Best MacBook Pro Touch Bar apps: 8 apps with Touch Bar support

The 2016 MacBook Pro introduced the Touch Bar, a context-sensitive Retina touchscreen that replaces the row of Function keys. More and more developers are now updating their software to add support, so we've rounded up a few of the best Touch Bar apps so far.

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Best Touch Bar apps

The Touch Bar is arguably the biggest new feature of Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro models. The slim touchscreen replaces the top row of keys on the keyboard with a selection of context-sensitive buttons, giving you a range of different functionality depending on what you’re using your MacBook for. Of course, that means that the Touch bar is only as useful as the apps that take advantage of it.

Apple’s core first party apps like Safari and iTunes already boast support, but third party developers will need more time to make the most of the new features. So here are some of the best apps that already have support for the Touch Bar - keep it bookmarked, as we’ll update it as and when other apps add Touch Bar support. In the meantime, check out our guide to using and customising the Touch Bar to help you get more out of it no matter what app you’re using.

Read next: How to use the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro | MacBook Pro 2016 review | How to get the Escape key on the new MacBook Pro

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Next Prev mbp 2016 lifestyle51

The Touch Bar is arguably the biggest new feature of Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro models. The slim touchscreen replaces the top row of keys on the keyboard with a selection of context-sensitive buttons, giving you a range of different functionality depending on what you’re using your MacBook for. Of course, that means that the Touch bar is only as useful as the apps that take advantage of it.

Apple’s core first party apps like Safari and iTunes already boast support, but third party developers will need more time to make the most of the new features. So here are some of the best apps that already have support for the Touch Bar - keep it bookmarked, as we’ll update it as and when other apps add Touch Bar support. In the meantime, check out our guide to using and customising the Touch Bar to help you get more out of it no matter what app you’re using.

Read next: How to use the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro | MacBook Pro 2016 review | How to get the Escape key on the new MacBook Pro

 

Best Touch Bar apps: Final Cut Pro X

Price: £229.99
Final Cut Pro at the Mac App Store

It’s not exactly surprising that Apple’s flagship video editing software would receive the Touch Bar treatment, but the Final Cut Pro X update comes as part of a redesign for the whole app. Along with a few general design changes, the big update is the Magnetic Timeline, which lets you colour code the various audio elements of a project, and quickly arrange their vertical layout.

Touch Bar integration varies depending on what you’re doing within Final Cut - it can offer a selection of editing tools to jump between, let you adjust audio levels, trim sections, format text, and more. It also shows off the new Magnetic Timeline with an interactive display of the entire project in the Overview function, which also lets you zoom in and out to focus on specific sections.

Most Final Cut Pro power users will be so used to using keyboard shortcuts for the editing functions they use regularly that they may not find the Touch Bar any quicker for simple editing and playback, but the sheer number of context-dependent settings means it’s likely to prove its value eventually.

Read our review of the latest version of Final Cut Pro X.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: 1Password

Price: £49.99
1Password at the Mac App Store

There’s one big, obvious benefit of using 1Password on the new MacBook Pro: TouchID support, which means you can now use your fingerprint to access your stored passwords, for an added level of security and convenience

Beyond that, you can use the Touch Bar to add new sites and passwords to your account, search, and open or lock your vaults with just a touch.

Read our review of 1Password.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: Pixelmator

Price: £10.99
Pixelmator at the Mac App Store

Photoshop’s much touted Touch Bar support hasn’t arrived yet, but its popular (and much cheaper) Mac alternative Pixelmator is a little more up to date. The fully customisable Touch Bar support allows you to pick your favourite tools to display, and then your favourite settings and options within each tool. There’s support for just about every tool and selection across the software, including plenty of formatting options.

Another nifty Touch Bar option within Pixelmator is the ‘Show Original’ button, so that whenever you’re previewing changes or adjustments you can always quickly check the original with one touch.

Read our review of Pixelmator.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: djay Pro

Price: £39.99
djay Pro at the Mac App Store

djay Pro was one of the apps Apple decided to show off at its MacBook Pro launch event, though not everyone was convinced by the tech demo on display. That’s because while it brings a few useful features down to the touchscreen for fine-tuned control, it doesn’t offer anything that plenty of physical peripherals don’t already offer.

Still, if you want to avoid carrying around bulky gear or find yourself caught without any, the djay Pro Touch Bar functionality lets you scratch and slice songs, drop in effects and samples, create loops, and apply filters. It’s even better if you don’t have any other peripherals yet, as a £39.99 app is a lot less than most DJ hardware. Still, you will have to drop a fair bit for the MacBook Pro itself, of course.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: PCalc

Price: £7.99
PCalc at the Mac App Store

A calculator may not sound like the most exciting application of the Touch Bar, but what PCalc has done with it looks pretty impressive for anyone who regularly uses some of the more advanced features you might hope for from a serious calculator.

You can drag the likes of cube root and hyperbolic cosine functions down to the bar for easy access, which should speed things up if you know there are any complex calculator functions you tend to use on a regular basis. It can also save recent conversions and functions, or settings like the display mode or number of decimal places.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: Drop - Color Picker

Price: £2.99
Drop - Color Picker at the Mac App Store

Regardless of how useful it ends up being, Drop is certainly one of the prettiest applications of the Touch Bar yet. As the name might give away, Drop is all about colour: it’s a pixel-perfect colour drop tool, allowing you to zoom into images to copy the colours of individual pixels. It gives you the colour code in your preferred format, and lets you save small palette of colours you want to use again.

That’s where the Touch Bar comes in - that palette is displayed across the bar, so you’re only ever one tap away from the perfect pigment.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: Airmail 3

Price: £7.99
Airmail 3 at the Mac App Store

The big boon for email client Airmail’s MacBook Pro support is its customisability. While the default shortcuts let you perform pretty standard tasks like composing, archiving, and replying to emails, there are a lot more options than that.

You can set up shortcuts to Airmail features like snoozing, creating memos and to-do entries, and even to unsubscribe from mailing lists. None of this is revolutionary stuff, but it’s a great example of one of the Touch Bar’s core selling points: making it quicker and easier to carry out some of the tasks you find yourself performing over and over again.

Find out more about Airmail 3 and the other best alternatives to Mail on the Mac.

 

Best Touch Bar apps: Luminar

Price: £39.99
Luminar at the Mac App Store

Photo editing and design apps are a pretty obvious match for the Touch Bar, so it's no real surprise to see that new image editor Luminar is the latest Mac app to add support for the new hardware. 

As with other apps, Luminar offers a core set of controls when you first open it, but then offers more specific sliders and settings within each editing tool, such as changing brush sizes, adjusting denoise modes, and applying or canceling any changes made. There's nothing revolutionary here, but it looks like a good way to use the Touch Bar to provide quick access to some of the controls users are likely to need the most often.

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