Touch Bar lives on for new MacBook Pro models via Sidecar and iPad
The new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro have landed and for the most part, MacBook Pro fans are happy. While in previous generations, Apple had tried to push MacBooks forward by dropping ‘legacy’ ports, introducing the butterfly keyboard mechanism and the Touch Bar, none of these innovations were especially popular, useful or functioned as had been hoped. The new MacBook continues with the new scissor switch-based Magic Keyboard re-introduced last year, brings back ports and drops the Touch Bar.
On the Apple webpage for the M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro which continues with the Touch Bar, the company says that it saves time by reducing keystrokes, gives quicker access to Siri, emoji and other functionality. Apple optimized its own apps for the Touch Bar, and some, but not all, developers also built in customized Touch Bar functionality for some apps. However, it appears that wasn’t as well enough utilized while pros preferred having direct access to physical function keys leading to its demise.
However, for fans of the Touch Bar and its functionality, we have noted that it continues to live on through Apple’s Sidecar wireless secondary display functionality for iPad. When connected to an iPad over Sidecar, new MacBook Pro users can check or uncheck a box that provides a Touch Bar at the bottom of any app open on the iPad screen. With the multi-touch capabilities of the iPad fully functional, users can use the Touch Bar strip on the iPad to manipulate an app just as they would have with a Touch Bar built in.
With the Touch Bar absent on the new MacBook Pro models, it seems it will only be a matter of time before Apple phases it out completely with the 13-inch model the only hold out. Consequently, it is hard to say how long the Touch Bar functionality will continue to be available to new MacBook Pro users via Sidecar, but it is good to know that it is still available for those long-time users who miss it.