Secondary menus

Secondary menus are located in the header bar and include menu items for the current view or content item. This differentiates them from primary menus, which include menu items that relate to an entire application (such as Preferences and About "Name").

When to use

Secondary menus can be used to host controls that relate to a particular content item which is being displayed in the application window (such as a document, contact, conversation or photo). They are typically used in combination with in-window navigation or sidebar lists, since both these arrangements feature separate views or areas for content items to be shown.

Secondary menus are optional and only need to be used if there are enough controls to require a menu.


  • Secondary menus generally shouldn't reproduce menu items that are included in primary menus, like Preferences and About. However, it can sometimes be useful to show Help.

  • The standard guidelines for menus can be followed when designing secondary menus.

  • A secondary menu is contained within a popover. As such, a header bar menu can include a variety of controls, such as groups of buttons.

  • Secondary menus shouldn’t include menu items for close or quit.