar should look like they did previously, except for developers who redesigned their UI.
Turn Off Automatic Hiding of Menu Bar in Mac
One of the subtle changes in the latest macOS version is that the menu bar in Big Sur automatically hides. In previous versions, the menu bar is displayed on top of the screen by default, but you can configure it to be automatically hidden. You can turn this on or off in the System Preferences > General window. Just tick off Automatically hide and show the menu bar. This lets you maximize your entire screen, which is ideal for watching videos or working on projects that require a big screen.
But if you prefer to have the menu bar displayed on your desktop all the time, you can turn this feature off in Big Sur. But to stop automatic hiding of the menu bar in Big Sur, you don’t have to go to the System Preference > General window. This configuration has now been moved to the Dock & Menu Bar system preference. This window also looks a lot different from the General system preference window since it incorporates all settings for both the Dock and the Menu bar items.
To turn off the automatic hiding of the menu bar, scroll down to the Menu Bar section below, then uncheck the Automatically hide and show the menu bar option. The Dock & Menu Bar system preference window actually makes it easier to configure all the items located on your Desktop because they are all in one place.
In older macOS, you’ll find that the controls for the menu items used to be dispersed across many different windows. With macOS Big Sur, the Dock & Menu Bar pane now controls the Control Centre, the menu bar, and all the display options for those individual icons.
macOS Big Sur introduces a lot of interface changes to your Mac’s Desktop, such as the hiding of the menu bar. But if you’re not comfortable with a missing menu bar and you want to see everything while working on your Desktop, you can turn off automatic hiding of menu bar in Mac in the Dock & Menu Bar system preference pane. This settings pane also makes it convenient to customize your menu bar because all the controls are located there.