How to make the Touch Bar slightly more tolerable!

Because let’s face it, no one asked to have our function keys taken away!

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

I don’t know how many times I’ve set my hand down to rest only to accidentally hit something on the Apple Touch Bar and end up losing my work…

Or how about when I actually need to use the Touch Bar to switch the currently playing song, adjust the volume level, or change the display brightness; 2 taps instead of 1…

And the Esc key—wait, where is it? Argh…

Animated GIF of a man flipping a table in frustration (Nathan Barnatt to be specific.)

It’s been a bit of a frustrating experience so far to say the least. 😐

Hey don’t sweat it

The good news is I’ve found a method to basically turn the Touch Bar set of controls back into the original keyset from older MacBooks of yesteryear! Except, you know, without the physical keys.

1. Adjust the Touch Bar settings

In order to always show the “default” set of keys, like on older MacBooks, go to Settings > Keyboard.

Then find the “Touch Bar shows” control and set it to, Expanded Control Strip. That’s it! 💪

Screenshot of the macOS Keyboard Settings panel. The “Touch Bar Shows” and “Press Fn key to” controls are highlighted with an orange border.

Ensure that the “Press Fn key to” control is set to Show F1, F2, etc. Keys in order to retain that familiar functionality, too.

2. Remove Siri

This is an extra step I took to remove Siri from the Touch Bar. I never use it so might as well remove what I never use, right? #minimalism

Remove Siri by going to Settings > Keyboard once again.

Then, click the “Customize Control Strip…” button. From here, you can use your mouse to grab the Siri icon from the Touch Bar, then drag up and drop it off with the other lost controls looking for a home. Easy! 👍

Animated GIF of a MacBook with its Control Strip being edited.

Enjoy a slightly more tolerable Touch Bar

At this point your Touch Bar should resemble what used to be the very top row of keys on the old MacBooks!

For comparison, here’s mine after making the above adjustments:

A MacBook keyboard with its Touch Bar only displaying the “expanded control strip” keys: Esc, display brightness, Exposé, Launchpad, key backlit brightness, media keys, and volume keys.

I for one can’t wait until Apple releases their latest, revolutionary MacBook with, gasp, physical keys! What a time to be alive…

Enjoy! 😄⌨️🚀