Does your MacBook Pro have an OLED Touch Bar along the top of the keyboard? Keep reading to learn how to customize it to your advantage. This article assumes your Mac is running macOS Ventura or later.

Touch Bar 13 Inch MacBook Pro
Since 2016, certain models of Apple's MacBook Pro have included a Touch Bar, a small touch-sensitive OLED display strip that displays virtual buttons. On MacBook Pro models that have a Touch Bar, the control strip replaces the top row of function keys, and it also has a Touch ID sensor integrated into the power button on the right.

When interacting with your Mac, you've probably noticed how the Touch Bar offers up contextual controls depending on what you're doing. You may see additional options displayed there for an app you're using, or you perhaps typing suggestions appear when you're entering text.

If the Touch Bar isn't really adding value to your Mac life, why not change its behavior? You can even switch up the layout to make it more functional. The following steps show you how it's done.

Changing the Touch Bar's Behavior

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in the menu bar and select System Settings....
  2. Scroll down the sidebar and select Keyboard.
  3. Click Touch Bar Settings....


There are several changes you can make from this settings screen. Touch Bar Shows lets you switch between App Controls, Expanded Control Strip, F1, F2, etc. Keys, Quick Actions, and Spaces. The Show Control Strip toggle lets you decide whether you want access to the expandable strip of traditional Mac function key controls, which include things like volume, brightness, and media playback buttons.

You can also choose what displays on the Touch Bar when you press the fn key on your keyboard, which is a convenient way of accessing more functionality. In the dropdown next to Press and hold fn key to you'll find options including App Controls, Expanded Control Strip, F1, F2, etc. Keys, Quick Actions, and Spaces. Lastly, the Show typing suggestions switch lets you toggle typing suggestions on and off.

How to Customize Your Mac's Touch Bar

There are several buttons that you can add to the OLED strip that you might find useful to have displayed above the keyboard. Here's a full list of the buttons that you can choose to have displayed on the Touch Bar:

  • Brightness Slider
  • Mission Control
  • Spotlight
  • Play/Pause
  • Volume Slider
  • Mute
  • Siri
  • Notification Center
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Night Shift
  • Screenshot
  • Dictation
  • Input Sources
  • Launchpad
  • AirPlay
  • Show Desktop
  • Screen Saver
  • Screen Lock
  • Sleep
  • Quick Actions

Customizing the control strip's displayed buttons is the best way to get the most out of the Touch Bar because you can choose the features you use the most. Here's how to go about making your selection.

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in the menu bar and select System Settings....
  2. Scroll down the sidebar and select Keyboard.
  3. Click Touch Bar Settings....

  4. Click Customize Control Strip....
  5. Drag items to the bottom of the screen to add them to the Touch Bar. To remove an item from the Touch Bar, simply drag it up.

Touch Bar

Did you know that it's possible to take a screenshot of the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro? Click the link learn how it's done.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 13"
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.4 for iPhone Nearing Launch With These 5 New Features

Monday March 20, 2023 11:50 am PDT by
Apple says iOS 16.4 is coming in the spring, which began this week. In his Sunday newsletter, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said the update should be released "in the next three weeks or so," meaning a public release is likely in late March or early April. iOS 16.4 remains in beta testing and introduces a handful of new features and changes for the iPhone. Below, we have recapped five new features ...
iPhone 15 Pro Buttons CAD Leak

iPhone 15 Pro Leak Reveals Unified Volume Button and Mute Button

Monday March 20, 2023 8:33 am PDT by
As previously rumored, the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will feature a unified volume button and a mute button, according to leaked CAD images shared in a video on the Chinese version of TikTok and posted to Twitter by ShrimpApplePro. Instead of separate buttons for volume up and volume down, the iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to have a single elongated button for...
voice isolation

iOS 16.4 Adds Voice Isolation for Cellular Phone Calls

Tuesday March 21, 2023 11:01 am PDT by
The iOS 16.4 update that is set to be released to the public in the near future includes voice isolation for cellular calls, according to notes that Apple shared today. Apple says that Voice Isolation will prioritize your voice and block out the ambient noise around you, making for clearer phone calls where you can better hear the person you're chatting with and vice versa. Voice...
airpodsd 3 purple 4

iOS 16.4 Seemingly References New AirPods and AirPods Case

Tuesday March 21, 2023 11:43 am PDT by
The iOS 16.4 release candidate version that was provided to developers today appears to hint at a new set of AirPods that could be coming in the near future. According to @aaronp613, the beta features references to AirPods that have a model number of A3048 and an AirPods case with a model number of A2968. There have been no rumors that new AirPods are on the horizon, and it is early for...

Nothing Launches $149 Ear (2) Wireless Earbuds to Compete With AirPods Pro 2

Wednesday March 22, 2023 9:48 am PDT by
Nothing today announced the launch of its second-generation wireless earbuds, the Nothing Ear (2), which offer many of the same features as Apple's AirPods Pro 2 at a lower price point. We went hands-on with the Ear (2) earbuds to see whether they're a viable alternative to the AirPods Pro 2 for those who want to save some cash. The Ear (2) earbuds are the successor to the Nothing Ear (1),...
iOS 16

Apple Seeds Release Candidate Versions of iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 to Developers [Update: Public RC Available]

Tuesday March 21, 2023 10:25 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the release candidate versions of upcoming iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after the launch of the fourth betas. The RCs mark the final version of the software that will be provided to the public in the near future. Registered developers are able to download the iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 updates...
apple park at night 1

Apple 'Tracking Employee Attendance' in Crackdown on Remote Working

Thursday March 23, 2023 3:41 am PDT by
Apple is tracking the attendance of its employees at offices using badge records in order to ensure they are coming in at least three times a week, according to Platformer's Zoë Schiffer. Since April 2022, Apple employees have been operating on a hybrid home/office work policy as part of a gradual return strategy following the pandemic, with staff required to work from the office at least...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple feature purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumor Recap: 10 New Features and Changes to Expect

Thursday March 23, 2023 6:42 am PDT by
While the iPhone 15 series is still around six months away from launching, there have already been plenty of rumors about the devices. Many new features and changes have been rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in particular. Below, we have recapped 10 changes rumored for iPhone 15 Pro models that are not expected to be available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus:A1...