Frozen Mac Touch Bar? Here’s how to fix it.

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To an iPad user, four USB-C ports are a luxury.
Fix a frozen Touch Bar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Just like anything else on your MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar can freeze and become totally unresponsive. And, just like with every other frozen process on the Mac, there’s an easy way to fix it: You just have to force the Touch Bar to restart.

Today we’ll see how to fix a frozen Touch Bar so you can keep using the MacBook Pro’s best feature.

Option-tap the Touch Bar to open all kinds of preferences

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option Touch Bar Mac
Option-tap these icons to open Preferences.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a Mac with a Touch Bar, do this right now. Hold down the Option key (⌥), and tap the volume icon in the Touch Bar. For non-Touch Bar-using readers, this is what happened: The Mac’s Sound Preferences launched instantly.

This is such a typical Mac feature that it should be obvious. But when I shared this tip with fellow Touch Bar aficionado and Cult of Mac writer Graham Bower, he was all like, “Oh!” and, “That’s pretty neat!”

So, what other tricks can be done with the Option key and the Touch Bar?

Which buttons should Apple bring back next?

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Buttons. Who doesn't love them? What buttons should Apple add to its products going forward?
Buttons. Who doesn't love them?
Photo: Diomari/Unsplash CC

It may have nothing to do with Jony Ive leaving the company, but Apple has been adding buttons back to its devices. It’s a slow start, but hopefully it’s the beginning of a trend. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro added an Escape key, and a separate power button (you can press the Touch ID button). Plus, the recently introduced iPhone 11 battery case added a dedicated camera button.

After what seems like decades of removing useful hardware features, is Apple finally seeing the error of its ways? And, if so, what buttons would we like to see next? Let’s take a look at the current lay of the land.

How to add a Dark Mode toggle to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

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The homemade Dark Mode button lets you toggle between Dark Mode and the MacBook Pro's regular appearance, right from your Touch Bar.
The homemade Dark Mode button.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Mac’s Dark Mode isn’t bad. It’s definitely a better view when quickly checking something on your Mac late in the evening. But unless you have it set to switch automatically, toggling Dark Mode on and off is a pain. So, with a shiny new MacBook Pro in front of me, I decided to put the Touch Bar to use.

Did you know you can add your own buttons to the Touch Bar? You can, and it’s totally rad.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is amazing, but it’s still a Mac [Review]

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MacBook Pro review
It's about time!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a great Steve Jobs story that somehow seems relevant in a 2019 MacBook Pro review. You probably know it, but I’ll tell it anyway. After the iPad launch, Jobs supposedly walked into a meeting with the Mac team, carrying an iPad. He woke up the iPad, which happened instantaneously. Then he woke up a Mac, which took a while to come out of sleep. Then he asked something like, “Why doesn’t this do that?”

Today, he might take the iPad Pro, and the brand new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, start them both editing a few images, and wait for the fans to spin up on the Mac. While it cranks up to leaf-blower levels, he’d point at the silent iPad, and make some scathing quip.

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is an incredible computer that’s let down by the red-hot Intel chips inside. Apple’s cool, fast, super-powerful A-series ARM chips can’t come to the Mac soon enough. Using this Intel machine after using an ARM-powered iPad for several years, the Mac feels like there’s something wrong with it. And yet, barely 24 hours into owning one, I absolutely love it.

Get your MacBook Pro’s Escape key back without spending $3,000

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Escape the Touch Bar's tyranny by restoring your MacBook Pro Escape key.
Find out how to escape the Touch Bar's tyranny.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Escape key is pretty essential to the Mac. You can use it to, well, escape from the current window/view/text field. You can use it to dismiss some dialog boxes. It can even be used to force-quit an unresponsive app. And that’s before we get to the Vim text editor, which is as dependent on the Escape key as Jony Ive is on new kinds of aluminum. So why did Apple remove the physical MacBook Pro Escape key when it introduced the Touch Bar?

Apple made that move, much to the despair of some users, back in 2016. Now, in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, the Escape key is back. But what if you have a perfectly good previous-gen MacBook Pro? Are you really going to spend close to $3,000 just to get your Escape key back? No, you are not. Instead, you are going to repurpose the Caps Lock key, and turn it into an Escape key.

16-inch MacBook Pro wows writers in first hands-on reviews

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16-inch-MacBook-Pro
The wait is over.
Photo: Apple

Apple finally unleashed its long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro on the world this morning, and according to some lucky people who got to play with it early, it was well worth the wait.

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro pulled out plenty of surprises beyond its bigger display. Early hands-on reviews rave about the scissor keyboard, the new audio system, upgraded thermal management and of course, its beastly processing power.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about the new machine.

How a Magic Keyboard made it into the new 16-inch MacBook Pro

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When it comes to quiet keyboards, MacBook Pro lags only behind Pixelbook Go
Welcome home!
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newly unveiled 16-inch MacBook Pro ditches the controversial butterfly keyboard and brings back the scissor switch Magic Keyboard.

In a new interview, Apple marketing SVP Phil Schiller talked about redesigning Apple’s notebook keyboard. And whether or not the non-butterfly keyboard will make it to other Apple laptops anytime soon.