Apple's MacBook Pro camera notch causes issues with menu and status options

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,452   +1,030
Staff member
Editor's take: When Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro, my first thought was, "All right. Who the heck asked Apple to bring the iPhone notch to its laptops?" Indeed, in its effort to bring users an "edge-to-edge" display, it compromises the screen by fitting it with a camera notch.

Apple was quick in patting itself on the back over adding a camera notch to the MacBook Pro. However, its shortcomings seem shortsighted, such as the sensor cluster not containing the necessary components to allow Face ID. Furthermore, users are now finding that it creates real problems that the iPhone never encountered. In certain instances, status bar and menu items can get hidden behind the notch and become inaccessible.

Quinn Nelson of Snazzy Labs points out that certain apps with extended menu items, such as iStat Menus, are essentially broken as the notch will hide those items leaving no way to select them. Apple has added developer guidelines for working around the gap, but iStat developer Django tweeted that the guidance provided by Apple does nothing to address the problem.

In other apps, such as an un-updated version of DaVinci Resolve, the menu items move to the other side of the notch, and the cursor will not enter that area. This behavior seems to be a macOS level protection that prevents the cursor and menu items from entering the notch's domain.

However, the implementation is not consistent across macOS. As 9to5Mac notes, even in Finder, the cursor can go behind the notch. Furthermore, moving additional menu items from the left side of the sensor cluster to the right presents a problem with displaying the status icons.

Aside from the obvious problems of the MacBook Pro's notch, the lack of consistency on how it is handled between apps creates a frustrating situation for developers and users. It is almost as if Apple did not think things through when either adding the notch to the hardware or patching macOS to accommodate for it. Leaving developers to fend for themselves in dealing with it seems unfair and leaves users wondering how their favorite apps will contend with the issue, if at all.

Fortunately, for most applications, it should not pose a serious issue. The problem only occurs when the software has a lot more menu items than is typical. Still, it is clearly something that Apple needs to address internally or with developers to ensure a consistent app experience no matter what software its users are running.

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Posts: 51   +51
I bet the next macbook will still have a notch and this issue will cause Apple to add a scroll down menu at the end of the menu to select hidden menu options.
That or editors will have to tank the changes and limit the number of options in the menus in their softwares.
Anyway, software compatibility never was a thing for Apple, there are still a lot of softwares that can't run on M1.


Posts: 302   +206
This is stupid. They said they raised the pixelheight on both sides of the notch instead of taking pixels away!? However I guess the top bar is at the top 😂


Posts: 2,088   +3,994
I honestly think Apple thought that by making the current M1 Pro and Max laptops with all the necessary ports, regular function keys and capable horse power right out of the gate they made em too good for people that wanted them, so they added the notch just so they can have a future version take it away and congratulate themselves for listening to the pros.

Sounds supremely stupid, but this is the same company that took function keys (Oh and a keyboard that actually works and doesn't stops working when tiny debris gets inside) and basically all ports away in the first place.


Posts: 985   +738
People have the audacity to criticise for M/S not to test 100 000 permutations.
I mean you would expect a 1 person operation would test this it this was their design .

Surely Apple does even need to build a laptop with a notch to test this .
yes I understand scrolling a photo would up - you wouldn't do a adjustment for notch . Still status lines, ribbons , headers or whatever are normally frozen .
I can see think of 4 solutions - off the top my head in 5 seconds
1) only use both sides - shrink font if whole line needed by % notch takes
2) unseen bit is shown underneath when cursor moves to notch
3) if too much conflict - drop status lines to below the notch level .
4) because you are apple force companies to reprogram their software - with a flag set to true it notched . Apple should of already changed it for their stuff
5) repurpose sides or bottom in options as MS allows on some windows


Posts: 372   +657
I volunteer to become Apple’s new “Chief Notch Tester” for all future products. I have a lot of experience dealing with all sorts of notches.


Posts: 3,728   +4,100
This is typical Apple. They don't want to admit notch is a stupid idea and everyone has moved away from it so they double down like it's a signature look and put it everywhere.


Posts: 313   +203
It is almost as if Apple did not think things through when either adding the notch to the hardware or patching macOS to accommodate for it.

I'd say this is what happens when you have a knee-jerk reaction to customers wanting zero bezels. Well, where are you gonna put the camera? I suppose you could go with the up-your-nose cam like Dell.

Personally, I think the notch is dumb, just have enough bezel on top of the screen to put the camera and whatever other sensors you think you need. It's such a small space I don't see any reason to go with the notch.


Posts: 333   +317
I'd bet my right hand that if Apple released the exact same MBP but without the notch (having a slightly thicker but uniform top bezel) alongside this notched MBP, the no-notch MBP would sell far, far better.


Posts: 82   +51
Apple is getting worst every year with sloppy software development, hardware issues and more. Apple seems to be pushing more quantity than quality. Surely Apple's talent is dwindling.

Tim Cook needs to be kicked out and replaced with a quality CEO.
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