Hope someone can help.

I have my touch configured like the following. This is basically the same setting that you got with the Mac Book Pros 2012 - 2015 as default.

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I am a developer and use code editors so it's very important to me that my function keys are the first class citizens on my keyboard. I also want access to the control strip for screen and volume control using the fn keys (How else can I easily get to these?).


So now how do I access the "App Controls" as well? Surly I should be able to configure say fn+option to give me these?

Finding this very frustrating, makes the touch bar seem even more pointless if I can only have the settings I was used to with a "Real" keyboard. Seems I have to give something up to use the touch bar's app specific controls.

2 Answers 2


Try Better Touch Tool.

I don't see a way to have the Touch Bar display function keys (initially) AND allow for the use of both App Controls and Control Strip.

Aren't you accustomed to holding fn when using the function keys anyway? I think this is the behavior Apple had in mind (show App Controls and use fn for function keys).

Instead of an additional keyboard shortcut, I'd suggest Apple add a "Show Control Strip" box on the the Fn setting when you choose App Controls (like the first drop down behaves).

Worst case: use an external keyboard when developing.

  • Not really as when debugging I will use the function keys to step through, in and out of code, at the same time it's good to use the trackpad / cursor to inspect variables as i'm stepping over them. I don't have 3 hands so using the fn key as well is too difficult. I see lots of developers complaining about the touch bar, seems we were forgotten by apple :/
    – Lenny D
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 8:49

Not an answer, but here's what I've done as a compromise:

In System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Function Keys, I add all applications where I want to have Fn keys as default. These are basically code editors, terminals, browsers etc. That way, when I'm developing, I will always see the function keys.

In almost all other apps (messaging, video calls, calendar etc.) I find the App controls + Control Strip default more useful, so I leave that as the default for all other apps. I've noticed that I rarely if ever use the Fn keys in these apps.

To me this is the only half-decent solution without buying Better Touch Tools.

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