Bar None

I really dislike the Touch Bar. So I made Bar None.

I recently upgraded from a late 2013 MacBook Pro to the modern 16” MacBook Pro. I put off upgrading for so long because Apple kept removing or breaking features I love or depend on: MagSafe, USB-A, SD card slot, a reliable keyboard with inverted-T arrow keys and a physical escape key. Just typing this is making me upset all over again. Like iPhone headphone jack upset.

Anyway, after Apple regressed the keyboard to a functional design, it was finally time to upgrade. Enter the Touch Bar. One step forward, two steps back.

A week later, I’m still regularly accidentally brushing or resting my finger on it. As a developer my left thumb naturally rests on the command key, my index on the R key, which leads to my middle hovering over or resting on the former home of the function keys. The same thing happens in Photoshop with my right hand, thumb on command, index on the plus or minus key, and middle wandering into Touch Bar territory.

I’ve tried customizing the Command Strip, adding spacers to either end, but that just moves the mines. It’s still a minefield.

Bar None is an app that lives in your menu bar and blocks all Touch Bar input unless you’re holding the fn key. That’s it. (This effectively nukes the function keys but let’s be honest, Apple did that by introducing the Touch Bar.)

Like Little Fingers before it, Bar None uses an event tap to intercept all input (so it can monitor the state of the fn key while ignoring the Touch Bar) and therefore requires explicit permission to use system-level Accessibility features. Apple (still?) doesn’t provide an especially user-friendly way to request this permission so the first launch experience leaves a bit to be desired. Sorry!

Bar None is offered free, as-is. I won’t be offering support or taking feature requests. That said, I hope Bar None treats you well.

Day-O 3
Shaun Inman
April 12th, 2020 at 9:13 pm