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My touch bar often shows the wrong keys, is unresponsive, or (as is the current situation) only shows one or some of the keys. Right now I'm listening to Spotify and only the pause button is showing whereas it usually has my normal configuration. I have hard-set it to a custom configuration which is almost identical to the keys before the touch bar came out.

Note - I just started pressing all over the touch bar and the correct buttons came on in each area that I pressed.

This thing offers little value and causes lots of problems. I haven't played around with it much or done anything with my computer (i.e. fun/sketchy software) that is atypical. Are there common reasons for the new touch bar to break all the time?

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I'd imagine the Touch Bar can become buggy for the same reasons that any computer becomes buggy, so what you could do is use Touch Bar Simulator to see what your Touch Bar thinks it's displaying, thereby narrowing it down to if the issue is software or hardware. If it's software, try the usual stuff like disk repair and reinstalling macOS. If it's hardware, it may be time to visit an Apple Store...

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If it was me I'd reset both the NVRAM and SMC (in that order). Before following the steps below, ensure you have no external hardware connected and that you're using the built-in keyboard.

Reset the NVRAM

Reset the NVRAM on your MBP as follows:

  1. Shut down your machine. Yes, a full shut down, not just logging out.
  2. Press the power button and then immediately press the commandoptionPR keys.
  3. Keep these keys pressed down for at least 20 seconds!
  4. Let go of the keys and let your Mac reboot normally.

Note 1: When you log back in you may need to readjust some of your system preferences (e.g. speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, time zone information, etc).

Reset the SMC

To reset the SMC on your MBP, I'd follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your Mac
  2. Unplug the power cable from your Mac
  3. For 10 seconds, press and hold at the same time the shiftcontroloption keys (on the left side of the built-in keyboard) and the power button
  4. After 10 seconds let go of all keys and the power button
  5. Plug in the power cable
  6. Turn your Mac back on with the power button.

After resetting both the NVRAM and SMC, use your computer to determine if the issue still persists. Let me know how you go.

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