Touch Bar Tips

The Touch Bar on MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) and MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) replaces the function keys at the top of your keyboard and gives you quick access to commands on your Mac. It changes automatically based on what you’re doing and apps that you’re using.

If you need access to function keys (F1–F12), hold down the Function (fn) key at the bottom-left of your keyboard. Touch Bar changes to show the function keys for you to select, and then it returns to its previous state when you release the Function key.

For some apps, you can make the function keys display permanently in Touch Bar:

  1. In System Preferences, choose Keyboard.
  2. Click Shortcuts.
  3. From the left sidebar, select Function Keys.
  4. Click the “+” symbol, then navigate to the app and select it.

Now when you open or switch to this app, Touch Bar always displays the function keys.


You can also use an on-screen keyboard to access function keys:

  1. From System Preferences, select Keyboard.
  2. Check “Show Keyboard, Emoji and symbol viewers in menu bar”.
  3. Choose the viewer icon  in the menu bar, then choose Show Keyboard Viewer.

An on-screen keyboard appears with function keys that you can click.

Find system controls and settings in the Control Strip

When you start up your MacBook Pro, the Control Strip on the right side of the Touch Bar shows a few familiar buttons like volume, mute, and display brightness, as well as Siri. The Escape (Esc) button appears on the left side of the Touch Bar.

System controls: Tap  in the Control Strip and it expands, showing system controls like brightness, Exposé, Launchpad, and media playback:

Make your adjustments, then tap . The Control Strip returns to its smaller version on the right side of the Touch Bar, with Esc showing on the left side. You can always tap  to expand the Control Strip and see all the system controls.

Function buttons: To use the F1–F12 function buttons in the Touch Bar, hold the Function (fn) key at the bottom left of your keyboard. The function keys appear:

Learn more about using function keys on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

As you use your Mac, the Touch Bar changes automatically based on what you’re doing to show relevant tools that you already know how to use. Read on for examples of what the Touch Bar can do in your favorite apps, and learn how to customize the Touch Bar to make it your own.

Use Touch Bar controls in apps

Many of the built-in apps on your Mac have Touch Bar controls that make common actions even easier. And your favorite third-party apps can take advantage of Touch Bar as well.

Here’s a look at what Touch Bar can do in some popular Mac apps. Explore your other favorite apps to see what Touch Bar offers.


Navigate and view: In Finder, tap the arrows in the Touch Bar to move back and forth among items, and tap  to view items in Quick Look.

View and sort: Tap  to see options for viewing and sorting your files and folders.

Share: Tap  to see options for sharing your files.

Tag: Tap  to see tags you can apply to items.


Visit your favorites: In Safari, tap a favorite website in Touch Bar to open it.

Navigate and search: Click the right or left arrow button to go backward or forward. Tap the search field to begin a search, or tap  to open a new tab.


Perform common tasks: You can use the Touch Bar in Mail for composing, replying, archiving, marking as junk, and flagging messages.

Use predictive input: In Mail and other apps where you compose text, the Touch Bar predicts as you type. Tap a word or emoji to insert it.

Format your text: As you type a message, select some text and the Touch Bar shows you formatting options like bold, italic, and lists.

Say it with emoji: In apps like Mail and Messages, you can choose emoji instead of words for a fun way to make your point. Tap  to see the emoji you use most, and then tap an emoji to insert it.


Speed through your library: In Photos, the Touch Bar speeds your search for just the right photo as you slide your finger across the thumbnails. You can tap  to mark a selected photo as a favorite or tap  rotate it.

Edit your photos: After you select a photo, tap  to see editing options (crop, filters, adjust, retouch, and red-eye). You can edit your photo using controls that appear on the Touch Bar.


Find yourself: In Maps, tap  in the Touch Bar to find your location. Tap the search field to type where you want to go.

See what’s nearby: The Touch Bar shows buttons with categories of nearby locations, like restaurants, hotels, and gas stations.

Get there: When you select a location to visit, you see options for getting directions, calling the business, or viewing its website.


Take a note: In Notes, tap  in the Touch Bar to create a new note. Tap  to add a checklist item.

Format your text: Tap  to show buttons for aligning text and applying bold, italic, or underscore styles.

Apply styles: Tap  to apply paragraph styles like numbered lists, bulleted lists, or headings.


See your day: In Calendar, tap the Today button to see today’s events, or slide across the Touch Bar to select the month—past or future.

Edit your events: Select an event in your calendar, then tap to get the event details, edit the time or place, and add or delete invitees.


Control your calls: In FaceTime, you can make and answer calls, get caller info, and send a message or email when you can’t talk—all from the Touch Bar.

Customize your Touch Bar

In many apps, like Finder, Mail, and Safari, you can customize the Touch Bar.

Choose View > Customize Touch Bar. The customization window appears on your display, allowing you to choose your favorite items:

When you’re customizing the Touch Bar, its buttons jiggle, and you see the Done button on the left side.

Use your cursor to drag items that you want down into the Touch Bar. You can also drag items left and right within the Touch Bar to rearrange them, or drag them up and out of the Touch Bar to remove them.

Tap Done in the Touch Bar or click Done on the screen when you finish.

To customize the Control Strip, select View > Customize Touch Bar in any app that supports customization, then touch the Control Strip region of the Touch Bar to switch to Control Strip customization. You can also customize the Control Strip in the Keyboard section of System Preferences.

Explore and experiment

Most apps include shortcuts, tools, and controls in the Touch Bar for the tasks that you want to do. Tap around to see what you can accomplish quickly and easily.

It’s often easier to tap the Touch Bar than to click or select items onscreen. For example, open Calculator and do quick calculations with the number keys and the functions on the Touch Bar—without moving your cursor, clicking, and typing.

Keep using the Touch Bar to find the best ways to do what you want, and explore your favorite third-party apps as they add a new dimension with Touch Bar features.

Use accessibility options with Touch Bar

The accessibility features that help you use your Mac can also help you use the Touch Bar. Hold the Command key while you press Touch ID (power button) three times to toggle VoiceOver, which reads aloud Touch Bar commands.

Use VoiceOver with Touch Bar

VoiceOver tells you what’s on your screen, and walks you through actions like selecting a menu option or activating a button using your keyboard or trackpad. It can also tell you what’s on your Touch Bar.

To turn VoiceOver on or off, hold the Command key and triple-press the Touch ID button, which is on the right side of Touch Bar at the top of your keyboard:


After you turn on VoiceOver, you can use these gestures with Touch Bar:

  • Move one finger over the Touch Bar to change the Touch Bar focus and have VoiceOver announce the element under your finger.
  • Swipe left or right with one finger to move the Touch Bar focus to the previous or next Touch Bar element.
  • Double-tap anywhere on the Touch Bar to activate the element under the Touch Bar focus.
  • Split-tap (touch an item with one finger, then tap the Touch Bar with another) to activate the element under the first finger you use.
  • Double-tap and hold to enter direct touch mode for the element under the Touch Bar focus. This allows you to adjust sliders.

Use Touch Bar Zoom

If you use the Zoom feature on your Mac, you can also turn on Touch Bar Zoom.

Select Apple menu () > System Preferences. Then click on Accessibility, select Zoom, and turn on Enable Touch Bar Zoom.

Here’s what you can do after you turn on Touch Bar Zoom:

  • Touch and drag with one finger on the Touch Bar to see a zoomed view of the Touch Bar on your display.
  • Change the magnification level by holding down the Command key and use a two-finger pinch gesture.
  • While panning with one finger, quickly tap with a second finger to synthesize a tap where your first finger is. Hold the second finger down and move both fingers together to synthesize a tap down and drag where your first finger is.
  • Hold your finger still in one location to enter direct-touch mode, which allows you to interact directly with the control under your finger.

Use Switch Control with Touch Bar

You can use Switch Control to display Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro screen. This lets you access Touch Bar elements with standard pointer controls.

First, turn on Switch Control:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Accessibility, then click Switch Control.
  2. Click General, then select Enable Switch Control. The Switch Control Home Panel appears on your desktop.

Next, toggle Touch Bar:

  1. In the Switch Control Home Panel, click System.
  2. Click Toggle Touch Bar to show or hide Touch Bar.

Learn more about using pointer controls.

Use Accessibility Options to turn on other features

macOS features an Accessibility Options window that lets you quickly turn on or off common accessibility features like Zoom, VoiceOver, Sticky Keys, and more. To bring up this window on your MacBook Pro, triple-press the Touch ID button.

Continuity Tips

Use Continuity to connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac

Continuity lets you seamlessly move between your iOS devices and your Mac, or use them together.

Continuity on Mac, iPhone, and iPad
Continuity features include Handoff, iPhone Cellular Calls, SMS, and Instant Hotspot. For example, you can start an email or document on your iPhone and pick up where you left off on your iPad. Or you can use your iPad or Mac to make and receive phone calls through your iPhone.

Before you begin

To use Continuity, check that your iOS device or Mac meets the system requirements for this feature.


With Handoff, you can start a document, email, or message on one device and pick up where you left off from another device. Handoff works with Apple apps like Mail, Safari, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Some third-party apps are also compatible.

Set up Handoff

  • Check that you’re signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all of your devices.
  • Turn on Bluetooth on all of your devices and connect them to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Make sure that your devices are near each other.

Use Handoff

  1. On one of your devices, open a compatible app, like Mail or Pages.
  2. Use the app to start a task, like writing an email or a document.
  3. Then you can switch to a different iOS device or Mac. If you switch to a Mac, you can press Command-Tab to pick up where you left off, or you can click the app icon in your Dock:
    Continuity in the Dock on a Mac
    If you switch to a different iOS device, there are two ways to pick up where you left off:
Continuity on iPhoneYou can swipe up from the bottom-left edge of the Lock screen, where you see the app’s activity icon mail icon in iOS  . 
Find Continuity app on multitasking screen of iPhoneOr if you aren’t on the Lock screen, double-click the Home button. On the multitasking screen that appears, tap the banner at the bottom of your screen.

Turn off Handoff

If you want to turn off Handoff on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps. Then turn off Handoff.

On your Mac, go to System Preferences > General. Then uncheck the Allow Handoff setting.

iPhone Cellular Calls

With Continuity, make or receive calls from iPad, iPod touch, or Mac

With Continuity, you can make and receive cellular phone calls from your iPad, iPod touch, or Mac when your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network.

Your carrier might support Wi-Fi calling on other devices. If so, you can set up your Mac and other iOS devices to make and receive calls even when your iPhone isn’t on or nearby. 

Set up iPhone Cellular Calls

  • You need iOS 8 or later on your iOS devices and OS X Yosemite or later on your Mac.
  • Check that you’re signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all of your devices.
  • Use the same Wi-Fi network on all of your devices.
  • Sign in to FaceTime with the same Apple ID on all of your devices. This means any device that shares your Apple ID will get your phone calls. If you don’t want to receive calls on your other devices, learn what to do.

Make a call or answer a call

  • To make a phone call on your Mac, find a contact’s phone number in Contacts, Calendar, or Safari. Hover over the number and click the phone icon that appears to the right of the number.
  • To make a phone call on your iPad or iPod touch, tap or click a phone number in Contacts, Calendar, or Safari.
  • On your iPad or iPod touch, you can slide to answer a phone call. On your Mac, a notification appears when someone calls your iPhone. Then you can answer the call, send it to voicemail, or send the caller a message, right from your Mac.

Turn off iPhone Cellular Calls

To turn off iPhone cellular calls on your iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings > FaceTime and turn off iPhone Cellular Calls.

On your Mac, open the FaceTime app and go to FaceTime > Preferences. Click Settings and deselect the iPhone Cellular Calls option.


With Continuity, send text messages from your Mac, iPad, or iPod touch

With Continuity, all the SMS and MMS text messages that you send and receive on your iPhone can also appear on your Mac, iPad, and iPod touch. You can also reply to your contacts from whichever device is closest to you, including your iPad or Mac.

You can start a conversation in the Messages app or click a phone number in Safari, Contacts, or Calendar.

Set up SMS and MMS with Continuity

  1. You need iOS 8 or later on your iOS devices and OS X Yosemite or later on your Mac.
  2. Sign in to iMessage with the same Apple ID on your iPhone, your other iOS devices, and your Mac.
  3. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Add a check to both your phone number and email address. Then go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding and enable the device or devices that you want to forward messages to.
  4. Look for a code on the Mac, iPad, or iPod touch that you enabled. Then enter this verification code on your iPhone.


Instant Hotspot

With Continuity, you can use Instant Hotspot on your iPhone to provide Internet to other devices

With Instant Hotspot, you can use Personal Hotspot on your iOS device to provide Internet access to your other devices, without having to enter your password.

Set up Personal Hotspot

Sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on each of your devices. Then check that your cellular provider has provisioned Personal Hotspot.

Use Personal Hotspot

  • You can use Personal Hotspot on one iOS device to provide Internet to another iOS device: For example, to get online on your iPad through Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your iPad. Then tap the network under Personal Hotspots that’s named for your iPhone.
  • You can also use Personal Hotspot on your iOS device to provide Internet to your Mac: Go to the Wi-Fi menu at the top of your Mac screen. Then select the network named for your iOS device.

System requirements for Continuity on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac

Continuity lets you seamlessly move between your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac, or use them together. You can use Continuity features on the devices listed below.

Continuity features include Handoff, Instant Hotspot, Phone Calling, and SMS. Here are the device requirements by feature.

Handoff and Instant Hotspot

Handoff and Instant Hotspot are supported by the following Mac models, and require OS X Yosemite or later:

  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 and later)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
  • iMac (Late 2012 and later)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 and later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

Handoff is supported by the following iOS devices and requires iOS 8 or later. Instant Hotspot requires one of these iPhone or iPad devices with cellular connectivity and iOS 8.1 or later. Instant Hotspot also requires Personal Hotspot service through your carrier.

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad Air or later
  • iPad mini or later
  • iPod touch (5th generation) or later

Phone calling

This feature requires an iPhone with iOS 8.1 or later and an activated carrier plan. You can make and receive calls through your iPhone using Continuity on other iOS devices with iOS 8 or later, and on any Mac with OS X Yosemite or later.

If your Mac doesn’t include a built-in microphone (Mac mini, Mac Pro), you need to connect an external microphone or headset to make phone calls using this feature.


This feature requires an iPhone with iOS 8.1 or later and an activated carrier plan. You can send and receive and SMS messages through your iPhone using Continuity on other iOS devices with iOS 8 or later, and on any Mac with OS X Yosemite or later.


Maps Tips

There’s no doubt that Maps is a welcome addition to the first-party Apple apps that come with Mavericks. It’s certainly a great rival to Google and is of course much more integrated into the OS than Google Maps. It also works nicely with other applications and options such as sharing, and brings more consistency between iOS and Mac OS X.

Ever since Apple famously dropped Google Maps and instead used their own Maps app, they’ve come under a lot of fire for discrepancies in the data – such as incorrect landmarks (street names, places, etc) and missing or incorrectly rendered data – for example famous buildings and bridges that look completely mangled up in 3D mode.

Thankfully, Maps on iOS has come a long way, and is now arguably even better than Google Maps ever was. Unsurprisingly, Apple has now also released a Mac OS X version that comes preinstalled with Mavericks – with pretty much the same functionality, but of course perhaps even more useful on the big screen.

The nice thing about OS X Maps is that it’s used by all the built-in apps such as Calendar, so anywhere you see a map link, it should now launch the Maps app.

Flyover Mode

Maps has a stunning flyover mode with highly detailed 3D renderings

Launch Maps

To launch Maps, click the icon on your Dock (shown in the screenshot below) or just type Maps into SpotlightCmd-Spacebar) to find it.

Launch Maps

Click on the new Maps icon in your Dock to launch

It’s always better to view the app fullscreen, so if it’s not already maximised, tap Ctrl-Cmd-Fto enter fullscreen mode. The view should be immediately familiar – you’ll notice a clean interface and the map shown at your current location.

Maps default view

Open Maps and you’ll see the default view, centred on where you are


The beauty of Maps on the Mac is that, just like the iOS version, navigation is a doddle – if you have a trackpad then it will be very familiar to those used to iOS – 2 fingers moves the map around (or click and hold to drag), the pinch gesture can be used to zoom in/out and rotate, and there’s also a double-click option to zoom in on the point where your cursor is.

At the lower right, there are also zoom in/out buttons and compass showing your orientation.

Maps zoom controls

Use the buttons to zoom in and out. The compass shows orientation

And just like iOS Maps, there’s the three de facto viewing modes – Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite:

Standard mode looks like this:

Maps - standard view

The default view shows flat topography with roads

Hybrid mode adds roads and other markings combined with the satellite view:

Maps - hybrid view

The hybrid view is a cross between standard and satellite only

And Satellite mode is unsurprisingly a satellite-only version, as shown below:

Maps - satellite view

Satellite view even allows you to emulate the Eastenders credits…!

This should already be fairly familiar to anyone (and that’s just about everyone these days) who’s ever used a mapping app, but it’s nice to see it implemented so well and graphically rich (with intuitive navigation) on the Mac.

3D Flyover Mode

Flyover mode is one of the great new features of Maps. By using the small blue Building icon at the upper left, if you’re close enough to a feature and are viewing in Satellite mode, you’ll see a proper 3D render of the place in question:

Flyover Mode

Maps has a stunning flyover mode with highly detailed 3D renderings


Finding nearby places and points of interest is a breeze in Maps – just place your cursor in the Search field in the top right (or use Cmd-F) and start typing. As you type, any matches (such as landmarks, addresses and businesses) are automatically shown. Selecting an item will immediately take you to the correct location, highlighted with a pin.

Maps Search

Find landmarks and places of interest with ease

By clicking on the pin, you can view even more detail about the specific item selected, along with various options such as Add Bookmark, Add to Contacts and Get Directions.

Search Details

Click on any dropped pin to see a popup with relevant details


There’s even a share button, which when clicked gives you all the usual sharing options (such as Facebook and Twitter):

Sharing options in Maps

Click the share button to share the map in a plethora of ways…


Add a Bookmark

After selecting the pin, choose the Add Bookmark option

Sharing is also possible from the main menu bar – at any point just hit the Share button and choose one of the options.

Main Menu Share Button`

You can share any location from the Share button

For example, if sending by Messages, you’ll see a popup that prompts you to enter the recipient details:

Share any location

You can share any place using a range of options

If you’ve received a map link from another device (such as an iPhone or iPad), you can also view the map as a preview in Messages, or open in the full Maps app:

Shared Map

Maps received in Messages can be previewed or opened in Maps


It can be handy to save places that you frequently visit (such as friends’ addresses) in your Bookmarks. To view all your current bookmarks, just click on the Bookmark icon to bring up the current list. There’s also a search bar at the top if you have a lot in the list.

Selecting any of the bookmarks will take you straight to the relevant location on the map.


Select the bookmarks icon to view all your saved places

Adding bookmarks in the first place is just as easy:

1. Right-click anywhere on the map and select Drop Pin

Drop Pin

Drop a pin anywhere in order to create a bookmark

2. Click on the pin to open the popup menu, then click Add Bookmark

Add a Bookmark

After selecting the pin, choose the Add Bookmark option

Get Directions

Getting directions between two places is very simple in Maps. Just click the Directions button to open a side panel – it’s here that you need to enter the start and end points, as well as select whether you’d like driving or walking directions. You’ll be presented with a straightforward and easy to follow guide with blue arrows illustrating the way.

Selecting any of the steps in the list highlights that particular step with a white arrow, and centres on the selected point.

Get Directions

Getting directions in Maps is easy…