HDMI port and SD card reader supposedly will return to MacBook Pro this year

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Apple_macbookpro-13-inch_screen_05042020
MacBook Pro is getting a big redesign this year.
Photo: Apple

From the sound of things, Apple is going back to the past for its next-gen MacBook Pro — and, depending on who you ask, that could be a very good thing.

The next MacBook Pro is already rumored to bring back the MagSafe charger and kill off the LED Touch Bar in favor of a row of physical keys.

Now, in a new note to clients, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says this year’s pro laptop will come with a built-in SD card reader and an HDMI port. These have been MIA since 2016, when Apple went all in on USB-C — and started ditching MacBook ports like they were going out of style.

Is the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar a goner? [Cult of Mac Magazine 384]

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The next-gen MacBook Pros might add a bunch of cool features. But they also might lack a Touch Bar.
The next-gen MacBook Pros might add a bunch of cool features. But they also might lack a Touch Bar.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

From CES product unveilings to juicy rumors, this week suffered zero shortage of new for Apple fans. You’ll find the cream of the crop in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. As always, it’s free — and it’s ready for consumption on your iOS device of choice.

I don’t want to slow you down on your way to the week’s top news stories. But if you use Safari (and you really should), don’t miss our new series of how-tos on getting the most out of Apple’s web browser. Those Safari Pro Tips are in the mag as well.

Or you can get it all, plus our reviews of the new Apple TV+ seasons of Servant and Dickinson, in your browser at the links below.

Apple may drop the Touch Bar from its next MacBook Pro

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You got the touch. Here's how to master your MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
Apple introduced the context-sensitive Touch Bar in 2016.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

According to reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the next-gen MacBook Pro will come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, feature more ports and bring back the MagSafe charger in some form (!). And, of course,  the high-end laptops will run on new Apple Silicon chips.

But the first big MacBook Pro redesign in half a decade also do away with the Touch Bar, the controversial — and never entirely successful — innovation Apple debuted back in 2016.

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.