How to Enable Appindicator in Gnome Shell

One of the good things about the Unity desktop is the appindicator feature that provides quick access to key parts of your application. For those who are using Ubuntu, but have replaced the Unity desktop with Gnome Shell, one of the frustration is that the appindicator does not work in Gnome Shell. Luckily, with a simple extension, you can now get those appindicator icons to work in Gnome Shell.

Open a browser and go to the Gnome Extensions page.

gnome-extension-appindicator-support

Click the “Off” button to “On” to install the extension in Gnome Shell.

Once activated, you should see the appindicator icons in your system tray. (If you can’t see it, they are probably in the message tray which is hidden at the bottom).

gnome-appindicator-in-system-tray

I have tried it with several appindicators like Skype, Everpad, Psensor and Dropbox, and they all work fine.

According to the developer, the classicmenu-indicator is not working well. The reported problem was that it takes a long time to load and could cause Gnome Shell to freeze forever. Personally, it works fine for me and I have not experienced any issue (yet). However, your mileage may vary. Use it at your own risk!

If you have not installed Gnome Tweak Tool, install it with the command:

Open up Gnome Tweak Tool and go to the “Gnome Shell Extension”. Click the Tool icon beside the extension.

gnome-appindicator-options

In the Options section, you can configure the default position of the appindicator, whether they will appear in the top panel, message tray or hide completely. You can also change the position for individual appindicator.

gnome-appindicator-configuration

Appindicators is one of the best feature in Unity Desktop and I am really glad that you can now use it in Gnome Shell too. Most of the appindicators should work in Gnome Shell. If you come across any appindicator that are not working, do let us know in the comments.

2 comments

  1. Since this extension seems only to work on Ubuntu, it would be nice if that was made clear at extensions.gnome.org.

  2. What’s about ubuntu one?

    I am running GNOME 3.10.2 (saucy salamander amd64) and installed the appindicator extension. In GNOME Tweaks settings is no ubuntu one listed?

    AppIndicator Support:
    – My-Weather-Indicator [show at default location]
    – My-Weather-Indicator [show at message tray]
    – software-update-available [show …]
    – steam [show …]

    ubuntu one is running and I can’t find any entry.
    Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot,
    MATiX

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