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I have a MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018) and prefer to have the Touch Bar display the escape button on the left, nothing but a custom widget that does nothing in the middle, and the collapsed Control Strip on the right:

A photo illustrating what I said above.

I don't use Siri, so I want to remove the Siri button from the collapsed Control Strip. However, when I press "Customize Touch Bar..." in the Keyboard preferences pane, it replaces the contents of the Touch Bar with the expanded Control Strip, from which I have removed Siri:

A silent video illustrating what I said above.

How do I customize the collapsed Control Strip to remove Siri, if every time I try to customize the Touch Bar, it removes the collapsed Control Strip?

1 Answer 1

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I called Apple multiple times about this, each time it was escalated to a Senior Advisor, and each time nobody could figure this out. While toying around with it, however, I found the solution:

System Preferences' Keyboard pane, showing "App Controls" selected for the "Touch Bar shows:" preference.

The only combination of preferences which allows you to customize the collapsed Control Strip is:

  • Touch Bar shows App Controls
  • Show Control Strip is checked

Then when you press "Customize Control Strip...", you will be allowed to customize only the collapsed Control Strip. After you're done with that, you can change your "Touch Bar shows" preference to whatever you want:

A silent video illustrating what I said above.

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    Crazy this information was so hard to find Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 5:00
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    For those who missed it like me, the surprising thing is that the touchbar effectively becomes a second display arranged directly beneath the macbook display. So as your mouse moves down you can see the hover state change for the items spread across the touch bar. The mouse now has access to the touchbar which it never does normally. Then you can drag and drop the elements you don't want out of the touchbar and those you want can drag into it.
    – jxramos
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 18:30
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    Correct, @jxramos! However, you can only modify the collapsed control strip if the Touch Bar is showing "App Controls" and "Show Control Strip" is checked. If that checkbox is unchecked, or if it instead shows "Expanded Control Strip", "F1, F2, etc. Keys", "Quick Actions", or "Spaces", then you won't be able to modify the collapsed control strip
    – Ky -
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 18:27
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    It's totally non-intuitive, no one would ever guess the touchbar becomes a mouse accessible display because where else has it ever done so? Once that mental model is paved then we can perceive this mode of interaction but discovering it is pretty surprising. There should be a tip or hovertool or something above the configuration UI to even suggest that you can interact with the touchbar as a regular GUI item, or at least render the mouse pointer down in the thing because without it you basically get a ghost mouse pointer like in UI bugs where you see evidence of the invisible pointer only.
    – jxramos
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 19:02
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    I guess somebody thought it was too easy, because now (13.4.1), I can add things to the strip, but I can't remove them. I frequently activate Siri accidentally when I'm trying to delete something or use Touch ID. And I have Siri turned off, so the button shouldn't even be there!
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 5:38

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