Skip to main content

Here’s why people are fearing for the future of this beloved Mac app

The Bartender app being shown in use in macOS.
Bartender

Bartender, a popular menu bar customization app for macOS with a long history, was quietly acquired by new developers sometime in the past few months. With no word from the app’s original creator or the new owners about the transition, MacUpdater sent out the following alert warning users of the situation.

“The company and developer behind Bartender was replaced in a silent and dubious manner — updates to version 5.0.52 and newer are your own risk and responsibility.”

This sparked a long Reddit thread where the company behind MacUpdater shared more information about its decision to put out the alert. The first warning sign was blog entries on the Bartender website changing from developer-written posts to SEO articles possibly written by ChatGPT. Next, the code signatures on new releases of the app changed — first to “App Sub 1 LLC,” a company with just a few random iOS apps and a highly suspicious website to its name, and then to a newly formed “Bartender App LLC.” Emails to the original owner were returned as undeliverable, and the Bartender website and support channel didn’t provide any information about the acquisition.

As if this weren’t suspicious enough, the first response from the new owners came in the form of a comment on this very Reddit thread — under the not-so-professional username “Ordinary_Delivery_79.” In the comment, they claim to have mentioned the acquisition on their blog and in support emails to customers — but as other Redditors are quick to point out, no one knows who they are or what “their blog” is. One user also posts a screenshot of their own support email, which doesn’t mention the new owners at all.

As reported by MacRumors, MacUpdater also mentioned that it has been looking into the app to check for malicious code and has yet to find any. But users remain worried because the app has permission for screen recording, which can be a huge security risk if the developers aren’t trustworthy.

More recent comments in the thread identify Applause Group, Inc. as possible new owners, a company dedicated to buying apps and expanding their distribution. According to information on its FAQ page, it appears the company doesn’t focus on continued development of the apps it buys, believing that “users don’t want (or need) big overhauls on the products that they already love.”

Until the new owners put out a more official explanation, though, the situation is still up in the air. Many commenters on the Reddit thread have decided to delete the app for the time being, while others are refusing the update and staying with the older version. There are also people who just want to see these kinds of features integrated in the next version of macOS. Hopefully we’ll hear something official soon.

Editors' Recommendations

Willow Roberts
Willow Roberts is a contributor at Digital Trends, specialising in computing topics. She has a particular interest in Apple…
4 high-end features Windows laptops still have over MacBooks
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 9 top down view showing tablet and pen.

Apple's MacBook lineup has exploded over the last several years, with its Silicon chipsets offering class-leading performance and efficiency. The MacBook Pro, in particular, is faster than many Windows laptops, longer-lasting than most, and has an excellent mini-LED display. There are many good reasons to choose a MacBook over a Windows laptop in today's market.

But all isn't lost for the Windows platform. Even aside from the upcoming Snapdragon X Elite laptops that look to be competitive, there are still some more basic features that you can only get on a Windows laptop at the moment. Here are the four that I keep coming back to.
Windows Hello

Read more
Stop using these default Mac apps — trust me
A person using a MacBook Air connected to two monitors.

Apple makes a huge variety of its own Mac apps, and some of them are among the best Mac apps you can get. The problem is that while many of them are pretty excellent, that’s not the case for every last one -- some are middling while others are worth avoiding altogether.

Whatever the case, you might be looking for an alternative to Apple’s built-in Mac apps. Here, we’ve catalogued the apps we think you should replace first, and suggested which third-party apps you should swap them out for. That should bring you more features and an all-around better Mac experience.
Calculator (use PCalc instead)
The PCalc app in macOS Sonoma Digital Trends

Read more
4 video editors you should use instead of Adobe Premiere Pro
Someone using the Surface Laptop Studio 2 with Adobe Premiere Pro.

Adobe Premiere Pro is the go-to video editor for many, and it's no wonder. It's an extremely powerful utility with a massive community of users and developers that works both on Windows and Mac. Not only do you get an extensive list of features and tools within the app itself but also the backing of hundreds of third-party plugins and tutorials. There's just one problem: It's expensive.

You'll spend $23 per month just for Premiere Pro. If you need any other Adobe App -- be it Adobe Media Encoder, Photoshop, or After Effects -- you'll spend $60 month, and that's if you commit to subscribing for a year. Adobe's Creative Cloud suite, including Premiere Pro, is powerful, but there are some alternatives that let you get your foot in the door for much less. Here are four Premiere Pro alternatives you should consider.
DaVinci Resolve

Read more