MacBook Pro Touch Bar plays nicely with Windows

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The new MacBook
The Touch Bar won't be completely useless in Boot Camp.
Photo: Apple

Boot Camp users thinking about purchasing the new MacBook Pro have been wondering what its Touch Bar will be used for when running Windows. The good news is it won’t become completely useless. The bad news is it won’t be anywhere near as exciting.

In response to an email from a fan, Apple software chief Craig Federighi confirmed the Touch Bar will display regular function keys — F1 to F12 — when running Windows in Boot Camp mode. Presumably, it will also offer an Escape key.

It’s not yet clear whether Apple will also offer some shortcuts with those keys like it currently does, allowing users to control things like brightness, volume, and media playback. But it seems that’s as useful as the Touch Bar will be.

Don’t expect the Touch Bar to adapt to the software you’re using while inside Windows, then. Though Apple probably could provide a Windows API to make this possible, there probably aren’t enough Boot Camp users to warrant it.

MacRumorswhich received a copy of the email from Federighi, says it has been unable to confirm its authenticity but it looks genuine. It seems perfectly plausible that the Touch Bar will offer function keys inside Windows, too.

It was previously discovered that the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is powered by a modified version of watchOS and a T1 chip that uses ARM architecture. It is not an extension of macOS as many might have assumed.