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Lots of hate for the touchbar.. is it justified?

The Clark

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 11, 2013
409
641
Canada
I have a 2016 non TB MBP. Is the Touchbar really as bad as people say? The new Macbook Air is now standard with the touchbar and the people of MR didn't like that at all. What's with the hate?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,150
34,275
Boston
I can't speak for others but I personally disliked it. They removed a set of keys that I used and replaced it with a component that slowed me down. I've long said that the touchbar is a solution in search of a problem. Not much has changed these few years since apple introduced the touchbar.
 
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poorcody

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2013
892
756
Love it personally. Macro-heaven for me. Love the customization options with better touch tool. Been using it daily for 2.5 years. For function keys I just mapped Fn-1 as F1 etc. It's a great tool if you take the time to customize it.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
5,321
6,184
I have never used it, but I generally prefer physical keys/buttons over touch.

I could probably get used to it, but the lack of physical escape and volume keys would most likely be annoying, I'm sure.
 
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TommyBoy5

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2010
128
91
This 2019 MBP is my first experience with it. First off, I LOVE the finger print reader. Changed how I use my laptop.

The touchbar was super interesting at first. Then I forgot that it was there. Every once in awhile I would notice icons specific to the app I had open on it. But it seemed to be more trouble to tap them than to just use enter, or the trackpad, or keyboard shortcuts I've used for years. So I set it back to Classic where it emulates the old physical top row of keys. No harm, no foul.
 
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jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,187
3,148
SF Bay Area
I actually think it is pretty useful.

In everyday use they got rid of the dedicated volume up/down and brightness up/down buttons. Now just touch the volume or brightness button and slide left or right to increase or decrease. Infinite (OK a lot) number of stops instead of the 4 or 5 the dedicated + and - buttons gave you.

And some apps really know how to take advantage of the touch bar. I use PowerPoint for presentations and you get tiny little previews of you slides in the presentation. Other apps let give you little previews of images and let you scroll quickly through.

Hopefully we see more and more apps taking advantage of the fast location feature afforded by the touchbar.

The only think I miss is the dedicated physical <ESC> key. But, since I now use vscode instead of vi or vim as my default editor, this is not a real issue.
 
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jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,187
3,148
SF Bay Area
It's ok. The killer feature is Touch ID. I wish they'd at least sell a cheaper model without the Touch Bar but also with Touch ID.

With the new announcements that is not happening. If it's a MacBook Pro, it is going to have a touchbar.

The Air has touch ID, without the touchbar, if that system works for you.
 
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sub150

macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2018
239
387
With the new announcements that is not happening. If it's a MacBook Pro, it is going to have a touchbar.

The Air has touch ID, without the touchbar, if that system works for you.

It's not happening now. They are mid production right now so it would be really hard to switch the Macbook Air keyboard to the Macbook Pro.

I pray next cycle it's MBA with keys and TouchID, MBP with keys and TouchID, and MBP with Touchbar (maybe throw in FaceID).
 
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smallcoffee

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2014
1,629
2,179
North America
With the new announcements that is not happening. If it's a MacBook Pro, it is going to have a touchbar.

The Air has touch ID, without the touchbar, if that system works for you.

Right I have a Pro now. It’s not a deal breaker for me it’ would just be nice to have the option to spend less money for a feature I don’t want. The MacBook Air is an attractive computers right now at the current price point. I’d get one before I’d get another pro, but I think I’m going to maybe go with an iPad Pro or just stop having a computer altogether in the future.
 
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morze

macrumors member
Jun 17, 2019
89
79
Love it personally. Macro-heaven for me. Love the customization options with better touch tool. Been using it daily for 2.5 years. For function keys I just mapped Fn-1 as F1 etc. It's a great tool if you take the time to customize it.

Nice, I didn't know you could map Function keys to the numbers. I'll keep that in mind when I upgrade.

I guess as it costs a lot for something that hasn't been fully embraced by the software, while removing something practical.

Would it have been that difficult to just leave the function keys there and put the touch bar above it. So people could ignore it if they wished. That would stop at least half the complaints, but you know... Apple are quite persuasive.
 
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x-evil-x

macrumors 601
Jul 13, 2008
4,911
2,671
I feel like its only an issue with people that always used the function keys. I was not one of them. I think the touch bar isnt a big deal and a lot of ways add a lot more function to the computer.
Theres an app i use called better touch tools and i have 2 finger brightness control set anywhere on the touch bar and 3 finger volume control. So no looking and just slide anywhere on it and controls those functions. Also, they have haptic feedback within the app if you want that feel back.
I just feel like most people hate for no reason unless they actually used the function row everyday in work i can see those people being annoyed by it.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,975
6,857
As function keys are pretty much useless in macOS, the Touch Bar has certainly more utility. It’s great for color selection in some graphical apps. And the ability to bind automator workflows to it is quite powerful.
 
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0014

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2016
994
635
Middle East
Mine is set like this and has stayed that way. I just can't get on with it.

Touch Bar Shot 2019-07-09 at 23.12.39.png
 
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mhd2100

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2016
72
40
Honestly if I had the ability to influence how the next Macbook Pro would be like, I would reinstate the esc and function keys as before, but have a touch bar above that row of keys which contains the dock and can be switchable between the dock and app functions/smileys as required. You can already get third party software that relocates the dock here and I think its a brilliant idea, especially for maximising screen workspace without having to make the dock completely disappear...
 
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adrianlondon

macrumors 68030
Nov 28, 2013
2,712
2,689
Switzerland
If I were designing these laptops (which I'm not, else I'd be rich and spending my time living a luxury life instead of reading and posting here), I'd make the trackpad smaller and add the touchbar above the row of function keys on all laptops with 13" or bigger screens.

(Then I'd quickly release the 16" Macbook Pro with a proper keyboard and send it to forum members called AdrianLondon as a free gift.)

Now just touch the volume or brightness button and slide left or right to increase or decrease. Infinite (OK a lot) number of stops instead of the 4 or 5 the dedicated + and - buttons gave you.
opt-shift brightness or volume. Loads of steps!
 
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cosmo811

macrumors member
Sep 27, 2011
38
33
Leeds, England
I don't think it should be a dealbreaker. If you use the Escape key frequently you can just remap the keyboard to make Fn + Caps Lock serve the same function, and if you use the media keys/brightness you can have that as the default touchbar as well. It also makes an insignificant difference to the battery life. I've played around with them before on friends' laptops and in stores, it's not really an issue.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,150
34,275
Boston
If you use the Escape key frequently you can just remap the keyboard to make Fn + Caps Lock serve the same function,
That's a work around and many of us did that, but its not ideal and it doesn't work as well as physical keys. I agree with you, the TB shouldn't be a deal breaker and it wasn't for me. Other factors drove me away from the Mac platform.

I dunno, I loved the 2012 MBP, it was as perfect of a laptop as you can get, and when I decided to replace that, the 2018 MBP seemed to offer compromises and required that I alter how I work on a level that I felt shouldn't happen with such an expensive laptop. That's just me, and others love the current MBP. I will say the 2019 model is at the pinnacle of this model design. Apple I think finally resolved a number problems present in the MBP and the 2019 model is the best of the current design. If my computer needs were such, and I was buying one now rather then last year this would definitely be on my short list.
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
2,701
8,380
New Hampshire
It's really frustrating. I really need a physical esc key.

Emacs has been around since the 1970s and it's the editor that I use every single day, dozens of times a day, at work. I also use the multimedia keys from time to time but it's relatively rare. I have volume controls on my external speakers and use external monitors most of the time. I use the spacebar to start/and stop videos. The escape key is just one of those things that you have to have if you are an old-time Unix programmer.
 
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