I'm working on a theme for the back end Admin pages, this is for a custom web application built on WP.

After studying admin-bar.php and the function is_admin_bar_showing() for a few minutes I decided to do this:

function kill_admin_toolbar() {
    add_filter( 'xmlrpc_enabled', '__return_false' );
    define( 'XMLRPC_REQUEST', false );
add_action( 'admin_init', 'kill_admin_toolbar' );

I never plan on using XML-RPC with this application.

With this code there is no more 32px strip of immovable toolbar at the top of my admin screen.

I can't see any weird side effects so far; what do you guys think?

It's either this or I modify admin-bar.php and insert return false; right after the function definition for is_admin_bar_showing(). The idea of touching even one core file really bothers me, though.

Really maddening there is no hook early enough in that function to do this.

  • I haven't looked into this properly yet, but would CSS be suitable for you? It'll at least have no unknown side effects :)
    – Tim Malone
    Jul 6, 2016 at 21:07
  • thanks...yeah I played around with css, looked at several examples of how other people were tackling this -- nothing was really great. I could also easily load some JS that removes the entire element from the DOM, but I really wanted to find something in PHP that worked. I kind of like my solution - if it doesn't cause any other problems ;-)
    – C C
    Jul 6, 2016 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


While what you used appears to work for now, I couldn't guarantee it isn't going to cause other issues now or in the future because - as you already know - tricking is_admin_bar_showing() isn't what the check of the XMLRPC_REQUEST constant was designed for. Therefore even if it doesn't cause issues now I don't think it would future-proof to use it like this.

However, I continued your hunt and I think I've found the filter you need: wp_admin_bar_class.

Returning false to this filter - or returning any string that doesn't match the name of a defined class - will cause _wp_admin_bar_init() to short-circuit and thus never initialize the bar in the first place:

add_filter( 'wp_admin_bar_class', '__return_false' );

This works, but is unfortunately giving me a nice blank gap where the admin bar used to be, because of the wp-toolbar CSS class being present on the dashboard's <html> tag. This is added in wp-admin/includes/template.php and I can't immediately see a way to remove it in the PHP. So, you'd probably need to override this padding with custom CSS (sorry, maybe a PHP-only solution isn't possible after all!):

add_action( 'admin_head', function(){
  ?><style> html.wp-toolbar { padding-top: 0; } </style><?php

There may be other slight hiccups as a result of removing the admin bar like this, given that is_admin_bar_showing() still technically returns true, but I think they would be fairly minor, and if you find any, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to find a workaround.

To be sure (for now at least), you could hunt through the source for any usages of the function. As of 4.5.3, usage appears to be limited to four files: admin-header.php, template.php, admin-bar.php, and post-template.php, and from a cursory glance it appears you might want to filter admin_body_class to remove 'admin-bar' from there too, just in case (it's not making a visible difference for me though).

See also the 'no-customize-support' class - I don't think this will affect you, because it appears to be designed only for 'hide-if-no-customize' menu options in the toolbar... which of course you're not displaying anyway!

  • thanks Tim, I will try this out tonight. Pretty sure I did try inoculating wp_admin_bar_class -- but will look at it again. I'd love it if whoever actually gets to do dev on core would add a hook to is_admin_bar_showing(), earlier in the function. Seems like a zero-risk thing to do...
    – C C
    Jul 7, 2016 at 12:35
  • @CC You can log a trac ticket for that if you like :)
    – Tim Malone
    Jul 7, 2016 at 20:39
  • heh - ok thanks; I've never even looked into that before so might be an interesting learning experience!
    – C C
    Jul 7, 2016 at 20:56

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