Apple should finally kill the Touch Bar

Niklas Klein
4 min readSep 25, 2020


Update (2021/01/21): The rumor mill strongly suggests that the next MacBook Pro generation will no longer have a Touch Bar 🎉

Photo by Aaron Yoo (Flickr)

I’ve used several MacBook Pros in the past years which all had one major flaw in common: the Touch Bar. Sure, the butterfly keyboard caused its fair share of frustration, but at least it got better over the years and a broken keyboard can be repaired. The issues of the Touch Bar, however, are more fundamental and can only be fixed by going back to proper keys.

Unintentional triggering

I bet it’s happened to all of us: one careless movement of your fingertips is enough to accidentally trigger a Touch Bar action. If you’re lucky, only the screen brightness or volume will change, but depending on what actions are being displayed, the effects can be much more frustrating.

Forced to customize to make it bearable

When setting up my environment on a new device I am now forced to reconfigure the Touch Bar as well. What the hell is Siri doing up here? This is something I never had to worry about in the past. I have so far resisted adding external software for this.

Goodbye ESC

I have already come to terms with the fact that the ESC button has disappeared and remapped it to the caps lock key. But was this really necessary in the first place? Technically it is still available on the Touch Bar, but it is weirdly misaligned and the risk of unintentional triggers is high.

Additional energy drain

The Touch Bar’s impact on energy consumption is probably negligible, but it’s there all the same, and that bothers me. It’s an external display I didn’t ask for, draining my battery.

Additional source of failure

A touch screen can be scratched, have dead pixels or break in many other ways, while a keyboard is much less prone to error (well, it should be). I haven’t had any of these problems yet, but I’m also not looking forward to returning my laptop to the Apple Store for a week to get my Touch Bar fixed.

Blinded by the light

The light emitted by the Touch Bar can be quite disturbing when watching a movie. My strategy is usually to stop interacting with the laptop after I press play and wait for the Touch Bar to go dark. Some others are taking more drastic measures.

A desperate Touch Bar user on the Apple forums

Casual feature on a pro device

When I press a button on the Touch Bar, I have to take my eyes off the screen to make sure I click the right button. Needless to say, this is a disruptive interruption to my workflow. I find it strange that the MacBook Pro, of all things, was equipped with the Touch Bar. It’s a gimmick that I could imagine better in the MacBook Air. But instead, I look enviously at the MacBook Air, which was allowed to keep its full-fledged keyboard with the great TouchID button.

It’s unreliable

From time to time I search the internet for “macOS terminal reset touch bar”. Because then my interactions with the Touch Bar are simply ignored or nothing is displayed in the first place. Sometimes restarting the Touch Bar service doesn’t even solve the problem, so I start to close and open the lid repeatedly or am even forced to reboot. Granted, these problems can hopefully be fixed by software updates, but I have been experiencing these problems consistently for years now…

By the way, this is how you can restart the Touch Bar:

sudo pkill “Touch Bar agent”;
sudo killall “ControlStrip”;

It drives up the price

Installing an additional display drives up the price. Year after year, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a full-fledged MacBook Pro variant without Touch Bar will finally be announced. Meanwhile, I’m almost so desperate that I would even pay a premium for it.


I rarely meet colleagues who are not bothered by the Touch Bar, or even appreciate it. The Internet is full of people like me who are angry about its existence. Can you hear us, Apple?

I don’t even miss the function keys so much, it’s actually more about the haptic media keys. The MacBook Air setup with hardware keys and TouchID seems perfect to me, and I would switch immediately if I didn’t need the processing power of the Pro.