Some people love the Touch Bar. Others simply see no use for it, which can be frustrating now that every MacBook Pro ships with one. If you fall into that second camp, here’s how to bring back traditional function keys.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.