Is there any product that you can buy that can be overlaid on the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar to simulate physical keys and hide the actual Touch Bar?

i.e, you'd configure the keyboard settings to use traditional non-changing function keys, and then you'd stick some sort of physical button strip on top, and it would function like a traditional Mac Book Pro.

  • 2
    Reviving this as there wasn't a real answer at the time—did anyone find a solution in the end?
    – Mirror318
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 1:10
  • It would be helpful to state "why" you want to do this. E.g. need to use with gloves; can't see the virtual buttons because of accessibility reasons; don't cope well with change; etc. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 18:05
  • @PhilipBeber Many touch typists such as myself find the touchbar to be counterproductive and an annoying distraction that increases the price of high end macbook pros. There's no need to ever take eyes off the screen to look at keyboard. The absence of the escape key was a particular complaint. But even the function keys have their role. The functions placed in the touchbar mostly have keyboard shortcut equivalents which can be more quickly, consistently, and accurately executed. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 8:30

3 Answers 3


One solution (albeit, a bit of a hack) that I found is to place a wireless magic keyboard over the top of the built-in laptop keyboard.

If you place it in the right spot, it doesn't press the underlying keys (although see Karabiner information below to stop this issue).

As someone who despises the low action of the butterfly keys, this has the double benefit: (1) it restores traditional escape and function keys, and (2) it provides the awesome keyboard experience of the magic keyboard. It also means that you can use the trackpad.

It can also help to use Karabiner to disable the built-in keyboard when external keyboards are plugged in. This overcomes the problem of accidentally activating the keyboard underneath when pressing firmly on the magic keyboard. For details on how to do this, see this post: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/235266/11747 That said, I'm not a big fan of virtual keyboards, as I worry that they induce lag.

fixing butterfly keyboard with an overlay


I'm looking for the exact same thing but I haven't really found anything. What I thought of was maybe to get a few mobile phone game controllers that you stick on the screen like this:

enter image description here enter image description here

But you probably can't close your MBP with those buttons attached so you'd need to remove them/set them up all the time. I do wish someone makes a control strip version of that.

PS Here's a link to the game controller: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AROMN8G


This might be a not so useful answer, but why do you want that instead of just clicking the touch bar?

If it's because of the extremely not-useful layout, I've found that BetterTouchTool resolves that task pretty nicely

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    A lot of people use the esc and F keys quite often; it's much more convenient not to look down on the control strip when pressing these keys. Also, since the control strip is touch sensitive, not pressure sensitive, you can't rest your finger on it while waiting to press it but you can do that on a physical key. It's actually for that reason that I'm considering to stick with the mid-2015 one. But the specs are so much better on the touch one T_T
    – dork
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 19:49
  • I used some configuration wizardry that made the CapsLock key act as esc since I never really need CapsLock but I need escape a lot. I then removed all buttons from touch bar to prevent me from accidentally pressing them. After clearing the touch bar there are no keys left for adjusting volume or brightness. However, using touch bar for volume is also really nasty because it is really easy to accidentally turn the volume up to maximum. Would be really nice to have physical buttons for controlling volume. I can definitely see a market for physical volume buttons.
    – cyberixae
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 15:42

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