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What are Triggers in Bartender 5 and how do they improve MacOS Sonoma?

If you've added Bartender to help keep your MacOS Menu Bar neat and tidy, you might want to use Triggers to add automated actions for an even more helpful experience.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

Bartender has become a permanent fixture in MacOS for me. The primary reason why I've added it to MacOS is to keep my Menu Bar free from an onslaught of icons that I have to occasionally interact with. 

With those icons hidden from sight, there's one small issue -- the battery percentage indicator is hidden from me. Because of that situation, I'm unaware of how much battery I have left. Fortunately, the developer of Bartender thought of such a situation and added Triggers. Triggers are exactly what they sound like -- actions that are triggered when a certain event happens. You can add Triggers for apps, battery, location, time, a script, or a Wi-Fi connection.

Also: MacBook Pro (M3 Max) review: A desktop-class laptop for an AI-powered age

Let's stick with my scenario. Say, for instance, you want to be able to see the battery percentage indicator when your battery hits 50%. When that condition occurs, Bartender will automatically show the battery indicator until the battery is charged above 50%. It's a simple action that can prevent you from running out of juice, while still keeping your Menu Bar nice and clean, as Bartender will only reveal the battery percentage indicator and not the other icons in the Menu Bar.

Also: Upgrading to MacOS Sonoma? Do these 7 things first

Let me show you how to add that particular Trigger to Bartender.

How to add your first Trigger to Bartender

What you'll need: To make this tactic work, you'll need Bartender installed on MacOS. I'll demonstrate the process with Bartender 5 on an Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pro running MacOS Sonoma. 

Also: How to declutter and personalize your MacOS Sonoma Menu Bar

You can use the trial version of Bartender, as it is not feature-locked.

1. Open Bartender

The first thing you must do is open Bartender from the Launchpad. With the app open, click the Triggers tab in the sidebar and then click Add Trigger.

The Bartender 5 Triggers tab.

There are plenty of other features you can configure in Bartender 5.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Configure the Trigger

In the resulting popup, give your Trigger a name (such as Battery 50%) and select Default for the Preset.

The Trigger basic configuration pop-up.

Make sure to give your Trigger a descriptive name.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Select the Battery Menu Bar item

Click Select menu bar items, and click the checkbox for Battery. After making the selection, click Done.

The Bartender Menu Bar items selector.

You can select as many Menu Bar items as you like, but you'll probably want to limit this selection to the Battery entry.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Configure the Battery condition

Click Add Trigger Condition and, from the dropdown, select Battery. This will add the Battery condition section to your Trigger. From the When dropdown, select battery is less than, and then change the Battery charge slider to 50% (or whatever percentage you want to serve as your Trigger).

The full Trigger configuration window.

Configure the Battery percentage to meet your specific needs.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you've taken care of that step, click Done. Your Trigger is complete. Now, when you battery is less than 50%, the battery icon will appear in the Menu Bar to keep you apprised of when you need to seek a charge.

Also: How to create a web app in MacOS Sonoma (and why)

I've grown quite fond of Bartender. Not only does it keep my Menu Bar clutter-free, the tool also makes it possible to be alerted when certain Triggers are met. Give this feature a try and see if the benefits of Bartender are enough that you'll be willing to pay $16.00 to continue using the tool after the trial expires.

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