This app makes your Touch Bar useful by putting a visualizer onto it

MacBook Pro Touch Bar
MacBook Pro Touch Bar (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is a thing, still.
  • It's useless. In fact, it's worse than useless. It's in the way.
  • But this app helps make it useful by putting a visualizer onto it.

I don't have anything against the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar in particular. I just don't think it does anything buttons can't do. But someone has managed to fix that by making an app that absolutely can't be done with buttons. Because it's a visualizer and now it lives right on your Mac's Touch Bar.

Touch Bar Visualizer is the name and it's the brainchild of Addison Hanrattie. You can get all the deets over on GitHub, but the gist is simple. Once installed and with music playing, users will see a cool little visualizer on their Touch Bar. That's it. And it's still more useful than anything that came before it!

The Touch Bar Visualizer is a cosmetic program used to display the sound output from the computer as frequencies. The purpose of this program is to provide another cool trick for users that have a macbook equipped with a touchbar. While there are many music vissualizers out there this program is designed to both utilize a space on the keyboard often ignored and to provide a new way of directly viewing music when other programs may need space on the screen. Touch Bar Visualizer is written in Swift 5 and utilizes some objective-c methods. The backbone of the processing is based on Accelerate's vDSP methods.

Now, sure. There are a few hoops to jump through if you want to get this working but I'm told that's being worked on. But assuming you do jump through those hoops, you'll get something pretty cool. And it's free, too!

Why not give it a try?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • Your article is SO ridiculously biased. Your claim is you have nothing against it, but you judge it so harshly as to say it’s useless. Well I know a lot of people who don’t feel it’s useless. I don’t have one myself, but I see the potential of using it in varied ways. In fact maybe you even have never heard of it, but there’s an app you should have called BetterTouchTool... and this utility actually enables you to do amazing custom stuff with the touchbar. Again, you’re wrong - SO wrong. You say the visualizer makes the touchbar useful. I disagree wholeheartedly that this is a useful feature. In fact more useless than the stock touchbar functionality as it doesn’t do anything actually useful or productive. It might look pretty ... and I would probably get it, but I just wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is now finally useful versus it being totally useless without a visualizer. I could go on further ******* this article, but I don’t want to depress you. I just wanted to set you straight on the touchbar because this article came off sounding like you actually believe that the touchbar was Apple’s worst idea. I was initially excited for it, and I still am looking forward to having one some day. I really wish they’d finally release an external magic keyboard with it.