Five menu bar apps for your Mac

I received my Apple MacBook Pro 14" laptop (maxed out with M1 Max silicon, all the cores, and 32Gb RAM) just before Christmas. During the break, I asked on Twitter which apps people had bought most recently and—following those suggestions—here are five menu bar apps I installed on my new Mac.

1. Cardhop

I love Flexibits’ Fantastical, so Cardhop was an instant buy. Cardhop integrates with Exchange, Google, iCloud, and Office 365 and puts all your contacts one press away in the menu bar. You can initiate calls or emails from the app and if you use Fantastical, you can also invite people to calendar events. Best of all are the cross-platform widgets. I now have a widget containing my favourite contacts on both my Mac and iPhone and these widgets stay in sync across my devices. There’s a 14 day trial available, but knowing how good Flexibits’ software is, I stumped up for the full version right away.

2. Cascadea

Cascadea isn’t a menu bar item, it’s an app which comes bundled with a Safari extension. It allows you to write CSS rules which will change the appearance of all websites or even adjust styles on a specific website. Cascadea includes a CSS editor with autocompletion, code folding, and syntax highlighting. And, on top of that, Cascadea never tracks your browsing habits or history.

3. Colorslurp

Colorslurp is (apparently) “The best Mac color picker in the universe!” and “the ultimate color tool for developers and designers.” It’s a colour picker you can activate from the Mac menu bar and allows you to pick colours from anywhere on the screen. You can capture and adjust colour values in HEX, HSB, HSL, RGB, and CMYK. Then, you can save colour palettes into collections. Colorslurp includes a very handy tool for seeing Complementary and other colour combinations. Even handier is a tool for checking colour contract accessibility to WCAG standards. Some of these features are Pro-only, but they’re well worth the small cost.

4. HazeOver

HazeOver is a menu bar app which dims background windows by an amount you specify. This can help reduce distractions and focus your attention on the active window. If you’re using apps with multiple windows and don’t want dimming, you can disable it on a per-app basis or for all windows of an active app. There are also different settings for dark and light modes.

5. Magnet

Magnet is a window manager which can be activated by dragging windows to various parts of the screen, with keyboard shortcuts, or via the Mac menu bar. You can drag windows to the corners and Magnet will snap them into quarters. Dragging them to the side edges will arrange windows horizontally and vertically.

Bonus mention: Notchmeister

If you have a 14" or 16" MacBook Pro like I have, you have a notch. After using these new laptops for a few minutes, you’ll quickly forget it’s there. But, why not make it more interesting? That’s where Notchmeister comes in, offering five types of fun, but useless notch animations including my favourite Cylon. Notchmeister is free from the Mac App Store.


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