Distracted by your menu bar? If you want a stylish iOS-like black menu bar in Mac OS X but don’t want to go all out with an iOS / Mac desktop, you should grab Nocturne, it’s free and adds some pizazz to your Mac desktop.
Nocturne actually serves several other purposes intended to make the Mac display more usable at night, but we’re going to skip those features and just use it to turn the menu bar black so it looks like iOS. This should take you about 2 minutes total, so here’s how to do it:
How to Turn the Menu Bar Black in Mac OS X
- Download Nocturne 2.0 from Google Code (it’s free and open source)
- Launch Nocturne, ignore “Switch to night” and everything else. From the apps preferences, disable every option except for “Invert menu bar” near the bottom of the preferences
- Optional if you use a very colorful background: Disable the “Translucent menu bar” in System Preferences > Desktop & Screensaver, this keeps the menu bar text white on black, and the menu bar black without any funky inverted coloration
You probably noticed by now that the black menu bar is achieved just by inverting the screen. Depending on what your background wallpaper is you may want to tweak some of the other settings to maintain a true black menu bar rather than just having an inverted version of whatever colors are shown through the transparency.
When it’s all said and done, this is what it looks like:
You can also use Nocturne with the “Dim when inactive” feature to achieve an appearance similar to auto-hiding the menu bar in Mac OS X, although it just fades in and out rather than the slide in-and-out manner of the hiding Dock. I find the black menu bar is a better solution than hiding or dimming for practical purposes, but try them yourself.
I really like the way the black menu bar looks, it’s out of the way and very iOS-like. If you feel like going off the deep of the iPad-ization of your Mac, you can make Mac OS X look like iOS by using a series of tweaks and customizations to the Finder.