So I've been using the MacBook Pro with Touch bar for a week and the Touch Bar seems pretty convenient. However, I haven't found an option to customize the Touch Bar for a specific app.

For example, whenever I code via jetBrains phpStorm, I'm used to having the F[0-12] Buttons (which aren't displayed in the keyboard anymore in favor of the Touch Bar). I know that if I'm holding the fn button, I'll be able to see the F[0-12] Buttons. But I want them to be displayed by default without the need to hold the fn button.

Is there a way I can achieve this?

  • This is close to being a duplicate of this question. However, the answers here are good, so it probably shouldn't be closed.
    – Emil
    May 15, 2017 at 8:10

4 Answers 4


Assuming I understand your question, you can set your Touch Bar to show the function keys as its default display on an app by app basis.

To do this:

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences
  2. Select the Keyboard preference pane
  3. Click on the Shortcuts tab
  4. In the left sidebar, select the Function Keys option
  5. On the right-hand side click on the plus + button
  6. Select the JetBrains PhpStorm app
  7. Add the app

Now, whenever you are using the JetBrains PhpStorm app, the Touch Bar should display all the function keys.

  • 2
    Is this the only way to disable "App Controls" for a certain app? Is there another way, to keep the control strip instead of function keys, but without App Controls, only for a certain app?
    – trusktr
    May 25, 2018 at 7:56
  • Unfortunately, it didn't work with Spyder, even though I created an app using appify. MacOS is probably looking for something else... in Activity Monitor there are many python processes but no Spyder process.
    – Leo
    Jun 19, 2019 at 7:07
  • Changing the VSCode to show Functions Keys really helped a lot. Thank you!
    – Player1
    Jul 3, 2021 at 2:05

If you want to REALLY customize your Touch Bar, you'll need BetterTouchTool.

There is a short post on the official BTT site, linking to a long blog post on medium.com illustrating Touch Bar customization using BTT.

In the interest of link rot prevention, here are a couple of Touch Bar screenshots from the blog post.

Holding down Ctrl key for a custom window management bar:

enter image description here

Customized for the PyCharm IDE:

enter image description here

There is a lot more, and the above arrangements were customized by the USER, not the Pycharm developers or even the BTT developer.

Note: I am not affiliated with BetterTouchTool in any way, I just use it and think it's the best quality product of its type—and more people should use it! :)

  • 1
    +1 Agreed! Using BTT is an excellent way to do advanced customisations of the Touch Bar. There are other options, but BTT is the leader of the pack, although I've noticed for some it takes a while to suss it out. But it's definitely worth it when they do! :)
    – Monomeeth
    May 15, 2017 at 11:30

In addition to Monomeeths answer there's another kind of Touch Bar configuration that is worth mentioning:

System-native way of configuring elements displayed in Touch Bar for specific application is (or at least should be) provided by application itself.

Usually, but not necessarily, this configuration is in View menu. A rule of thumb is to look for Customise Touch Bar... element in one of status bar menus before you start digging deeper in application preferences.

This screenshot is made for Safari browser, however it works the same way for many other applications:

Safari's View menu item

Sometimes applications bury Touch Bar configuration a bit deeper inside their own preferences. For example here's where any JetBrains IDE will have it:

PyCharm TouchBar configuration view


Just to add to @Monomeeth answer if you're using the Jetbrains Toolbox the app will be buried in the Library and you'll have to update the location on each PhpStorm update. If you add the symlink created by the Toolbox it will not work. You need to add the actual .app from the location in the Library and it's kind of very deep in there...

The current location in MacOS is ~/Library/Application Support/JetBrains/Toolbox/apps/PhpStorm/ch-0/202.7660.42/PhpStorm.app but this will change on each update.

There's a related issue to this regarding adding the apps in the dock. See https://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/TBX-669

Took me while to find the dam location so hope this helps.

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