The Touch Bar adds a row of multitouch controls to the top of the MacBook Pro's keyboard. Here's everything you need to know about it!

Apple still insists it has no interest in multitouch screens on its Mac line — that's what the iPad is for, after all. But that doesn't mean multitouch can't have a place on the Mac: The company's new Touch Bar (currently available on the new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro) is a touch-based OLED bar that replaces the row of function keys on your keyboard. Depending on which app is active on your screen, the bar's options change to reflect the best controls for that program. The Touch Bar also includes a Touch ID sensor on its right side, integrated into the Power button, which adds quick account switching and Apple Pay authorization to your Mac.

Whether you just picked up a new MacBook Pro or you're still considering a Mac with Touch Bar support, we've put together an ultimate guide for all your multitouch controlling needs.

Touch Bar FAQ

Want more info about the MacBook Pro's new Touch Bar? We've got the deets.

Which Macs get the Touch Bar?

There may be an OLED panel for every Mac keyboard, laptop, and desktop in the future, but for now, only the brand new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros currently sport the Touch Bar.

When can I get my hands on it (literally)?

You can start man-handling the Touch Bar when you get your new MacBook Pro, which is currently available to order. Get on that!

How does it work?

There is a small strip at the top of the screen that features a light-up panel with different options, depending on what you are doing on your Mac. For example, if you're using Safari, it will show you navigation controls and favorite websites. If you are checking your email, it will show you mail actions like replying or flagging.

On the right side, Apple offers a stationary Control Strip, which offers quick access to system features like Brightness, Volume, Siri, and more. To the left, the Touch Bar offers contextual functions that change from app to app. Not only is the Touch Bar completely multitouch, it can support up to 10 simultaneous inputs (one for every finger), enabling many potential creative options in third-party apps

The Touch ID button has replaced the Power button as the best way to turn on and authorize your Mac: It's located to the far right of the Touch Bar and connect to the Mac's T1 Secure Enclave chip, which encrypts your fingerprint and keeps it offline. You can use it to log into your account on your Mac, or pay for purchases using Apple Pay on the Web. You can add and name up to three fingerprints per account, or five fingerprints total.

Everything you can do with the Touch Bar

We dug deep to find out everything you can do with the Touch Bar in different built-in and third-party apps. Here's everything we know about what you can do with the Touch Bar in different apps so far.

How to customize the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro

With your Mac's Touch Bar, you can control a wide variety of settings and tools within macOS, as well as built-in and third-party apps. Many of these controls are customizable, including the Control Strip, allowing you to add or remove tools to create a better workflow for your daily usage. Here's how.

How to use Touch ID on your MacBook Pro

Apple's new Touch Bar MacBook Pro models offer support for Touch ID, the company's fingerprint-based authentication system. If you own a recent iPhone, you've likely used Touch ID: It's Apple's built-in privacy system for unlocking your device and authorizing Apple Pay. Here's how to set it up on your Mac!

How to have your Touch Bar and an Esc key on the new MacBook Pro

You probably won't miss having a physical escape key, but if you have a strong desire to press a key instead of tapping the leftmost corner of the Touch Bar panel, or worse, having to perform two steps in order to use the escape key (click on the desktop, then tap escape), there is a solution. You can reassign the caps lock key to be used as the escape key.

How to use the Touch Bar with Windows on the MacBook Pro

The Touch Bar only uses rich, contextual functions while in macOS Sierra. However, if you happen to have Windows installed on your partitioned hard drive using Boot Camp, the Touch Bar will default to the traditional row of function keys F1 - F12.

How to make the function keys the default Touch Bar display

Function Keys on the touch bar

In some apps, all you need are the function keys. You can set them as the default Touch Bar display in some apps, making it so you only ever see F1 - F12 at the top of the keyboard.

Best Touch Bar apps for MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is a fascinating and game-changing new feature that allows you to interact with your MacBook like never before. You'll be able to use it for all manner of built-in apps, but there will be a ton of third-party apps with Touch Bar support as well. Here are the best apps with Touch Bar support so far!

Questions?

Let us know below.