Why You Can’t Hide or Remove Your WordPress Admin Bar / Toolbar

Did you come here hoping to find out how to remove your WordPress Admin Bar in the backend?

Sorry, that’s not possible.


Well, first off, there is no more “Admin Bar.” What was called the “Admin Bar” is now called the “Toolbar” since Version 3.3.

So that’s the first reason why you can’t remove it: It’s already been removed. But that’s not just some sort of smart alec answer. They didn’t just change the name. They changed its functionality as well. It’s a different animal now. And so if you find an old post somewhere about removing the “Admin Bar,” it won’t do you any good.

OK, Fine. How do I Remove the Toolbar?

So now you’re probably wondering how to hide the Toolbar.

Double sorry. That’s not possible either — at least not in the admin area of your site … or so it would seem (more on that later).

What you can do, however, is remove the Toolbar from the frontend of your site (i.e. for the public portion of your site), and so if that’s all you’re looking to do, there’s an easy fix for you.

We’ll go ahead and get to that now, and then afterward we’ll go into why you can’t hide the Toolbar in the backend.


Hiding the Toolbar on the Frontend of Your Site

If you are looking to hide the Toolbar on the front end of your site for yourself only (i.e. not for all logged in visitors to your site), then simply go to Users > Your Profile > (uncheck) Show Toolbar when viewing site.


If you would like to hide the Toolbar on the frontend for ALL logged in users, then the Global Hide/Remove Toolbar Plugin will let you do that.

Here’s a look at the settings for the plugin.

And here’s an example of the frontend of a site with and without the Toolbar.

Is it Impossible to Remove the Toolbar?

So, as mentioned above, supposedly the new Toolbar is meant to be impossible to remove. The reason for this is that the new Toolbar is a combination between the old Admin Bar and the Dashboard Header. If you remove the Toolbar, then you are effectively removing the Dashboard Header, which is something the folks at WordPress don’t think you should be doing.

Why was this done? Jane Wells from the “lead team” explains it in this comment:

We’ve long had issues with how much vertical space was taken up by the dashboard header, duplication between the optional admin bar and dashboard header, and people (largely less savvy but greater in number) who are still just flummoxed by how the dashboard and a live site are connected. We’ve gradually moved toward replacing the dashboard header with something slimmer. The “toolbar” is really the new double-sided header (front + back ends), NOT the new admin bar.

It can’t be turned off in the dash because it is the dashboard header. It can be turned off on the live site because you’re not in the dashboard, so you don’t *need* the header.


So is it REALLY Impossible to Remove?

You know clever WordPressians: don’t tell them something is impossible.

I have looked for a workaround to this “prohibition,” and I did run across a few “solutions,” but none of them seemed to work when I tried them. Maybe at one time they did work. But they didn’t work for me.

So, even though it’s supposed to be impossible to remove the new Toolbar, I’m guessing that someone out there either has a solution or is working on one.

If you know of anything that’s working for you, let us know in the comments.

(Note: Removing the Toolbar from the backend will remove options that are available only on the Toolbar and nowhere else – such as the Logout link or the Network Admin link for Multisites.)

Photo: Yank That Nail (mistakes Happen)from BigStock

4 Responses

  • Thabk you for an extremely concise account; on my case, like many others I had looked for an explanation of this horrific weirdness and came across much the same by looking into trac and core ( places I have no interest in exploring ), but you sum it up best.

    For the record, I don’t think there is any point in using plugins and add-ons indefinitely of any type to cure this: at some point things will get ugly and maintenance will be impossible if you heep on fighting against the dictatorial machine. Instead I took the advice of those in wp.org support forums and just stopped upgrading completely until there is a version without a toolbar ( and without inefficient fly-out menus ), or until I can discover a CMS without toolbars that I can convert all my WordPress installs — probably not Drupal, since WordPress copied the repulsive toolbar from Drupal ( although I think it may be optional over there ). People may find it best to do this, risking losing a website temporarily is better than another vulgar bar hanging over the admin box…

    I’m just hanging on in the hope there will very soon be a Fork of WordPress without these ghastly things…

  • Hey-o,

    To disable the front end admin bar for all users, in your template files, add the following html code under the wp_head(); before the end of your head tag.

    #wpadminbar { display:none; }
    html { margin-top: 0px !important; }
    * html body { margin-top: 0px !important; }

    Goofy. Tit for tat, trump method. Hurts my soul but i try to use as few plugins as possible for security.

  • Flash Drive

    On the frontend there is:
    add_filter(‘show_admin_bar’, ‘__return_false’);

    You can add that to your themes functions.php file and it will remove the admin bar.

    On the backend I created a plugin for myself that enqueues my own javascript file. I am then using the jQuery .remove() method to completely remove the admin bar from the file.

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