8:58 am

Touch Bar First Look

Take a look at the Touch Bar on the new Macbook Pro. This thin touchscreen that replaces the function keys on the keyboard allows you to easily access functions for macOS and apps. It changes depending on which app you are using and what you are doing.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro.

Of course, the Touch Bar is a separate screen from the main screen. But thanks to this free little app Touche here I can see what's on the Touch Bar and put it on my main screen so when I screen capture for you, you can see what I'm seeing.

So you can see here the basic Touch Bar has the Escape key on the left and everything on the right depends upon what app you're using. Here I'm using the Finder. I have the Finder window selected and a folder selected so I can see a lot of different things here in the Touch Bar that relate to the Finder. Like Quick Look, Sharing, Tagging, and things expand.

For instance, I'm going to hit the button here, you can see is the equivalent to this button here in the Finder, that will let me see different viewing styles for the Finder. You can see it expands there and I've got an X button on the left that can get me out of it.

Also, if I ever want to return to see the Function keys I just hold the fn key on my keyboard down and it all changes to the Function keys so I can get to them.

Now how about all those things like Volume and Brightness and everything like that. Those appear over here but there's not enough room for all of them because I'm using an app right now. So I've got this little button here and I can use that and Expand and there are all of those controls.

Now you can customize this. If you go to System Preferences and under Keyboard and the first tab here keyboard you've got some things here where you can say the Touch Bar shows: and here it's App Controls with Control Strip, but you can have it always show Expanded Control Strip or always just show the App Controls with no Control Strip.

You can also show what happens when the fn key is pressed. So here it takes you to the F keys or I can have it automatically expand the Control Strip. If you never use the F keys that's a good option for you.

So what about other apps. Well, let's go and look at a whole bunch of them. Let's start with TextEdit here. You can see in TextEdit I've got these suggestions here at the top as I type. You can see it gives me suggestions and I can actually tap it very similar to an iOS. Or I could tap and get rid of that and it shows me font controls and I can also get that if I select something. For instance, if I wanted to change the color I could tap there and pick a color for it. So there's a lot you can do here by expanding these menus and touching the buttons.

Now let's go to say, iTunes. In iTunes we have Playback controls, as you would imagine, Skip controls, Up Next controls, the forward and backward buttons there.

If we go to things like Keynote we've got all sorts of controls here specific for Keynote. What's very useful is going to be if you play a Keynote presentation you can see small thumbnails of the slides. You can jump to them. You can see the time there. So you have some very useful controls and this is the first time I can show you that you can slide back and forth here, like that. So you just put your finger down and slide back and forth for viewing a longer list.

If we go to Numbers we can see we've got Numbers specific buttons there. As I start typing a formula it even changes and it will continue to change as I do different things in Numbers.

I can go to Pages and we've got a similar set of controls that we saw in TextEdit. We can bring up suggestions. We can change colors. Do all sorts of things and change styles.

If I go to Photos we can scrub through different photos in the current collection. We can use the Touch Bar to access Adjustments. You can see in some of them say if I want to go to a light adjustment here I can actually scrub along here on the Touch Bar to adjust and even turn things on and off.

If I go to Notes I've got text editing things here on Notes similar to what's in the Toolbar there.

Calendar. I can do different things here in the Calendar depending upon what I've got selected. So if I haven't selected anything here I can actually jump to a different month. If I select something I can do different things with it like add invites and adjust the time. Things like that.

If I go to Contacts I can select a contact and I can instantly start a phone call or FaceTime or send an email or send a message from there.

Finally, the last one I want to show you is Safari. You can see here you've got some parts of the Safari toolbar at the bottom here, like you can start a new tab or window. You can tap to start searching for something. If I go into a webpage and let's say I do another one as well you can see there are thumbnails there that I can jump back and forth between the different tabs in Safari. So there's a lot of different things that will happen.

Also notice that if I try to do anything with the dialogue box, I'm just going to hit Command S here to do a Save, and you can see I have Cancel and Save buttons there in the Dialogue and they appear in the Touch Bar as well. So it's kind of like a keyboard shortcut for those. It says Cancel and Save because that's what is in that dialogue. Other dialogues will show other types of buttons like OK, Cancel, and such. It's going to be very useful.

So that's a quick look at what the Touch Bar is capable of. Third party apps are starting to adopt it as well. We're going to see, probably, lots of adjustments. You can also customize the Touch Bar. To do that go to System Preferences, and then back into where we were before Keyboard, then Keyboard. There is a Customize Control Strip. I don't know why it is called that there.

But here you can see you can drag and drop items into the Touch Bar. So you just take them and drag them below. So if I wanted to add, say, Mission Control here I can go ahead and do that. I can add Launchpad, Notification Center, a lot of different things you can do to customize some of the things in the Control Strip. So let's add Mission Control instead of Brightness. I do that by dragging down to the bottom and dropping it in there. Hit Done. And now my Control Strip on the Touch Bar shows a Mission Control button here instead of the Brightness control.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Touch Bar First Look”

    Ed Rambeau
    11/18/16 @ 1:10 pm

    Is Touche only available for the Laptop or can it be used with an iMac Desktop Computer as well?

    11/18/16 @ 1:44 pm

    Touche shows your Touch Bar on the main screen. iMacs don’t have a Touch Bar. Only the new MacBook Pros do.

    11/20/16 @ 3:21 pm

    This just in… the all new Dell “Tap Strip!”

    11/24/16 @ 7:04 am

    THNX for previewing the TouchBar . . I was already in love with it from the KeyNote presentation and introduction; NOW after seeing it in real action, I will be waiting at my door for the postman to delivery as soon as available! mn

    11/24/16 @ 11:03 am

    Do you think the new iMacs coming in 2017 will have a Touch Bar?

    11/24/16 @ 11:25 am

    Stan: Not sure. It will be trickier, since the keyboard is external and wireless. There is only so much bandwidth between the keyboard and the computer, and the Touch Bar is high resolution. The Touch ID also represents a significant security problem operating removed from the computer itself. Plus, the battery required in the keyboard will be an issue. We are used to going weeks or months between keyboard charges.

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