The Bear on Bar launched on the 2016 MacBook Pro. Fast-forward to now, and information technology’south all simply gone from the Mac lineup. A touch-sensitive OLED strip along the keyboard top, the Bear on Bar, with its app shortcuts, seemed great. It certainly gave an impressive demo! Only when I upgraded my MacBook, the Touch Bar struck me as a nuisance rather than a convenience. And then I did the unthinkable and disabled Affect Bar functionality later on but a few months.

Hither’south why I did information technology and how yous can do the same.

Bug With Apple’s “Groundbreaking” Touch on Bar

Apple’s printing release sold the Impact Bar equally a “revolutionary” and “groundbreaking” feature, highlighting dynamic app shortcuts that automatically inverse as you multitasked. Many of Apple’due south stock apps supported these shortcuts, including Mail service, Safari, Messages, QuickTime Player, and others (read our primer on what the Touch Bar does and how it works for more than).

In QuickTime Player, for example, the Touch Bar provides playback controls along with a helpful video scrubber. In Letters, accessing emoji lets yous gyre through emoticons and pick the one you demand right from your Bear upon Bar. And in the Photos app, the Bear upon Bar provides image editing controls and a precise dial when rotating an prototype.

And then what is there not to like about the Impact Bar? Well, here are my biggest hurting points:

  • Usability problems:
    It’due south a poorly implemented solution in search of a problem.
  • Limited adoption:
    Not all apps back up Touch Bar shortcuts.
  • Steep learning bend:
    Learning to do the same things differently is a waste of time.
  • No more than physical role keys:
    Besides many steps to change the volume or brightness.
  • A soft Escape key:
    A not-tactile Escape key is too piece of cake to miss when typing.

Mayhap these reasons audio familiar to you?

Usability Problems

Switching your gaze back and along—from the main screen to the tiny Touch Bar strip, then back again—breaks the catamenia of your thoughts and disrupts your concentration. In virtually cases, you can invoke the same action much faster using a keyboard shortcut.

Express Adoption

Photoshop window

Many popular, tertiary-party apps back up Touch on Bar shortcuts, including Microsoft Office and Spotify, but the level of implementation varies greatly from 1 app to another.

Adobe Photoshop, one of the first apps to back up the Touch Bar, has remained to this twenty-four hours among the rare apps that push this characteristic to professional-like levels. Past contrast, the Twitter app offers rudimentary Touch Bar support, such as composing a tweet, opening settings, viewing lists, and composing direct letters, with lots of bare space. Boring, no?

Steep Learning Curve

Close up of MacBook touch bar

Touch on Bar integration in the djay Pro app allows y’all to manipulate two decks simultaneously, manually select the active deck, and navigate the library to preview and fix songs, among other features.

While I enjoyed those shortcuts, I chop-chop realized I already knew how to exercise everything using the trackpad. And mayhap more than importantly, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to learn to exercise the same things differently. One time I decided the Touch Bar’s steep learning curve wasn’t for me, my interest in the feature chop-chop waned.

No More than Physical Function Keys

A closeup of Apple MacBook Pro's Touch Bar showcasing the scrubber control for QuickTime Player

With the concrete function keys gone, you no longer have tactile controls for media playback, volume and effulgence, and so on. The problem with their virtual Bear on Bar counterparts is requiring more steps to perform the simplest of deportment, such equally volume aligning.

A Soft Escape Key

A closeup of Apple MacBook Pro's Touch Bar displaying a scrubber control for QuickTime Player

You won’t realize how badly you need a concrete Escape key until information technology’s taken away from you. I can hit a physical Escape key without looking, but trying to exercise the same with its digital version is an exercise in frustration. You probably use the Escape key more often than y’all think to cancel various actions, for example. And developers in detail make heavy use of this central.

One More Thing…

A closeup of Apple MacBook Pro's Touch Bar showcasing the dial control for cropping images in the Photos app

There’s 1 final reason I decided to ditch the Touch on Bar: I like the rest of the input controls much more than. Apple now offers one of the smoothest typing experiences with improved mechanical keys on its Magic Keyboards. On elevation of that, MacBooks ship with spacious trackpads, giving you more room to roam.

By comparing, the Impact Bar surface but doesn’t feel as good to my fingers. The flat OLED strip, while gorgeous, lacks the bounce of a mechanical key and the roominess and smoothness of Apple’s glass, multitouch trackpads.

Why Not Customize the Touch Bar?

Customizing the Touch Bar shortcuts in Apple's Safari browser for the Mac on macOS Monterey

Now, I could’ve made my life easier by delving deep into the Bear upon Bar settings and ruddy-picking which app shortcuts appear on my Impact Bar, I’ll give you that. But fifty-fifty that can’t change the fact that the Impact Bar interferes with the most basic of computer interactions—typing on the keyboard. And with every compatible app offering its own ready of shortcuts, customizing the hell out of the Bear on Bar seemed like a fool’southward errand.

How to Disable Touch Bar Functionality

There’s no impale switch to completely disable the Touch Bar. Instead, y’all can configure it to replace per-app shortcuts with either traditional function keys or full general media controls. To practice and so, choose
Arrangement Preferences
from the
menu or the
Dock. Next, click the
icon in the System Preferences window, and then select the
tab. At present click the menu next to
Touch Bar shows
and cull the
Expanded Control Strip

A screenshot of Apple's System Preferences app on macOS Monterey illustrating how to adjust the Touch Bar to always display Mac media controls instead of app shortcuts

Finally, choose whether your Touch on Bar will display function keys or system media controls.

  • Function keys:
    Click the menu next to
    Touch Bar shows, and then choose
    F1, F2, etc. Keys.
  • Media controls:
    Click the menu next to
    Bear upon Bar shows
    and hit
    Expanded Control Strip.

Choosing the
F1, F2, etc. Keys
option swaps your media controls for the traditional office keys on your Touch Bar, forth with an Escape key, equally evidenced past the image below.

Close up of MacBook touch bar

Conversely, selecting
Expanded Command Strip
will only display Impact Bar shortcuts for media playback, as well equally the volume and brightness controls and defended buttons for macOS features such as Mission Command, LaunchPad, and Siri.

Close up of MacBook touch bar

Regardless of your preferred layout, you lot can optionally set your Mac’s function key to temporarily evidence virtual function keys when double-tapped. To practise this, click the menu next to
Printing and hold the fn key to, then choose
Prove F1, F2, etc. Keys. This allows y’all to press your Mac’due south
Function (fn)
key twice to display virtual function keys on the Touch Bar.

Honestly, I Rarely Employ My Bear on Bar

I’yard not saying I’ll never employ the Touch Bar again—I still use it in Photoshop and as a fun emoji picker. Aside from that, the Touch on Bar is merely not that useful to me. Skilful thing the feature is on its style out, with the current 13-inch MacBook Pro the sole model providing i. I’m also happy Apple omitted a Bear on Bar from its standalone wireless keyboards.

In reality, the Touch Bar offers little more than some other way to perform the same everyday tasks nosotros’ve been doing for years. All it does is mess with years of musculus memory past shoving a feature no one was asking for down our throats. Or, to put information technology another way, it isn’t worth the premium price of admission despite what Apple tree’south PR section might tell you.