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Home / Tips and Tricks / These 7 MacBook Pro tips will make that Touch Bar work for you

These 7 MacBook Pro tips will make that Touch Bar work for you



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The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar isn’t going anywhere, it seems.

And Ackerman / CNET

The MacBook Pros Touch Bar can be a useful feature that puts common tasks at your fingertips when opening a new tab in Safari. Not everyone likes the Touch Bar and I personally don’t always remember having to use it. However, with a few tweaks and tweaks, it’s possible to incorporate the Touch Bar into your workflow and feel like the fingertip-sized display provides value rather than being untouched. You may find that the Touch Bar gives you what you need to make your MacBook Pro work for you.

For example, with just a few clicks, you can get the default Mac keyboard shortcuts back for good. You can also use the built-in scrub tool to find the exact spot in a video or song, or skip video ads.

Below are seven tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your MacBook Pro’s TouchBar.

GIF by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Just tap and slide to make adjustments

Save yourself a few taps when using the volume or brightness controls. Instead of tapping the button and then moving your finger to the slider to make an adjustment, tap and hold the appropriate button. Still slide your finger left or right. The Touch Bar treats the gesture as if your finger were on the actual slider and responds accordingly.

This only works if you have set the Touch Bar to show App Controls, and not if you have set up Expanded Control Strip (more on this below).

View the extensive check strip on request

The standard layout of the Control Strip contains up to four buttons on the right side of the Touch Bar. You can customize which buttons are always displayed by following the steps deposited here (we also outline those steps below). If you have the < on the left side of the Control Strip, you will see the so-called Expanded Control Strip. If it looks familiar, it’s because it uses the same keyboard shortcut layout as standard Mac keyboards.

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You do not need to use the default view for the Touch Bar.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Made the Expanded Control Strip the standard

If you don’t want the Touch Bar to change and change its behavior based on the app you’re using, giving you options to open new tabs in Safari or send emails in Mail, you can open it System preferences KeyboardClick the drop-down menu labeled Touch Bar shows and select Extensive control strip.

The Touch Bar changes instantly, giving you a preview of the changes you’ve made. When you are satisfied with the expanded control strip, you can close the system preferences window.

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However, you can set a shortcut to keep viewing app-specific functions.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use the Fn key as a Touch Bar shortcut

You don’t have to miss out on app-specific actions completely because of your new setting, but you need to take an extra step to make the globe or function key act as a shortcut to briefly display app controls. In System preferences Keyboard screen, click the drop-down list next to Hold down (globe / fn) until and select Display app controls from the list.

With that option set, when you’re in an app like Mail and want to use the Touch Bar shortcuts, just hold down the Function / Globe key to view the app’s respective controls, then tap the action on the Touch Bar.

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There are plenty of controls you can add to the Touch Bar.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Customize the Touch Bar to your liking

You are not limited to the layout and keys that are standard placed on the Touch Bar. You can fully customize which actions are always available and ditch actions you rarely use.

Adjust the Touch Bar by going to System preferences Keyboard Adjust Control Strip

With edit mode enabled, drag and drop the buttons you want onto your Touch Bar, or drag the buttons you don’t want from your Touch Bar. Yes, it means you can remove the Siri Shortcut and replace it with something useful like the screenshot button.

GIF by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Scrub-a-dub-dub

You can quickly skip forward or backward while watching a video or listening to music on your MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar’s built-in scrub tool.

A button that looks like a bar chart appears to the left of the control strip when scrubbing is available. Tap it and slide your finger over the scrub tool. If more than one app is available for scrubbing, an app icon will be displayed. Tap the app icon to switch between apps.

Bonus: When using Safari, you can browse ads that play for most videos.

Bring back the function keys when you are in a specific app

Knowing to open the function keys every time you’re in a specific app can tell your Mac to always show it when you’re in an app. Open System preferences Keyboard and click on it Shortcuts tab. Select from the list of options Function keysfollowed by the “+” sign to add an app to the list.

From now on, the Touch Bar will display only function keys every time you use that app.

If you are just getting started with a Mac for the first time or are an old user, here’s how some useful features you should knowThe current operating system, Big Sur, has one handful of useful proprietary functionsAnd of course there are hidden features that we found too good not to share


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