3 apps to make the most of the MacBook Pro Touch Bar

December 24th 2017

3 apps to make the most of the MacBook Pro Touch Bar

If you have a MacBook Pro Touch Bar and are reading this, you are probably looking for some interesting things to do with it. Here are some cool apps that I found and now use every day. Nope, after all, the Touch Bar is not entirely useless!

For some reasons, many users of the Mac community look down on the Touch Bar implemented in the latest MacBook Pro generation. According to them, it is useless. What I really understand is that they do not use it and don't feel it is worth the extra money. Fair enough.

Leaving money consideration aside, I do prefer to have a Touch Bar than a static bar with dedicated keys that I'm not going to use much. Weirdly enough, people did not complain when they were told to throw away their candybar phone equiped with a physical keyboard for a touch screen smartphone that costs at least three times the price...They had no idea they'd get hooked on those apps!

As I stated before, this past year I have not used the Touch Bar to its full potential either. I have mostly used it for sound and display controls and for the Touch ID sensor. Also, I did say that I'd take time to look into a few hacks that have been made in 2017. Those are not confidential apps. Whoever does a Google search will stumble upon those. This is just a recap of the best I found.

There are a few hacks that consist in bundling a game into the TouchBar. It shows that the whole thing is hackable. But it's pretty much useless. I'm not going to mention them.

Rocket

The concept of Rocket is quite simple : to put an access to your Dock, right into the Touch Bar. And I do wonder why Apple did not do that in the first place.

Rocket is trigged by the keyboard shortcut of your choice. The default one (CMD + <) works great for me. In its initial configuration, Rocket only shows opened apps and displays a button to open the full dock. Yet you can customize it. I personally chose to have the full dock right away, opened apps being highlighted anyways.

Rocket also enables you to set up quick access to specific folders of your choice. When you select one, the Finder will open up to the right path. It is simple and convenient, better than TouchSwitcher.

Learn more about Rocket



Haptic Touchbar

One thing that I was expecting with the Touch Bar was haptic feedbacks. After all, when Apple introduced their new touchpad, they did an excellent job. Again, why would they overlook that tiny feature ?

That's precisely what Haptic Touchbar does. The small utility is sold for $5 but you can try it for free for 15 days to get the idea. It adds another icon in your menu bar, but you can choose to hide it in the options.

Haptic Touchbar enables you to choose the intensity of the feedback. It also allows you to add the default sound effect of macOS as well as conntrol the volume of the tap. Too bad, though, it does not make that haptic feedback sound when launching an app from Rocket.

Learn more about Haptic Touchbar



BetterTouchTool

This utility is actually quite popular. It allows you to augment your Mac in several ways, mostly by creating highly customizable action shortcuts for your (Magic) mouse, touchpad, keyboard, Apple Remote, globally or per application. And now, it includes support for the Touch Bar.

With BetterTouchTool, you can create a specific button, with the icon of your choice, to trigger a shortcut or an action. There are virtually hundreds of possiblities.

However, BetterTouchTool is much more complex. You can actually create widgets displaying time and date right in the Touch Bar, you can have an app switcher or show the current track playing in Spotify. You can also directly integrate Apple scripts.

You can get a licence for BetterTouch Tool for about $5.

Learn more about BetterTouchTool



Bonus : Mute Me

If you use Skype, Hangouts or FaceTime a lot on your Mac, then Mute Me might be useful to you. It does just one thing : add a shortcut in the Touch Bar to mute/unmute your microphones.

Learn more about Mute Me



Should I find any other useful utilities, I'll update this post to mention them here.