RIP TouchBar. Long-term Alternatives?

First off, I love BetterTouchTool on my MacBook Pro 13" 2019. I was holding my breath that Apple wouldn't discontinue the TouchBar yesterday during their MacBook Pro Refresh event, but it would seem that the days of the TouchBar are numbered. Since Apple backpedaled on their old design decisions and by their wording onstage, it seems that this decision is permanent, and the lack of availability of the TouchBar seems to be set in stone for future SKUs. I could be 1000% wrong, but nonetheless, I cannot depend on a multibillion-trillion company to make the design decisions that perfectly align with my workflow.

I don't know how I'll get work done again without it. Something about gliding my finger along the top of my keyboard to access keyboard shortcuts I made myself without requiring external peripherals is something that the Elgato Stream Deck, Loupdeck, or any other programmable macro pad can't touch.

Out of grief, I did some Googling late last night and came across these products:

Touch Bar Simulator:

Touch Bar for your old MacBook:

It would seem that the short-term solution would be to use either one of these programs with your iPad externally if you were to purchase an M1 Pro/Max device, or if you have a regular desktop Mac since none of those have TouchBars.

What about a long-term solution? It would seem that it is inevitable that Apple will end software support one day for all TouchBar MacBooks one day, and while our computers won't spontaneously combust, they won't be able to run the latest macOS, assuming that they live that long to begin with. Both Touch Bar Simulator and Touch Bar for your old MacBook seem to rely on built-in TouchBar functionality found in MacOS, and it is not out of the realm of possibility for the TouchBar functionality to be discontinued right after TouchBar Macs are no longer supported by MacOS. Maybe we could start development on BetterTouchTool for something like Raspberry Pi so that we can still use BetterTouchTool, albeit it would be a bit more clunky than a built-in TouchBar.

Is this something that we can even make to begin with without threats of legal action from Apple? Would love your guys' thoughts.


Very stupid decision from Apple. They should've given the user the possibility to add the touchbar as an option like with RAM/Storage.This new Macbook pro looks more like an upgraded version of the MBP 2015 to be honest. Now all we can hope is Apple to continue to provide upgrades of the MBP touch bar 13' like they do with the iPhone SE, or else they might add the touchbar on the future Macbook Air. Wait and see.


Specific functionality comes and goes. For everything there is a solution. Sadness will stay a while but will surely diminish in time. Goodbye Touch Bar, also by me you will be dearly missed but after the mourning a new and a bright future will bring us new and bright alternatives....

Because of BTT I also very like the Touch Bar.

With the new MacBook Pro M1 I was hopping a keyboard with led like the
Optimus keyboard

Unfortunately, Apple get back to a "classic keyboard"
I don't think that Apple would make a Touch Bar again,
and it didn't seem they will do a Touch Bar simulation application for iPhone or iPad.

Would AndreasHegenberg do an app to be able to use all the shortcuts I made available
on my iPhone or iPad? :star_struck: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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With a little bit of luck Apple may in the future still commercialize its 13' models with touchbar :innocent:

If you all want a TouchBar Mac you must write to Tim Cook and tell him.

More importantly get some influential Mac media stars behind you..

It took ten years for Apple to resurrect the MagSafe Power Connector.

I will guarantee you very few people at Apple have ever seen much less used BTT. All they know is their own useless software implementation.

Posting on forums like this one is unfortunately a waste of time.

I will not buy a new MacBook without a Touchbar. Until things stop working and I am forced to buy a new machine.

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I'm afraid Tim Cook receives so many emails that he can't read them.

The day my Macbook dies or needs upgrade/repair, I will just get it serviced to a 3rd-party repair store, even if it costs me $1,000, still way better than buying their new Macbook pro unibody-like model. this might become an alternative soon


I was a big fan of the Touch Bar, so I had a similar idea when I heard the Touch Bar was going away.

My original idea was to use BetterTouchTool to create a replacement for the Touch Bar on Mac. The idea was, that when pressing a modifier key, options would appear on screen which would correspond to the physical function keys.

But I kind of like your idea better, showing the buttons in the notch/menu bar area would be great, because they could remain there at all times. Perhaps even when an app is full screen?

My only question with this is, can you trigger the virtual Touch Bar items with the physical keyboard? I’d ideally not want to be limited to only using the mouse. In this sense, the virtual Touch Bar would essentially just be reminding me of what my physical function keys do… and those functions would change per app.


In the latest BTT release, I see a Notch Bar (coming soon) entry in the drop down. Is this a touch bar replacement?

It will allow to reuse existing Touch Bar setups. It's not a real replacement (of course) but I think it will be pretty cool. It's the thing I teasered in


Now that looks interesting. Thanks.

Tim Cook was taught by Steve Jobs to read customer e-mails. He spends two hours EVERY DAY in the morning reading customer e-mails and delegating to his team the ones he deems worthy of response.

You need to get his attention:

SUBJECT: Why I won't buy an M1 Mac EVER.
SUBJECT: Totally disappointed and angry at Apple.

One or two e-mails won't do a thing but a hundred for sure will get his attention.

Hello. A little off topic but I lost my lifetime license after reinstalling MacOS. How do I recover it? Also, I have been loving BTT and sad to see that Apple took away the Touch Bar because I truly did enjoy it. I still have my 2019 16inch MB Pro and I'm going to stick with it. Thanks.

Yes, one option would be to move BTT tools and buttons to an iPhone, like an external number key pad. This could open up many other uses, such as remote control of your Mac etc.


The simplest solution would be to make a virtual TouchBar pop up when you press the Fn key, and then make those virtual keys programmable (specifically app-dependent).


Yes, something like this would be a pretty decent option.

I think I like this type of idea the best. I was actually working on a mock up that I was referring to as: iPhone or iPad as ‘External Touch Bar’

This would give you the ability to add an ‘External Touch Bar’ to any Mac, not just the MacBook Pro. In fact this, along with Touch ID being available for Mac desktops, would make me consider an iMac (or other Mac desktop) as my main machine.

That leaves me wondering, is this even possible with BTT? Might it be in the future? Would it have to be a separate app?

Also, I don’t know if this is relevant but, Logic remote actually does something similar with the iPad: here and here

Anyway, maybe I’ll finish the mockup and post it.

For now you can use "Touch Bar Simulator". It works pretty good. I have to restart it occasionally but it works well as an onscreen TouchBar. Even gives TouchBar capabilities to a non-touchbar Mac.

Without checking to see if it can be accessed fro other devices on the network, you should, I think, be able to do this already using the web view.

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