Apple unveiled their latest MacBook Pros, some months back, and the biggest design change (apart from the smaller bezels, and thinner build… and all USB-C configuration), was the addition of a Touch Bar to the higher end 13″, and the 15″ model of the MacBook Pro. The default apps on the MacBook Pro, already support the Touch Bar, and so do some of the apps developed by Apple, such as Final Cut Pro. However, while the Touch Bar did look like something of a novelty at the time, it has quickly caught on, and some really great apps have started supporting it. So, if you’ve just bought the new 2016 MacBook Pro, and are looking to put that great Touch Bar to use, here are 12 cool Touch Bar apps for your MacBook Pro that you should check out:
1. Spark Email
Spark is one of my favourite email clients, and is actually the one that I use, on my MacBook Air. Spark was quick to jump onto the Touch Bar wagon, and this has resulted in a really well baked Touch Bar support in the app.
With Spark, and a Touch Bar enabled MacBook Pro, you will get options to quickly mark emails as “Read/Unread“. You will also be able to “Reply/Reply All“, or “Forward” emails by just tapping on your Touch Bar. The Touch Bar buttons for Spark include some other options, such as “Snooze“, “Pin“, “Move to Folder“, and a lot more.
Download Spark for Mac (Free)
2. Coda 2
Coda is an editor for web developers. The app comes with great features for web developers, such as automatic indentation, auto-closing of tags, and more. Plus, the preview pane updates in real time to show what your web page will look like. Also, if you have the Coda app installed on an iOS device, you can use “Air Preview” to view the rendered web page on your iPhone, or iPad.
With Touch Bar support in Coda 2, you get options to change the indentation of text, something that is very useful. You also get a button to quickly switch between the editor, and the preview window, so you can easily view any changes you made in the code, reflect in the editor, without having to click any menu options. The Touch Bar also offers a one-tap solution to add comments to the website code, along with a handy search, and “go to line number” function.
Download Coda 2 for Mac (7 days free trial; $99)
3. PDF Expert
PDF Expert is one of the best PDF reader, and editor that I have used. The app is developed by Readdle, and has been quick enough to start supporting the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pros.
With the latest version of PDF Expert, running on a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you will get options to do things like annotate the PDF, redact sensitive information using the blackout, or the eraser tool, insert text, images, links, and do a lot more. There are a lot of other options available, as well, such as the ability to highlight text, underline, or strikethrough text, insert text, or comments, etc.
Download PDF Expert for Mac (7 days free trial; $59.99)
4. djay Pro
djay Pro is one of the apps that was displayed working live with the Touch Bar when Apple first demoed it at their event. With the integration of djay Pro with the Touch Bar, you get easy options to do things like scratch through a track, and perform a whole lot of cool things with the track, including applying filters, gates, echo, and a lot more. This is definitely one of the cooler ways to use the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro.
Download djay Pro for Mac (15 days free trial; $39.99)
Outline is an app that you can use to take notes, manage notebooks, and do a lot of writing work in. The app is a lot like OneNote from Microsoft, in that it uses notebooks, sections, and pages to organise writings.
It is definitely a great app to use, and with the Touch Bar support, you get easy access to a lot of functions.You can do things like format text, change the alignment, insert emojis, and even add bullet, or numbered lists.
Download Outline for Mac (14 days free trial; $39.99)
OmniPlan is a planning app for Mac, that you can use to clearly lay out, and plan all the things that you need to do in a period of time. The app creates “tasks” that you can set to different colours, and adjust on the timeline, according to when you need to complete them.
With the Touch Bar support in the app, you get options to quickly change the colour of a task, mark tasks as completed so your work is on schedule, move behind-schedule tasks to later dates, etc. However, the most attractive use of the Touch Bar in this app, is the complete visualization of all your tasks in the Touch Bar, that you can interact with.
Download OmniPlan for Mac (14 days free trial; starting from $74.99)
TouchSwitcher is a cool Touch Bar app that will let you quickly, and easily switch between the open apps on your Mac. This is great as you don’t need to press command + tab all the time. You can simply tap on the TouchSwitcher icon the Touch Bar, and select the app that you want to switch to. It’s as easy as that.
Download TouchSwitcher for Mac (Free)
Glimpses is a simple app. It does just one thing, and does it well. The app is used to combine multiple images into a video. You can adjust the amount of time that each image is displayed, and you can add background sounds to it.
Now that the app has Touch Bar support, you get options to quickly import images from disk, Flickr, or Instagram. You also get the option to add a soundtrack, and configure the settings for the video. Once you have done all that, you can simply tap on the “Create” button on the Touch Bar, and Glimpses will combine all of your photos into a cool video with the soundtrack you selected.
Download Glimpses for Mac (15 days free trial; $19.99)
9. Better Touch Tool
For those of you that don’t know, Better Touch Tool is probably the most widely used third party tool on Macs. It extends the functionality of every aspect of the device, and allows you to customize endlessly. Now, the app supports Touch Bar, and allows you to create all sorts of custom Touch Bar buttons that you can assign to do whatever you want them to do. You can create Touch Bar buttons to quickly launch websites, run some scripts, and do a lot more. Better Touch Tool is definitely a very handy app to have, if you like custom actions.
Download Better Touch Tool (45 day free trial; licenses start at $6)
10. TouchBar Piano
This one is more of a fun thing to do with the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pros. TouchBar Piano is an app that puts a piano on your fingertips. There are keys laid out on the Touch Bar, and you can simply tap on them to play music. Within the interface of the app, you can choose from 128 different instruments, and you can even change the octave for each of them, to get the exact sound you want.
Download TouchBar Piano for Mac (Free)
TouchBarSpaceFight is one of the best things I have experienced on a Touch Bar, yet. This is a simple, yet challenging game where you have a spaceship (that you control with the arrow keys), and you have to shoot at enemies that literally fly out at you. The game is insanely addictive, and you’ll definitely have a lot of fun playing it.
Download TouchBarSpaceFight for Mac (Free)
If you liked playing Pac-Man, then you’ll love the nostalgia of playing this game on the Touch Bar of your MacBook Pro. PacBar puts a small, and easy game of Pac-Man on the Touch Bar, and you can control the Pac-Man with the arrow keys.
Admittedly, the game is very easy, and the number of opponents, or the kind of levels don’t vary at all. However, the game is definitely fun to play, and you should definitely try it.
Download PacBar for Mac (Free)
TouchBar Apps Worthy of a Mention:
- QuickRes (download) is an app that allows you to quickly change the native resolution of your MacBook Pro to a variety of different values. This is useful for people like graphic designers, who need to check the appearance of their designs on a variety of resolutions.
- Adobe Photoshop (download) is another really good app that supports the Touch Bar. This added functionality definitely makes it easier, and more intuitive to use the app. You get access to layers, tools, and a lot more directly on the Touch Bar of your MacBook Pro.
- TouchBar Dino (download) is an app that puts the classic Google Chrome Dino game on your Touch Bar. You can tap on the Touch Bar of your MacBook Pro to make the dino jump over obstacles. It’s a fun way to kill some time.
Use These Cool Touch Bar Apps on the new MacBook Pro
These were some of the coolest Touch Bar apps that you can try out on the new MacBook Pro. They definitely make good use of the capabilities of the Touch Bar, and show us the potential of what this technology can become.
Have you used any of the Touch Bar apps mentioned in this article, and what did you think of them? Do share your thoughts with us; also, if you know of any other Touch Bar apps that you think deserve to be on this list, do let us know in the comments section below.