I have a Macbook Pro on macOS monterey 12.1, and I have discovered through XCode.app that you can enable a touchbar that works as if you were using a 2016(4 USB-C/thunderbolt port) through 2020 model. I have also seen a post on Reddit where people are getting the option to customize their touchbar under system preferences > keyboard settings (Customize Control Strip) despite not having one.

How would I intentionally make the option to customize what options appear on the virtual touchbar (at least on XCode) under keyboard settings to show up, if not through: the command line?

In short; how do I get the 'Customize Control Strip' option on a macbook without a physical touchbar, but a virtual one?

2 Answers 2


You can enable the virtual, simulated Touch Bar from Xcode's menu by choosing Window > Touch Bar > Show Touch Bar.

For even easier access to the Touch Bar without having to launch Xcode, you can use free utilities such as Touch Bar Simulator and Touché.

  • "I have discovered through XCode.app that you can enable a touchbar", I know how to enable the touchbar through xcode already, but not how to customize what appears on said touchbar.
    – Meh.
    Dec 15, 2021 at 23:57

Something interesting occurred between back then, and on macOS 12.3.

You simply open up XCode, and tell it to open the control strip (choose generation as well). Quit system preferences and reopen it, navigate to keyboard and it just shows customize control strip.

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