Can’t tolerate the MacBook Pro notch? Here’s how to make living with it easier
Apple revealed new professional laptops earlier this month during its “Unleashed” Mac event. These new MacBook Pro models come with a notch, similar to that on Face ID iPhones. However, the new MacBook Pro models don’t include a TrueDepth camera, so they’re still equipped with Touch ID rather than Face ID. Plenty of users have complained online about the notch, so here’s how to make living with it a tad easier.
The notch’s history
Apple first introduced the notch with the iPhone X, back in September 2017. And of course, users everywhere started complaining about how intrusive it looks. It was essential for Apple to include it to house the TrueDepth camera system, sensors, and earpiece speaker. People tend to focus on the little inconvenience, rather than the bigger picture — you’re getting more screen real estate, thanks to the notch. The notch slowly became the Ugly Duckling of phone features — they turned it into a meme, and even Samsung posted a video to mock it. Android devices like the Pixel 3 XL also copied it, because of course.
In September 2021, Apple revealed the iPhone 13 lineup, which included a horizontally shorter notch. That was the first change to occur to the notch since its initial introduction in 2017. The smaller notch didn’t bring any significant improvements because the same number of icons still appeared in the status bar. So the few extra millimeters of screen iPhone 13 users gained are only noteworthy when watching full-screen content, where the media expands across the screen edges.
The next appearance for the notch on Apple’s timeline was a month after the iPhone event. The big brains at Cupertino revealed notched 14 and 16 inch MacBook Pro models. However, these MacBooks don’t support Face ID. At first, you’d think that that would beat the purpose of the notch. If you think of the extra display space you’re getting, though, you might realize that it’s actually worth it. Assuming you can’t tolerate it, here are a few handy solutions to get over it.
How to make the notch on the MacBook Pro 2021 less notch-y
The official solution-ish
According to 9to5Mac, the new MacBook Pro models include a new feature called “Scale to fit below built-in camera.” This option can be found in the Get Info menu of macOS apps. It’s off by default, as most apps play nicely with the notch. However, if an app is misbehaving and showing menus/icons behind the notch, then toggling it is a good idea.
This feature shrinks your MacBook’s display, so digital black bars emerge from all sides. You end up with a smaller screen, but the notch will no longer be in the way. To see it in action, check the video that follows:
Good news for notch haters! If you’ve got an app (or apps) with menus that collide with the notch, just Get Info on the app, and enable “Scale to fit below built-in camera”.
— Joseph from Sketch (@Jatodaro) October 27, 2021
If you’re more bothered by the notch than the black, thick, digital bezels and smaller screen, then this solution is what you’re looking for.
The third-party semi-solution
Forehead is a new app created by Jordi Bruin. It turns your MacBook Pro’s menu bar into a black one, so the notch doesn’t stand out as obviously. However, this app doesn’t address the issue where too many menus/icons present end up sitting beneath the notch. So some content might still be hidden behind the notch on certain unoptimized apps. This app merely adds a black layer behind the menubar. To see it in action, check the video that follows:
I made a little app for all the Notch haters out there, Forehead!
It allows you to make the menu bar on your new MacBook Pro completely black, so you’ll never have to get annoyed at all those extra pixels ever again!
Get it here:https://t.co/QNtbRoF0Fe
PS. I like the Notch 🤫 pic.twitter.com/7t7AniJAPo
— Jordi Bruin (@jordibruin) October 20, 2021
The ultimate (not) solution
Jordan Singer has developed an app called Split Screen. It is designed specifically for notched MacBooks and offers a subtle solution to get rid of the intrusive notch. This app hides the notch by placing a vertical black bar that splits your Mac screen into two equal halves. This app is so special because it makes you feel like you own two Macs, rather than one. The developer has made sure the corners are well-rounded, so each half looks like a separate, independent screen. The attention to detail is similar to that of Apple’s — flawless — so you won’t be able to tell it’s a third-party solution. To see what it looks like, check the Tweet that follows:
everyone’s trying to “hide the notch”
so I made a Mac app called “Split Screen” to do just that: pic.twitter.com/001kotIrMj
— Jordan Singer (@jsngr) October 27, 2021
What I personally think of the notch
I haven’t gotten my hands on the new MacBook Pro yet, but I have a few comments based on what I’ve seen so far — photos, videos, and reviews. The notch isn’t all that bad, but there’s a herd mentality on online forums and spaces. One person complains about a new change in the tech world, and it sort of becomes a new cool trend to adopt. So people start jumping on the bandwagon just for the sake of it. Some people legitimately can’t stand the notch, and that’s okay. However, most average users adapt just fine.
The iPhone notch
I’ve been using a notched iPhone for a few years now. Before I made the purchase, I was worried the notch will always be in the way, like when you become visually aware of your nose and it just won’t fade out of focus again. I can safely say the notch doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I don’t see it. Yes, it’s there, but our brains and eyes adapt. As a result, we get Face ID and an edge-to-edge display. Personally, I think the compromise is worth it.
The MacBook Pro notch
When it comes to the new MacBook Pro models, things get tricky. Face ID isn’t included, so the notch is only for the sake of extra screen space. You’re getting less out of the intrusive notch. However, if you do the maths, you’re getting a bigger display without actually losing anything. The space the notch occupies used to be a physical bezel on older MacBook models. The bezel has been eliminated, for the most part, except for this tiny camera space.
I think people are making a big deal out of something that will just eventually become the new norm. No one is having any issues with Face ID iPhones, and once this wave of online complaints passes, things will return to normal. People will adapt, and possibly other manufacturers will start adopting the notched laptop design on a wider scale.
Yes, the notch does look out of place at first glance, but I think the “Scale to fit below built-in camera” feature is an effective solution for unoptimized apps. When developers follow Apple’s new guidelines and optimize their apps, none of the menus/icons will hide beneath the notch. It’s just a matter of time. Apple could possibly add other solutions for those who still can’t tolerate it in future macOS releases, too.
What do you think of the notch on the new MacBook Pro models? Let us know in the comments section below.