Some have been pretty skeptical concerning the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, worried that it will complicate things for users who are accustomed to the physical function row of keys. If you’re in the camp of wondering exactly how the new Touch Bar will work, a new tool brings the capability to all Macs…
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Shared on GitHub, a new app called Touch Bar Demo allows users to become familiar with the Touch Bar in two different ways. The first way brings the Touch Bar to your existing Mac as a standalone app. This, of course, doesn’t let you get the “Touch” experience of the capability, but it does allow you to see just how the feature works in various apps throughout macOS.
Instead of a touch interface, using this demo app on your Mac requires you to press the hardware function key and scroll through the options on-screen. The option appears overtop of the macOS interface, similar to the app switcher.
The other option is to use the Touch Bar through your iPad, as long as it’s connected via USB. As you can see in the video below, this method brings full Touch Bar functionality. The Touch Bar simply appears on the iPad and can be controlled via touch. The icons are responsive and switch instantly depending on which app is open on the Mac.
While neither of these solutions are likely practical for day-to-day use, they do allow for users to get the hang of the Touch Bar before the new MacBook Pros start shipping later this month and may hope those on the fence about it make a decision.
The Touch Bar Demo App is available on GitHub, so installing it on iOS is a little roundabout. On macOS, the process is fairly straightforward, though you must be running macOS Sierra 10.12.1:
Ensure you have installed macOS Sierra 10.12.1 build 16B2657, which adds support for the Touch Bar to macOS. Build 16B2555 does not have Touch Bar support, so it won’t work.
Just fetch the latest ZIP from the release section section and put the extracted app into your Applications folder.
To build the iOS app, open
TouchBar.xcodeproj, connect your iOS device and select the TouchBarClient target and your device.
For sideloading the app, see these instructions.
Check out the video below for a look at the Touch Bar running on an iPad connected to an iMac.