How to Customize Your MacBook Pro Touch Bar

How to Customize Your MacBook Pro Touch Bar

The touch bar on the MacBook Pro, the OLED display strip on the top of your 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro notebook computer, is a feature that gives you shortcuts to various options. It gives you a convenient way to interact with apps, making the computer more user friendly.

One of the best things is you can customize it. If it doesn’t give you convenient access to the apps you use, you can change that. You can also customize the control strip that’s on the touch bar.

Customizing the Touch Bar

The touch bar gives you plenty of shortcuts to your apps. It likely has mostly Apple apps like Photos, Maps and iTunes. You can add and remove buttons to get the touch bar to fit your specific needs. Here’s how.

Step 1: Select an app or program, click on the desktop screen to change the control strip, and click on View in the app menu bar.

Step 2: Click on Customize Touch Bar in the drop down menu.

Step 3: To bring buttons to the touch bar, click and drag them from the display to the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: Hold and drag a touch bar button to move it to a different spot.

Step 5: Hold and drag a button to the far left end to remove it from the touch bar and let go when “Remove From Touch Bar” appears.

The Control Strip

The touch bar features the control strip that has tools like volume control, screen brightness and so on. You can choose to have a collapsed control strip with just four tools on the right side of your touch bar, giving you the ability to tap the expand button to expand it to the rest of the control strip, or you can turn off app controls and just make the entire touch bar your control strip. You can also swap out tools for other tools.

Make the Control Strip Your Default Display

Here are instructions to make the control strip your default display on your touch bar. Just remember that if you do this, you will have system tools like playback controls always handy but not tools available in your apps.

Step 1: Look in the upper left corner of your screen for the Apple menu icon and click on it.

Step 2: Go to the drop down menu and click on System Preferences.

Step 3: Click on Keyboard.

Step 4: Click on the Keyboard tab.

Step 5: Go to Touch Bar Shows and click on the drop down menu then choose Expanded Control Strip.

Remove the Control Strip from the Touch Bar

You also have the option of removing the control strip from the touch bar. Here is how to do so.

Step 1: Click on the Apple Menu.

Step 2: Click on System Preferences in the drop down menu.

Sep 3: Click on Keyboard then the Keyboard tab.

Step 4: Click the drop down menu under Touch Bar Shows and select App Controls.

Now you will see app controls for apps that display them. If the app you are using does not support the touch bar, you will only see the escape key.

Customize the Control Strip

You can rearrange the tools on your control strip or add and remove tools. Here is how.

Step 1: Click on the Apple menu.

Step 2: Click on System Preferences in the drop down menu.

Step 3: Click on Keyboard then click on the Keyboard tab.

Step 4: Click on Customize Control Strip.

You will see the buttons on your touch bar jiggle around and the customization panel will appear.

Step 5: Tap the collapse button at the far left of your computer’s touch bar to customize the four tools in the collapsed control strip.

Step 6: Tap the Expand button to customize your full control strip. The Expand button will be to the left of the four tools in collapsed mode.

Step 7: To add a tool, drag it from the screen and into the touch bar.

Step 8: To remove a tool, move your cursor into the touch bar, tap on a tool and remove it from the control strip. You can drag it to the trash can on the touch bar’s far left or drag it upwards into the tool panel on the screen.

Step 9: To rearrange the order of a tool, select the tool and drag it to a new location.

Step 10: Click done when you finished adding, deleting or moving apps.



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