macOS High Sierra

Use the Touch Bar

If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can use familiar gestures—like tap, swipe, or slide—directly on the Touch Bar to adjust settings, use Siri, access function keys, and do tasks in different apps.

A keyboard with the Touch Bar across the top; Touch ID is located at the right end of the Touch Bar.

The Touch Bar includes Touch ID, which lets you unlock your Mac and some password-protected items, use Apple Pay to make purchases on the web, and make purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. To learn how to set up Touch ID, see Use Touch ID on your Mac.

Touch Bar basics

The Control Strip, at the right end of the Touch Bar, lets you adjust common settings—like brightness and volume—and ask Siri. You can expand it to access additional settings and features. The other buttons available in the Touch Bar depend on the app you’re using or the task you’re doing.

The Touch Bar with buttons that vary by app or task on the left and the collapsed Control Strip on the right.
  • Change the brightness or volume, or ask Siri: Tap the buttons in the Control Strip. For brightness and volume, you can also quickly flick left or right on the buttons.

    The collapsed Control Strip includes buttons—from left to right—to expand the Control Strip, increase or decrease display brightness and volume, mute or unmute, and ask Siri.
  • Expand the Control Strip: Tap the Expand button, or press the Fn key on the keyboard (if the “Press Fn key” option in Keyboard preferences is set to expand the Control Strip).

    Tap the buttons in the expanded Control Strip to access additional settings and macOS features like Mission Control and Launchpad, or to control video or music playback. For some settings—such as display brightness—you can touch and hold the button to change the setting.

    Buttons in the expanded Control Strip include—from left to right—display brightness, Mission Control, Launchpad, keyboard brightness, video or music playback, and volume.

    To collapse the Control Strip, tap the Close button.

  • Use other buttons: Tap buttons to quickly do tasks in the app you’re using. Each app is different—try it out to see what you can do. For example, here’s how the Touch Bar looks when you select a file in the Finder:

    The Touch Bar with buttons specific to the Finder, such as the Share button.

    And here’s how it looks when you view a picture in the Photos app:

    The Touch Bar with buttons specific to Photos, such as the Favorites and Rotate buttons.

    To add buttons to the Touch Bar in some apps, see Customize the Touch Bar.

  • Add emoji to your text: Tap the Emoji button, then tap the emoji you want to use.

    The Emoji button in the left half of the Touch Bar.

Typing suggestions

When you’re typing text, the Touch Bar can show words or phrases you might want to use next (called typing suggestions), to help you save time.

  • Show typing suggestions: Tap the Typing Suggestions button.

    The Typing suggestions button on the right half of the Touch Bar.
  • Use typing suggestions: Tap a word, phrase, or emoji. Spelling corrections are shown in blue.

    Typing suggestions showing words and emojis, and the button on the left to hide typing suggestions.
  • Hide typing suggestions: Tap the Close button in the Touch Bar.

If you don’t see the Typing Suggestions button in the Touch Bar, choose View > Customize Touch Bar, then select “Show typing suggestions.” Or choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Text, then select “Touch Bar typing suggestions.”

Open the Text pane for me

Colors

In apps where you can change the color of text or objects, you can use the Touch Bar to select a color, shade, or model (such as RGB or HSB).

The Touch Bar showing the Colors button among app-specific buttons.
  • Select a color: Touch and hold the Colors button, then slide your finger to a color.

    The Touch Bar showing colors from red on the left to black on the right.
  • Select a shade: Tap the Colors button, touch and hold a color, then slide your finger to a shade.

  • Select a model: Tap the Colors button, tap the color list on the left, then tap a color model. To use a custom color you saved, tap Swatches.

    The Touch Bar showing color models—from left to right—Simple, Grayscale, RGB, CMYK, and HSB. At the right end is the Swatches button.

    Use the sliders for a model to change values, such as hue or saturation. To save your changes to Swatches, tap the color (a + appears), then tap it again (a checkmark appears).

    The Touch Bar showing hue, saturation, and brightness sliders for the HSB model. At the left end is the button to show all profiles; at the right, the button to save a custom color.
  • Hide colors or the color values: Tap the Close button in the Touch Bar.

Function keys

Many macOS keyboard shortcuts use function keys (F1 through F12). For example, if you enabled Dashboard, you can use F12 to show it. The function keys are available in the Touch Bar.

  • Use the function keys: Press and hold the Fn key on the keyboard (if the “Press Fn key” option in Keyboard preferences is set to show function keys), then tap a function key in the Touch Bar.

    Function keys in the Touch Bar.

    If a keyboard shortcut includes a modifier, such as Option or Command, press and hold the Fn key with the modifier key. For example, to use Control-F3 to move to the Dock, press and hold the Fn and Control keys together, then tap F3 in the Touch Bar.

Customize the Touch Bar

For some apps, you can customize the Touch Bar so that it contains buttons for your favorite tasks in that app. You can also change which buttons are shown in the Control Strip.

  1. In an app, choose View > Customize Touch Bar.

  2. Add, rearrange, or remove buttons in the Touch Bar.

    To switch between changing buttons for the current app and the Control Strip, just tap the Touch Bar. (You can’t customize buttons for all apps.)

    • Add buttons: Use the trackpad or mouse to drag a button from the screen to the Touch Bar; buttons in the Touch Bar jiggle slightly.

    • Rearrange buttons: Use your finger on the Touch Bar to drag a button.

    • Remove buttons: Use the trackpad or mouse to drag a button from the Touch Bar to the screen.

  3. When you’re finished, click Done on the screen or tap Done in the Touch Bar.

You can also customize the Control Strip in System Preferences. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Keyboard, then click Customize Control Strip.

Open Keyboard preferences for me

Set options for the Touch Bar

You can set options that change what’s shown in the Touch Bar. For example, instead of showing app buttons and the collapsed Control Strip, you can have the Touch Bar show just the expanded Control Strip or just app buttons. You can also change what happens when you press the Fn key on the keyboard.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Keyboard.

    Open Keyboard preferences for me

  2. Set options.

    • Touch Bar shows: Click the pop-up menu, then choose an option (App Controls with Control Strip, Expanded Control Strip, or App Controls).

    • Press Fn key to: Click the pop-up menu, then choose an option (Expand Control Strip, Show App Controls, Show Control Strip, or Show F1, F2, etc. Keys).

      The options available depend on what you set for the “Touch Bar shows” option.

To always show function keys (F1, F2, etc.) in the Touch Bar for specific apps, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, click Shortcuts, select Function Keys in the list on the left, then add the apps on the right.

Open the Shortcuts pane for me