MacBook Pro apps or menu bar hidden by the notch? Here's the fix.

"You can adjust an app's settings so that it uses the whole display or uses only the area below the camera housing."

What you need to know

  • Apple's new MacBook Pro features a notch to house its front-facing camera.
  • Early reports indicate it doesn't always play nicely with some apps or the menu bars.
  • Apple has confirmed users can get around this with a handy 'scale to fit' setting.

Following some viral videos yesterday of Apple's new MacBook Pro (2021) displaying some pretty whacky formatting around the notch, Apple has revealed how users can stop apps and menu bar items from disappearing behind the camera housing.

In a new support document Apple states:

Your MacBook Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display features a camera housing built into the screen bezel. If app controls or menu bar items appear blocked or hidden behind the camera housing, you can turn on "Scale to fit below built-in camera" for the app to adjust the active area of your display. This ensures the menu bar and app windows appear below the built-in camera on your Mac and are always visible.

Apple says turning this on will ensure that any apps with items or windows that might have otherwise appeared behind the camera housing will appear below the camera until you stop using the app.

If you have an app that won't play ball, here are the steps Apple says you should follow:

  1. Quit the app.
  2. Click the Finder icon in the Dock, then click Applications in the Finder sidebar.
  3. Select the app, then choose File > Get Info, or press Command-I.
  4. In the Info window that opens, select "Scale to fit below built-in camera."

As you can see from the tweet below, this does work, but there's a trade-off that brings back the MacBook's larger bezels:

Importantly, Apple notes that it has also given developers the tools to stop the notch impeding any information display by their apps. If a developer has activated the correct settings, this scale-to-fit option won't be available to users, as it shouldn't be necessary. Interestingly, the support document Apple published regarding full-screen use around the notch has been taken down. It previously stated:

On Macs that include a camera housing in the screen bezel, the system provides a compatibility mode to prevent apps from unintentionally putting content in the region the housing occupies. When this mode is active, the system changes the active area of the display to avoid the camera housing. The new active area ensures your app's contents are always visible and not obscured by the camera housing. The system only activates this compatibility mode while an app that requires it runs in the current desktop space.

Apple's new MacBook Pro is the best MacBook the company has ever made, although it caused a stir at launch because of its distinctive notch that houses a new 1080p webcam, along with more space for the menu and status bars at the top macOS.

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