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I've configured my touch bar to always show function keys in one program where I use those frequently (IntelliJ IDEA, code editor). Many hotkeys in IDEA are triggered using a function key together with shift, alt or control, e.g. for renaming a variable, I use Shift+F6.

With the emulated function keys, this does not work, the program acts as if I had just hit F6 without holding down the alt key.

It was no problem with the hardware function keys on my old MacBook.

Is this a known bug, or a limitation one has to live with? Or is there some way to work around it? Perhaps I'm just to stupid and missing something obvious?

This is a major pain for me as a software developer…

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As @Patrick mentions in his answer, one cause of this problem is Karabiner-Elements not enabling the Touch Bar "keyboard" by default. The solution is to enable that keyboard in Karabiner-Elements Preferences (Vendor ID 1452, Product ID 34304) as shown in following screenshot:

enter image description here

I filed Touch Bar keyboard should be enabled by default · Issue #1700 · tekezo/Karabiner-Elements to request it be enabled by default in Karabiner-Elements.

More information in the following comments:

  • 1
    In addition to this, I had to select "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" under the "Function Keys" section. Now I can debug again! :) – ecraig12345 Feb 5 at 8:15
  • I had to also tweak Function Keys mappings. I'm using "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" = on for all devices and had to map f1 -> f1, etc. for the Touch Bar device. – DKroot Apr 18 at 1:20
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Ah, after some digging, I found out it's the fault of Karabiner Elements, a utility program I'm using to reassign some keys.

https://github.com/tekezo/Karabiner-Elements/issues/435

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