12 things you can do with the MacBook Touch Bar

The MacBook Touch Bar, available on Pro models launched between 2016 and 2020, and later discontinued on Pro models from 2021, has a multitude of ways to use it, as it adapts to the application currently open and active on the screen, changing automatically the commands available on the bar and bringing much more agility and convenience to the macOS user.

If your MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, or you are interested in purchasing one of Apple’s notebook models with this extraordinary feature, explore our super list of tips below to discover the bar’s secrets and new uses.

12 tips to try on your MacBook Pro Touch Bar

Safari Tabs and Bookmarks

Safari, the Mac’s default browser, has incredible compatibility with the Touch Bar: all of its open tabs, which can be easily switched with a tap of the bar, links to favorite sites for quick access, and basic navigation actions like back , go forward and search. Not to mention the playback control, which we’ll look at later.

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Safari browser features on the Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Google Chrome Shortcuts

Prefer to use Google Chrome on your MacBook? Don’t worry, Touch Bar also offers interesting shortcuts for the Google browser. In addition to Safari-like commands, such as back, forward and opening a new tab, you have a quick Google search tab, just click on it and type what you want to search for in the biggest search engine on the internet.

Google Chrome Browser Features on Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Finder shortcuts

More convenience means fewer clicks: when exploring folders, files, and general Finder items on your Mac, you can click the share icon to send the selected file via iMessage, AirDrop, attach it to the Notes app, save it to the Photos app , among other options.

Finder file sharing functions on the Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

screen brightness

Attention to this trick: to increase or decrease the screen brightness, it is not necessary to click on the screen brightness icon and then adjust it through the intensity bar: you can do everything with just one click. Touch the Touch Bar screen brightness icon and immediately drag your finger to the right side to increase brightness, or to the left to decrease it. Practical, isn’t it?

Control the brightness of your MacBook screen via the Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Use of emojis

When using macOS WhatsApp, you have a quick shortcut to your most used emojis. This list, coming from your own account’s app, is automatically updated as you use new emojis in WhatsApp on your mobile device.

Touch Bar brings an updated list of the most used emojis on your cell phone (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

In other writing, texting and communication applications in general, you will find the emoji icon on the Touch Bar. When you touch it, you can drag by the bar to explore all possible emoji options that currently exist.

Writing, text and communication apps provide a shortcut to search and enter any existing emoji (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

word suggestions

In these same apps, more focused on text constructions, a keyboard icon is made available to activate the word suggestion feature, based on your current text. When tapping the keyboard icon, three word alternatives will appear for you to click, very similar to the iPhone text suggestion.

Word suggestions in text-building applications (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

volume control

As well as the screen brightness, you also only need a touch on the Touch Bar to adjust the sound volume control bar: touch the volume control icon and immediately drag your finger to the right side to increase it , or clockwise to make it smaller. In addition, the Touch Bar also provides the mute icon, to completely mute your MacBook sound quickly and instantly.

Control the sound volume of your MacBook through the Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

reproduction control

When opening music and podcasting apps like Apple Music and Spotify, you can control the current playback through the Touch Bar. You can drag your finger across the bar to pull the song minute marker and jump to another part of the song . In addition, there are also basic commands to skip to another track, go back to the previous one, and pause/play.

Control the playback of music and podcasts from your MacBook through Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

The same is true when watching YouTube videos in Safari: you can drag the video forward by jumping to a part farther ahead. Note: this Touch Bar feature is unique to the Apple browser, not extending, for example, to Google Chrome.

Control the playback of YouTube videos in Safari on your MacBook from Touch Bar (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Notes shortcuts

For those who use the MacBook Notes application, the Touch Bar brings many of its functions to make it more practical and faster to use it while writing your notes, such as opening a new note, creating checklists, editing fonts, formatting text , customizing the writing style and inserting emojis.

Features of the Touch Bar Notes app (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Take a print of the Touch Bar

Want to take a screenshot of your Touch Bar? It’s very simple: press the keys ⌘ Command + ⇧ Shift + 6 and presto, a screenshot of your MacBook Touch Bar will be saved.

Take screenshots of Touch Bar from your MacBook (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Unlock and pay by Apple Pay on Touch ID

As an extra tip, although this is not actually a Touch Bar feature, but an extra physical key on the keyboard, you can configure your fingerprints on the Touch ID, using the key to the right of the Touch Bar to authorize transactions and pay by Apple Pay, change your machine’s security permissions, and unlock your MacBook without having to enter your access password. Note: when requested, it is not necessary to press the key, just touch your fingerprint to use the Touch ID.

Use the Touch ID key to unlock your MacBook and pay by Apple Pay (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

Touch Bar Piano

Finally, a tip for music lovers: the app Touch Bar Piano — which can be downloaded for free from the app developer’s website — turns your MacBook’s Touch Bar into a real piano. Download and enjoy!

Have fun playing on your MacBook Touch Bar transformed into a piano (Lucas Wetten/Canaltech)

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