The ability to free up menu-bar space and rearrange the icons makes Bartender well worth its $15 cost of entry to me; the only drawback is that it puts menu-bar apps two clicks away instead of just one. On a small-screen Mac, though, I think that's a reasonable trade-off to make.
To menu bar or not to menu bar?
Given the issues with menu-bar apps, and the need for a $15 add-on to manage the chaos, is this setup really worth the hassle? For me, the answer is yes. When I'm working, I like to focus on my tasks, and that means keeping my Dock and Command-Tab program switcher populated with just those programs I'm interacting with. Although I use ScreenFlow, TextExpander, and similar apps all the time, I rarely interact with them. For these types of apps, the menu-bar option provides the best mix, giving me instant access to their interfaces when I need them, yet keeping them out of my way while I'm doing my normal work.
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