MacBook Pro's Touch Bar Will Display Function Keys When Running Windows With Boot Camp

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One of the biggest questions about the Touch Bar on Apple's new MacBook Pro is how it will work with Windows through Boot Camp. That led MacRumors reader Abraham to send an email to Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi, who shared good news for dual-booters.
Question from Abraham: Craig, am I correct in assuming that the Touch Bar becomes a row of visual function keys when using Windows with Boot Camp?

Federighi's answer: You are indeed!
Presumably, this means the Touch Bar will likely display virtual function keys between F1-F12, along with an Escape key, when running Windows. It remains to be seen if there will be specific controls for system-level tasks such as volume, playback, and display brightness. Meanwhile, the virtual power button should work, but without Touch ID.

MacRumors cannot fully confirm the authenticity of the email, but it does appear to be sent by Federighi through Apple's corporate servers based on full headers we saw. Apple executives occasionally respond to customer emails, or it is possible the response was handled by Apple's executive relations or public relations teams.

Boot Camp is an Apple utility that enables users to partition their SSDs or hard drives and install Windows directly on a Mac, allowing for macOS and Windows to be run side by side. It differs from virtualization software like Parallels and VMware Fusion, which allows Windows to run as a desktop app within macOS itself.

Article Link: MacBook Pro's Touch Bar Will Display Function Keys When Running Windows With Boot Camp
 
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dannys1

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Sep 19, 2007
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Figured that it would default to function keys for any software that didn't interact - glad to have Boot Camp confirmation. The drivers aren't out yet though, so no support for Thunderbolt 3 (does Window support it yet? Presumably so...) but they'll all need to be released in next day or so for the none Touch Bar enable system that is shipping overnight.
 

stockscalper

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Aug 1, 2003
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You can just hold down FN and get to the function keys in any app - the same way it works now with the normal keyboard.
Good to know!

I don't run too many applications under Windows, but there are a few I have to have because they're not available on the Mac. My setup runs them great and I would hope that would continue to be the case with the new hardware.
 

EdRed

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Nov 13, 2007
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I don't run Bootcamp, but Windows via Parallels. Will the function keys show when a virtual box is being run?
I guess that's up Parallels and how they plan to use the touch bar. Maybe Apple makes the touch bar show the ESC and function keys when an application doesn't explicitly support it.
 
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kemal

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Dec 21, 2001
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If you figure it is just another USB HID on the bus, when nothing tries to talk to it it just defaults to a top row.
 

coolfactor

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Jul 29, 2002
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Good to know. And I'm SO glad that Apple did the right thing and gave the Esc key a special designation on the Touch Bar in the "System Button" space.

But why do people feel inclined to contact these very busy executives directly?
 

gbdavid

macrumors newbie
Sep 11, 2014
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Bootcamp is a bit crap, you loose most of the user experience that comes with the Mac, like gestures etc. If you really need Windows applications in your Mac you'll rather use Parallels to loose the least possible in user experience and really won't sacrifice system performance. I won't be surprised if the Parallels team is already working in ways to make clever interactions with the TouchBar for Coherence mode
 
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kasakka

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Oct 25, 2008
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This just makes it harder to use. Why don't they leave the touchbar for media keys and use Fn+numbers for function keys? I use that setup on my 60% mechanical keyboard and it works much better than having separate function keys as the combination of keys is easier to reach.
 
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iHack13

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Jun 10, 2009
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Interesting news while browsing for a new Asus Zenbook that can run hackintosh on it. Can't stop counting the USB ports on those.
Only downside is that I cannot plug in those fancy lightning iPhone 7 Earpods into. Oh wait , cannot do that on the new Macbook either.

But at least I can sync the iPhone without any problems on the Zenbook.
 

Benjamin Frost

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So much fragmentation.

If you are a Pro, you are likely to do most of your work on a desktop. Yet if you buy this new MacBook Pro, you will now have a different method of working. Why bother to learn an entirely different method, if you are are swapping back and forth between desktop and laptop? Apple should have updated all their computers and keyboards with this Touch Bar if they really wanted to have it adopted universally.

I am getting so tired of Apple fragmenting every little bloody feature, whether it's the camera in the iPhones, the keyboards on the laptops, the ports that don't allow for use of iPhones or iPads with laptops, or 5400 Hard Drives in the iMac in 2016.
 

sportsfan

macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2009
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Bootcamp drains the battery so fast, I don't know how anyone can use it when disconnected from a power source.
 

plinktog

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2014
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Parallels has a very tight back channel relationship with Apple, so it's very likely that this will be the case.
I'd be surprised if Parallels didn't make the function keys display their contextual function as well as the F-numbers.
 

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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So much fragmentation.

If you are a Pro, you are likely to do most of your work on a desktop. Yet if you buy this new MacBook Pro, you will now have a different method of working. Why bother to learn an entirely different method, if you are are swapping back and forth between desktop and laptop? Apple should have updated all their computers and keyboards with this Touch Bar if they really wanted to have it adopted universally.

I am getting so tired of Apple fragmenting every little bloody feature, whether it's the camera in the iPhones, the keyboards on the laptops, the ports that don't allow for use of iPhones or iPads with laptops, or 5400 Hard Drives in the iMac in 2016.
But who would buy the new MacBook Pro if they could just buy a $249 keyboard instead??
 
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