Customize the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro – practical tips and tricks

The function keys of a keyboard are sometimes very helpful and important. You can use them to adjust the brightness or the volume, among other things. However, they are missing on one particular device: the fourth-generation MacBook Pro. A Touch Bar has been integrated here instead. You can find out how to adjust and change it below.

For most Mac users, the change to a Touch Bar was quite confusing. Instead of the classic F-keys, a digital bar was set up on the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. Compared to the function keys, you can customize the Touch Bar as much as you like.

How the MacBook Pro Touch Bar customization works

Basically, the Touch Bar consists of an app and task area and the Control Strip. The latter is the panel on the right of the Touch Bar up to the arrow. You can customize these. To make the customizations, here’s how to do it:

First, click on the Mac menu (Apple icon). Then you go via “System Preferences” to “Keyboard”. There you can set the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro. Under the “Keyboard” tab, you’ll find the drop-down menu “Show Touch Bar”. And this is where the respective adjustments are made.

App controls

If you choose “App Controls”, the most important functions of an app that are currently open or currently being used can be found on the Touch Bar. For example: If you are currently working in Microsoft Word, you will see the most important functions of the Word menu bar on the Touch Bar.

Advanced Control Strip

The Control Strip displays the most important options and has no classic app tasks. With the Control Strip icons, you can adjust the volume and brightness, but also use Siri. It is also possible to start the search function. Small tip: In the same tab, there is the button “Customize Control Strip”. This allows you to customize the Touch Bar even more individually, provided you choose “Extended Control Strip”. If you don’t want to use the Control Strip at all, you can uncheck “Show Control Strip”.

Keys F1, F2 etc.

This menu item is self-explanatory. If you decide to use it, the function keys F1 to F12 appear on the Touch Bar. To give you an overview, below are the respective purposes of the function keys:

  • F1: Screen darker
  • F2: Screen brighter
  • F3: Mission Control
  • F4: Search function (Spotlight)
  • F5: VoiceOver
  • F6: Do not disturb
  • F7: Rewind
  • F8: Play/Pause
  • F9: Fast forward
  • F10: Sound off
  • F11: Sound softer
  • F12: Sound louder

Quick actions

With this function it is possible to display frequently performed tasks in the Touch Bar. To do this, first drag the “Quick Actions” logo to the Touch Bar via “Customize Control Strip…”. Afterwards, you can select the quick actions in the system settings under “Finder” and “Touch Bar” in the item “Extensions”.


This point is also quite self-explanatory. If you select this item, the open Spaces or workspaces are displayed on the Touch Bar. Several Spaces are especially helpful when you have many apps and programs open and the “desktop” is confusing. Multiple Spaces can then provide a remedy.


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