The MacBook Pro 2021 notch is already wreaking havoc

MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) sitting on a table
(Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Pro 2021 lineup offers incredible power, a great display, enviable battery life and a plethora of ports. It seems like a dream laptop, except it now looks like macOS's menu bar doesn't play well with the new display notch.

Quinn Nelson took to Twitter to demonstrate an annoying inconsistency with the new laptop's notch. When the menu bar at the top of the display gets filled with options, as can happen with certain apps open, the headings eventually just disappear behind the notch in some cases, making them impossible to see.

You can see this happen when Nelson uses the iStat Menus app.

Confusingly, some apps apparently don't behave like this. In a follow-up tweet, Nelson shows that video editing software DaVinci Resolve will skip your cursor from one side of the notch to the other if approached from the side, or will prevent the cursor from moving underneath the notch.

Most criticisms of the MacBook Pro's new notch have revolved around its intrusive design, but this seems like a greater potential annoyance. The default in macOS seems to be that you can move the cursor under the notch, and have menu headings extend beneath it, too, but there is also apparently a method that developers can use to stop this from happening.

Maybe you could argue that this is an edge case that doesn't interfere with most people's experience of the MacBook Pro. You could even say that it's not Apple's responsibility to make it consistent, and it only has to provide the tools to developers to let them choose how their apps behave with the notch.

On the other hand, though, these are brand-new laptops costing thousands of dollars, and are often going to be users' primary work devices. Given how much they're paying and how important it is that their apps behave consistently and intelligently, they deserve better than this.

Of course, many MacBook Pros are still stuck in limbo due to high demand and limited stock. Hopefully by the time they arrive with users, Apple may have issued an update or developers will have become used to working with the new notched display, making this problem disappear.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.