How to Conceal the Notch on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

The latest MacBook models boast impressive features such as Apple’s own M1 chips (and now M2 chips with the latest iterations), Universal Control compatibility, improved keyboards, and more. However, these new MacBook Pro and Air models also come with a divisive element that many users aren’t fond of: the notch.

The notch, which highlights the MacBook’s camera, is a conspicuous black rectangle that encroaches upon the laptop’s display, causing distraction and dissatisfaction for many users. It’s perplexing why this design choice was made, but fear not, as there are ways to effectively hide the notch and make it less of an eyesore. Here are some tried-and-true methods.

How to Conceal the Notch on MacBooks

Step 1: Opt for Full-Screen Mode

One peculiar yet effective solution is to switch to full-screen mode when using apps. To do this, locate Apple’s window-control buttons in the upper-left corner of the app window. The rightmost button features a green circle with small arrows pointing outward. Clicking on this button will expand the app to its full-screen version, automatically replacing the notch with a larger app window. To exit full-screen mode, hover in the upper-left corner to reveal the buttons again or use the Control + Command + F shortcut on your keyboard.

Keep in mind that this method primarily works with Apple’s native apps. If you’re using a third-party app on your MacBook Air or Pro, it may not have the notch-replacing capability.

The menu buttons on the Mail app.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Adjust App Scaling

Suppose the notch is actively obstructing a part of the app you need to use or making the app’s appearance less appealing overall. In that case, you can make some adjustments to alleviate the issue without entirely hiding the notch. Open Finder, navigate to your Applications folder, and locate the app either alphabetically or by using the search function.

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Right-click on the app and select the “Get info” option. This will open a window with various options. Look for the “Scale to fit” option below the built-in camera box and ensure that it is selected. Close the “Get info” window and reopen your app, which should now sit just below the notch.

Choose to scale the app below the camera notch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Utilize TopNotch

If the notch continues to irk you, there is a more radical solution: Install the TopNotch app. TopNotch is a dedicated application designed to hide the notch and offers the best overall protection against its presence.

You can download the TopNotch app for free here. It requires macOS 11.0 or a newer version, which shouldn’t be an issue for most users. After installation, launch the app and enable it. TopNotch will then add a black bar across the top of your display, effectively concealing the notch. Despite the bar’s presence, you will still be able to see and access all of your menu items at the top of the screen. TopNotch works seamlessly in the background, whether you’re using an app or not. It also supports Dynamic Desktop wallpapers, so you won’t lose any of those features.

If you prefer a more rounded aesthetic, the app even provides an option to enable rounded corners. Moreover, if you connect an external monitor to your MacBook, rest assured that TopNotch will work seamlessly with it, ensuring you never have to lay eyes on the dreaded notch again.

TopNotch home screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now that you’ve solved your notch problem, why not explore ways to optimize your MacBook further? Check out our guide to the best MacBook Pro accessories to enhance your experience, or browse our selection of high-quality cases and covers for the MacBook Air.

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