The Touch Bar on MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) and MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) replaces the function keys at the top of your keyboard and gives you quick access to commands on your Mac. It changes automatically based on what you’re doing and apps that you’re using.
If you need access to function keys (F1–F12), hold down the Function (fn) key at the bottom-left of your keyboard. Touch Bar changes to show the function keys for you to select, and then it returns to its previous state when you release the Function key.
For some apps, you can make the function keys display permanently in Touch Bar:
- In System Preferences, choose Keyboard.
- Click Shortcuts.
- From the left sidebar, select Function Keys.
- Click the “+” symbol, then navigate to the app and select it.
Now when you open or switch to this app, Touch Bar always displays the function keys.
You can also use an on-screen keyboard to access function keys:
- From System Preferences, select Keyboard.
- Check “Show Keyboard, Emoji and symbol viewers in menu bar”.
- Choose the viewer icon in the menu bar, then choose Show Keyboard Viewer.
An on-screen keyboard appears with function keys that you can click.
Find system controls and settings in the Control Strip
When you start up your MacBook Pro, the Control Strip on the right side of the Touch Bar shows a few familiar buttons like volume, mute, and display brightness, as well as Siri. The Escape (Esc) button appears on the left side of the Touch Bar.
System controls: Tap in the Control Strip and it expands, showing system controls like brightness, Exposé, Launchpad, and media playback:
Make your adjustments, then tap . The Control Strip returns to its smaller version on the right side of the Touch Bar, with Esc showing on the left side. You can always tap to expand the Control Strip and see all the system controls.
Function buttons: To use the F1–F12 function buttons in the Touch Bar, hold the Function (fn) key at the bottom left of your keyboard. The function keys appear:
Learn more about using function keys on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
As you use your Mac, the Touch Bar changes automatically based on what you’re doing to show relevant tools that you already know how to use. Read on for examples of what the Touch Bar can do in your favorite apps, and learn how to customize the Touch Bar to make it your own.
Use Touch Bar controls in apps
Many of the built-in apps on your Mac have Touch Bar controls that make common actions even easier. And your favorite third-party apps can take advantage of Touch Bar as well.
Here’s a look at what Touch Bar can do in some popular Mac apps. Explore your other favorite apps to see what Touch Bar offers.
Navigate and view: In Finder, tap the arrows in the Touch Bar to move back and forth among items, and tap to view items in Quick Look.
View and sort: Tap to see options for viewing and sorting your files and folders.
Share: Tap to see options for sharing your files.
Tag: Tap to see tags you can apply to items.
Visit your favorites: In Safari, tap a favorite website in Touch Bar to open it.
Navigate and search: Click the right or left arrow button to go backward or forward. Tap the search field to begin a search, or tap to open a new tab.
Perform common tasks: You can use the Touch Bar in Mail for composing, replying, archiving, marking as junk, and flagging messages.
Use predictive input: In Mail and other apps where you compose text, the Touch Bar predicts as you type. Tap a word or emoji to insert it.
Format your text: As you type a message, select some text and the Touch Bar shows you formatting options like bold, italic, and lists.
Say it with emoji: In apps like Mail and Messages, you can choose emoji instead of words for a fun way to make your point. Tap to see the emoji you use most, and then tap an emoji to insert it.
Speed through your library: In Photos, the Touch Bar speeds your search for just the right photo as you slide your finger across the thumbnails. You can tap to mark a selected photo as a favorite or tap rotate it.
Edit your photos: After you select a photo, tap to see editing options (crop, filters, adjust, retouch, and red-eye). You can edit your photo using controls that appear on the Touch Bar.
Find yourself: In Maps, tap in the Touch Bar to find your location. Tap the search field to type where you want to go.
See what’s nearby: The Touch Bar shows buttons with categories of nearby locations, like restaurants, hotels, and gas stations.
Get there: When you select a location to visit, you see options for getting directions, calling the business, or viewing its website.
Take a note: In Notes, tap in the Touch Bar to create a new note. Tap to add a checklist item.
Format your text: Tap to show buttons for aligning text and applying bold, italic, or underscore styles.
Apply styles: Tap to apply paragraph styles like numbered lists, bulleted lists, or headings.
See your day: In Calendar, tap the Today button to see today’s events, or slide across the Touch Bar to select the month—past or future.
Edit your events: Select an event in your calendar, then tap to get the event details, edit the time or place, and add or delete invitees.
Control your calls: In FaceTime, you can make and answer calls, get caller info, and send a message or email when you can’t talk—all from the Touch Bar.
Customize your Touch Bar
In many apps, like Finder, Mail, and Safari, you can customize the Touch Bar.
Choose View > Customize Touch Bar. The customization window appears on your display, allowing you to choose your favorite items:
When you’re customizing the Touch Bar, its buttons jiggle, and you see the Done button on the left side.
Use your cursor to drag items that you want down into the Touch Bar. You can also drag items left and right within the Touch Bar to rearrange them, or drag them up and out of the Touch Bar to remove them.
Tap Done in the Touch Bar or click Done on the screen when you finish.
To customize the Control Strip, select View > Customize Touch Bar in any app that supports customization, then touch the Control Strip region of the Touch Bar to switch to Control Strip customization. You can also customize the Control Strip in the Keyboard section of System Preferences.
Explore and experiment
Most apps include shortcuts, tools, and controls in the Touch Bar for the tasks that you want to do. Tap around to see what you can accomplish quickly and easily.
It’s often easier to tap the Touch Bar than to click or select items onscreen. For example, open Calculator and do quick calculations with the number keys and the functions on the Touch Bar—without moving your cursor, clicking, and typing.
Keep using the Touch Bar to find the best ways to do what you want, and explore your favorite third-party apps as they add a new dimension with Touch Bar features.
Use accessibility options with Touch Bar
The accessibility features that help you use your Mac can also help you use the Touch Bar. Hold the Command key while you press Touch ID (power button) three times to toggle VoiceOver, which reads aloud Touch Bar commands.
Use VoiceOver with Touch Bar
VoiceOver tells you what’s on your screen, and walks you through actions like selecting a menu option or activating a button using your keyboard or trackpad. It can also tell you what’s on your Touch Bar.
To turn VoiceOver on or off, hold the Command key and triple-press the Touch ID button, which is on the right side of Touch Bar at the top of your keyboard:
After you turn on VoiceOver, you can use these gestures with Touch Bar:
- Move one finger over the Touch Bar to change the Touch Bar focus and have VoiceOver announce the element under your finger.
- Swipe left or right with one finger to move the Touch Bar focus to the previous or next Touch Bar element.
- Double-tap anywhere on the Touch Bar to activate the element under the Touch Bar focus.
- Split-tap (touch an item with one finger, then tap the Touch Bar with another) to activate the element under the first finger you use.
- Double-tap and hold to enter direct touch mode for the element under the Touch Bar focus. This allows you to adjust sliders.
Use Touch Bar Zoom
If you use the Zoom feature on your Mac, you can also turn on Touch Bar Zoom.
Select Apple menu () > System Preferences. Then click on Accessibility, select Zoom, and turn on Enable Touch Bar Zoom.
Here’s what you can do after you turn on Touch Bar Zoom:
- Touch and drag with one finger on the Touch Bar to see a zoomed view of the Touch Bar on your display.
- Change the magnification level by holding down the Command key and use a two-finger pinch gesture.
- While panning with one finger, quickly tap with a second finger to synthesize a tap where your first finger is. Hold the second finger down and move both fingers together to synthesize a tap down and drag where your first finger is.
- Hold your finger still in one location to enter direct-touch mode, which allows you to interact directly with the control under your finger.
Use Switch Control with Touch Bar
You can use Switch Control to display Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro screen. This lets you access Touch Bar elements with standard pointer controls.
First, turn on Switch Control:
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Switch Control.
- Click General, then select Enable Switch Control. The Switch Control Home Panel appears on your desktop.
Next, toggle Touch Bar:
- In the Switch Control Home Panel, click System.
- Click Toggle Touch Bar to show or hide Touch Bar.
Learn more about using pointer controls.
Use Accessibility Options to turn on other features
macOS features an Accessibility Options window that lets you quickly turn on or off common accessibility features like Zoom, VoiceOver, Sticky Keys, and more. To bring up this window on your MacBook Pro, triple-press the Touch ID button.