Minimalist: A clean and intuitive touchbar preset (Catalina update)

The BTT forum is full of great presets. However, many of them had too much functionality so even after I installed them I didn't really know how to get the best use out of it. Also, many of the included features require you to use other third-party apps like Fantastical 2, Things 3, etc. The Touchbar then became quite messy and cluttered as there were so many buttons and details on it.

So here's my take on a minimalist approach on the Touchbar – providing only buttons and details that are useful and convenient. My goal is to make it clean and minimal, adding only features I believe most people will actually use.

If you guys like this preset, you can say thanks at: PayPal.Me :slight_smile:

Download (v2.6):

There are two presets to choose from:

Minimalist: Global touchbar preset
Minimalist Plus: Global touchbar preset + added support for Finder & VLC Player



Global Setup

  • Always ready Finder and Notes for quick access
    – Long tap Finder to open System Preferences

    – Check the tickbox if you want to have Messages to be included in the Always ready bar
    Or change the app to whatever you want quick access to!

  • Now Playing & Play button for Spotify (or iTunes)

    – Tap the Play button to play music from Spotify or iTunes even if app is not launched
    – Long tap Play button to go previous on the current track
    – Tap the currently playing song to skip track
    – Long tap currently playing song to open Spotify app

  • Now Playing for YouTube videos (hidden by default)

    – Tapping the now playing video will launch Chrome / Safari

  • Screenshot buttons (Selection & Screen)
    – By default, the screenshots are set to be copied to clipboard instead of the saving a file to the desktop (if you prefer saving it to Desktop, just change the keystroke shortcuts)

  • Brightness and volume widgets
    – Tap to change (no more swiping)
    – Long tap Brightness Down to Sleep Screen
    – Long tap Volume Down to Mute
    – Two finger swipe to adjust volume / Three finger swipe to adjust brightness

  • Coffee button to Sleep Computer (hidden by default)

    – Check the tickbox if you this feature

  • Time in 12h format always docked to the right
    – Tap to view standard Apple Touchbar (super useful if you want to use Apple's app specific Touchbar like Photoshop)
    – Long tap to open Calendar app

More features with modifier keys

Holding control

  • Access more features such as Lock Screen, Force Quit, AirDrop, and even view time remaining on your battery
Holding option

  • Access Windows snapping, adjust keyboard backlight, and toggle Do Not Disturb or True Tone (only for 2018 MBPs)
  • Toggles for Do Not Disturb & True Tone now changes color even activated (see above)
Holding command

  • Emoji input button & Calendar view to remind you of your planned agenda for the day

Minimalist Plus – Additional Features


  • By holding command, you can access App Switcher or Emoji input button + view agenda of the day, view hidden files, Move button and a Permanent Delete button

VLC Player

  • Quick access Step Backward/Forward buttons and a Scrub-bar (credits to @vipersonic and @yuuiko)
  • Hold Shift to reveal the global touchbar

TLDR list of features

  • Always ready Finder, Notes, Messages
  • Hold down Finder to open System Preferences
  • One tap to play music on Spotify, one tap to skip track on Spotify
  • Now playing widget available for both Spotify and iTunes
  • Quick access screenshot tools
  • One tap brightness and volume control
  • Long tap Brightness Down to sleep screen
  • Long tap Volume Down button to mute
  • Quick access sleep computer button
  • Quick access to Lock Screen, Force Quit apps, AirDrop
  • One tap Time widget to hide and show BTT toggles
  • Long tap Time widget to open Calendar app
  • Two finger slide on the Touchbar to change volume
  • Three finger slide on the Touchbar to change brightness
  • Hold Control/Option/Command for more functions such as Force Quit, Lock Screen, Windows Snapping, view battery life, App Switcher, toggle Do Not Disturb & True Tone, view today Calendar agenda

Hope you guys like this preset! Do let me know if you have any feedbacks.


What's new in v2.6

  • Fixed the Now Playing button (due to purging of iTunes)
  • You can quit Spotify and it will not automatically open (thanks to @Daniel_Metz)
  • Spotify Now Playing text length set to 100 to accommodate longer track names
  • Able to see calendar agenda by holding 'Command' key

If you are facing problems with the Gestures, simply copy them, delete them, then paste them back to "reset" it.

Version History:
(Scroll up to download latest v2.6)

Note: I am experiencing some weird glitches with the Now Playing script for Safari. You might see "YouTube" instead of the title of video on the Touchbar. This is because the title of the video is not shown on the tab header (this is why the script just returns "YouTube"). However, I noticed that doing a refresh of the webpage will actually bring back the title of the video on the tab header, causing the title of the video to show up on the Touchbar.

Liked this? You can say thanks at: PayPal.Me :kissing:


Special thanks to:

Hey man,

This is GREAT! Thanks so much!

3 Problems:

How do I get the youtube now playing to work with safari? I tried changing to "Safari" .. doesn't work.

The automatic 'Finder' controls don't appear for me when I open Finder.

Can I make the new mail notifications work with the email app: "Spark" ?

Thanks man!

Hey JTL!

Based on your feedback, I've added Safari functionality for YouTube now playing and Finder controls in Version 1.1. With regards to your last request, I do not use Spark so I am unable to help on that.

I realised that having the Finder specfic Touchbar settings is actually quite redundant now that the Time widget works as a BTT toggle. So if you want to use the Finder specific touchbar, tapping on the Time Widget will actually bring back the stock Apple Finder touchbar. Quite nifty. Hence, in Version 1.2, I've removed the Finder specific settings.



Thanks so much man! Love it! Do you accept donations?

1.2 not loading for me.

Yes I do haha, you're too kind! Which part of v1.2 is not loading for you?

All working!

Any way to make the FN button perform the same as the 'tap clock' touch bar effect? ie. Bring up stock app specific finder bar.

I'm afraid the BTT app does not provide a FN key modifier so that can't be done.

How much energy is your BTT using in activity monitor?

I'm trying to think which part is causing it to use so much (currently sitting at around ~12)

Usually that's caused by script widgets with small repeat rate values.

Try changing repeat rate values for the scripts of Spotify and play pause button to 1 second. It helped to reduce the energy usage but a lot.

Sorry should have updated it in v1.2!

Hey JTL!

Updated the preset with v1.3, check it out! Hope it solves your energy issues :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks dude.

Happy with it so far, send me a link to donate when you can.

Some feedback:

The Window Left and Window Right placement is the wrong way around. Easy fix.

The Youtube Now playing functionality doesn't work all the time... any ideas?

Nice work here, if you have a stable enough version let me know, I'll then go through it and mark it as developer verified on the share site!

Hey JTL,

Dropped you a PM with a link, thanks a lot really appreciate it!

I fixed the window snapping icons thanks for pointing that out!
With regards to the YouTube Now Playing script for Safari, I am also experiencing it. In the past there wasn't this problem so I'm not sure what is the main cause for this. What is believe is happening is that you might see "YouTube" instead of the title of video on the Touchbar. This is because Safari doesn't show the title of the video on the tab header (this is why the script just returns "YouTube"). I tried many things such as changing the text encoding of Safari, disabling ad blocker plugins and they all seem to work temporarily. Ultimately, I realised that just doing a refresh of the webpage will actually bring back the title of the video on the tab header, causing the title of the video to show up on the Touchbar. I know this isn't a solid fix but I am really scratching my head at this one.

Once again, here's the updated Version 1.4!



Still enjoying.

A couple of things:

  1. Would it be possible when holding the command key to swap out the app switcher icons to a selection of emojis that I use frequently? (I know, I know... embarrassing!)

  2. When I hold command in a finder window what is the green icon with the folder and the downward arrow in between trash and show hidden files.. what does that do?


Hey JTL!

Regarding your queries:

  1. Do you mean something like this:

    So no to 'app switcher', yes to 'emoji bar'?

  2. The green icon with the folder represents "move" (ie. option + cmd + v). I included that button so that I could move files more conveniently with my right hand. So after you copy, you can press the green folder button to move the copied file (ie. cut and paste).


1 Like
  1. Exactly!
  2. Thanks, I get it now!

I'll be rolling out Version 1.5 soon after the new updates on BTT soon. Will include the emoji bar that you request!

Hey JTL,

I've updated the preset. Added Spark mail client feature (activate it in the preset) and an emoji bar.

Check the box highlighted in blue to activate it. Then uncheck the App Switcher widget above to remove the app switcher.