iPhone, iPad & co.Mac & macOSSoftware

Try Apple's Touch Bar - without a new Macbook Pro!

Oh yes, the new Macbooks with the Touch Bar... I still don't know what to make of it. In any case, my Macbook Pro Late 2013 will not be replaced that quickly, the added value of the new models is too small for me. After all: If you own the Duet Display app, you can now test the Touch Bar on all Macs while they are running – without visiting the Apple Store.

Try Touchbar – on any Mac!

Of course, if you don't have it yet, you don't have to buy it for the feature: The Duet Display app is relatively expensive at 20 euros (currently reduced to 10).! However, if you already have it, you can connect your iPad to the Mac - whether it's a desktop or notebook computer - to try out the touch display, which now replaces the F-keys: First start the Duet app on the iPad and Mac until the iPad shows the Mac screen.

Duet Touchbar 1
Duet-Display allows the touch bar to be displayed on the iPad – including the touch function, by the way.

Then click on the Duet symbol in the menu bar and check the “Touchbar Enabled” box. From now on, the (virtual) Touch Bar of the Mac will appear on the iPad display.

Duet Touchbar 2
In Safari, of course, the bar shows other buttons...

Practically, it is fully functional and can therefore also be tested wonderfully in practical operation.

Duet Touchbar 3
...as below photos. I don't find that really practical.

Touchbar: superfluous gimmick?

After playing around with the Touch Bar a bit, I have to say that I find it a completely useless gimmick. It's a nice feature, but it could have been added as an additional control between the keyboard and trackpad. So you don't have to constantly change your hands while working, as is the case with the current solution. Alternatively, a position on the screen would have made sense while keeping the row of F keys. Or, if necessary, as an additional control element above the F-keys.

Duet Touchbar 4
Any emoji? If you have iMessage open, you can select the right emoticons directly on the touch bar. What the world has been waiting for…

The alternative: Show Touch Bar with Touché

So I don't think it's a good idea to replace the F-keys, which previously allowed you to control volume, screen brightness and all sorts of other small things blindly. The way Apple solved it, it's kind of pointless. Which is why the Macbook Pro 2016 with Touch Bar is definitely off my shopping list. I don't know why Apple was itching to add this mini touchscreen, but as a control it's more of a nuisance than a convenience. Well, at least you can (still) use the Mac without a touch bar for a while – I certainly won’t switch and if I should buy a new Macbook Pro, I’ll go for the variant without a touch bar.

By the way, if you don’t have an iPad or Duet Display, you can also use the Touch Bar via the free app Touché Try it out: The Touch Bar is displayed like an additional menu item on the Mac screen. You can select the functions with the mouse.

Touche touch bar
With the free app Touché you can display the Touch Bar on any Mac. It can be operated here with the mouse.

Christian Rentrop

Graduate journalist, born in 1979. First attempts at walking in 1986 at the Schneider CPC. In 1997 it went online. Ever since then as a scribbler in deadwood forests and on digital highways. Often also on the Vespa or with the caravan on the way. Daughter father since 2020, so always very happy about one small coffee donation.

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