The Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro is incredibly useful, and very powerful, provided that the apps have integrated it sensibly. Take for example, Safari, or Final Cut Pro, or even non-Apple apps, such as Adobe Photoshop CC 2017; all of these apps have really great integration with the Touch Bar. However, one of the most used browsers in the world: Google Chrome, still doesn’t support the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. So, if you’ve just bought the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and are stuck without Touch Bar support on Chrome, here is how you can get Touch Bar support in Chrome:
Method 1: Get Touch Bar Support in Chrome’s Canary Build
Some of you may not know, but the Chrome browser actually has three concurrent builds maintained by Google. There’s a stable build that most of you probably already have, a Beta build that is meant to let users get early access to some of the new features being implemented in Chrome, and a Canary build that is basically the bleeding edge of every feature being added to Chrome. If you want to try out the Touch Bar support in Chrome, you can just download the Canary build, and try it out.
In the Chrome canary build, the Touch Bar features static buttons for back, forward, refresh, new tab and favorites. There’s also a search/address bar that lets you quickly type a URL or search for something. However, there’s no way to customize the Touch Bar buttons, and unlike Safari, the Chrome Canary build does not bring a tab switcher or preview of windows in Touch Bar. So, yes, the Touch Bar support in the Chrome Canary build is still at an early phase and we hope Google adds more options when it arrives in the stable release.
Note: Chrome’s Canary builds are prone to being unstable, and can crash, or freeze at any time. You should only use Canary builds to test out new features, and not use Chrome’s Canary build as your primary browser.
Method 2: Create Custom Touch Bar Buttons for Chrome
If you cannot wait for the features in the current Canary build to make their way into the stable Chrome build, it’s alright. You can actually use the app called Better Touch Tool, to create a Touch Bar implementation for Chrome. The best part about this, is that you can customize it endlessly, and adjust it according to your personal requirements. If you want to create custom Touch Bar buttons for Chrome, just follow the steps below:
- Download and install Better Touch Tool (45 day free trial, licenses start from $6). Launch the app, and go to “Preferences”.
- Here, go to the tab that says “Touch Bar”, to create buttons for the Touch Bar.
- Click on the “+” under “Select Application“.
- Choose Google Chrome from the list of applications.
- Next, click on “+ Touch Bar Button” to add a new button to the Touch Bar, that will only show up when Chrome is the active application.
- Enter a name for the button under “Touch Bar Button Name“, and choose an icon for it. You can also choose a custom icon for the button. First, we’ll create a “New Tab” button. So enter the name “New Tab” in the “Touch Bar Button Name”.
- Then, click on “Custom Keyboard Shortcut”, and press “command + T”. This is the shortcut for opening a new tab on Chrome.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see the “New Tab” button in the Touch Bar when you bring Chrome to the foreground. Similarly, you can create buttons for closing tabs, switching to next, or previous tabs, and a lot more. Anything you can do with a keyboard shortcut, can be easily, and quickly assigned to a Touch Bar button, with Better Touch Tool. Once done, the Touch Bar will look a little bit like this:
Get Touch Bar Support on Chrome
While it is disappointing that Chrome hasn’t started supporting the Touch Bar, at least Google has it on the road map. Until then, you can choose to stick with the Canary build (not recommended for primary usage), or just create your own Touch Bar buttons for Google Chrome with Better Touch Tool. That said, there are a lot of apps that support the Touch Bar, and you can do a lot of cool stuff with the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.
As always, we would like to know your thoughts on the Touch Bar, and whether you think it is a useful addition to the MacBook Pro’s marquee features. Also, if you know of any other way to enable Touch Bar in Chrome, do let us know in the comments section below.