Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X > Programmatically hiding and unhiding the menubar in El Capitan

Programmatically hiding and unhiding the menubar in El Capitan

As my colleague @quovadimus82 has previously documented, OS X El Capitan includes a new option for showing and hiding the menubar.

This option is available in System Preferences, in the General preferences.

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 8 46 21 AM

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 8 46 27 AM


It is also possible to use the defaults command to set the menubar’s behavior. Here’s how you can set the menubar to be hidden and unhidden using defaults:

To hide:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain _HIHideMenuBar -bool true

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 8 48 08 AM


To show:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain _HIHideMenuBar -bool false

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 8 48 31 AM


Once run, logout and log back in to see the change in behavior. Alternatively, you can run the following command as the logged-in user to restart Finder and show the changes:

killall Finder

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 8 48 53 AM

  1. Alan
    October 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Hello Rich,

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. Nearly every Mac Sys Admin has used your site at least once.

    I like this write up, but am curious if its possible to decrease the delay so the menu bar appears instantly, just like its possible with the dock like so:

    defaults write com.apple.dock autohide -bool true && defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0 && defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0 && killall Dock

    Thanks again


  2. hsm2237
    December 13, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Agreed Alan, have you found any way to reveal the menu bar faster with a terminal code? Thanks!!

  3. Ian Douglas
    December 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I wish there was a way to mouse over the top bar and it reveals and sticks, and mouse over again and it disappears and stays disappears until you repeat the same. I like that I can hide it, but when I reveal it I want it to stay. I know I could do this Terminal commands, but I’ll love to be able to do it with a flick of the cursor to the top bar.

  4. Matt
    June 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Trying to figure out a way to deploy this to the built-in Guest User in macOS. From what I have researched, may not be possible. Using JAMF Pro.

  5. December 2, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Tried on Catalina but doesn’t seem to work smoothly. However this Applescript method works by toggling the setting on/off and does it neatly in the background without need to kill Finder (I don’t want to mess up with open Finder windows).


    You could check for the state of the setting first to decide if it’s on or not if you need so with:

    defaults read NSGlobalDomain _HIHideMenuBar

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