How to Fix Touch Bar on Macbook Pro Using 10 Unique Methods

| Updated on January 4, 2024
fix touch bar

A short-lived innovation of the MacBook Pro Touch Bar was appreciated by some while being disliked by many at the same time. Due to the increasing flaws within this feature, it started disappearing gradually.

However, you may still use a MacBook Pro with a TouchBar presently but may get into a dilemma after discovering several errors arising out of this feature. 

touch bar not working

If you frequently ask, “Why is my touch bar not working” then herein, you will get the answer.

Yes, in this article, I will detail why you see “touch bar not working” errors, and how to fix them. 

What Is a Touch Bar on a Macbook?

Touch Bar on Macbook

The Touch Bar was introduced on MacBook Pro for the first time in 2016. You will see a touch-sensitive strip on the top of your MacBook’s keyboard along with “buttons,” and it is known as the Touch Bar. How it functions depends upon what you choose to do on your Mac. 

The Touch Bar works like any screen as using it; you see all the currently active tools. Let’s take the example of Finder; herein, the Touch Bar will show media keys; on the contrary, when you proceed into the photo editor, the bar will display a set of common photo editing tools.

Why Is MacBook Pro Touchbar Not Working?

There are many reasons why is your MacBook Pro touch bar not working with any keyword. To your aid, I have summarized all the probable reasons that can cause “MacBook Touch Bar not working” errors.

The reasons why your Mac Touch Bar doesn’t change with apps, respond properly, show app-specific functions, or freeze randomly are as follows:

  • Outdated macOS
  • Incorrect settings
  • Malfunctioning applications
  • Mac overheating
  • Temporary software glitches
  • Running resource-intensive software
  • A recent keyboard replacement
  • Low memory or disk space
  • Split water on Mac
  • Connected to an external monitor
  • Hardware issues  

I hope that the doubt in your mind must be clear by now regarding the possible reasons that cause your MacBook Pro touch bar not working problems.

Now, after having the proximate ideas about the core reasons for the cause, the subsequent step is to proceed with fixing the “MacBook Pro bar not working” error.

How to Fix Touch Bar on MacBook Pro Error?

I have detailed the 10 best solutions which you can try implementing to your MacBook Pro for fixing the “Mac touch bar not working error”. Read them thoroughly and analyze what you should opt for: 

Restart Your Mac

Many times, you just need to reboot your device, and you will observe that the problem is gone.

So whenever you note that your MacBook Pro Touch Bar is not showing the volume slider on tapping or showing “MacBook Touch Bar disappeared error”, then follow the steps to restart your device:

  • Visit Apple menu >> Restart
  • A dialog box will appear; herein, click on “Restart,” and doing this will confirm your final action.

However, this is not a universal solution, and hence, it’s possible that you still face the issue. If such is the case with you, I will suggest you keep reading the further methods that I have discussed below.

You may also like to read: Best 16 Snipping Tools for Mac in 2023

Update Your macOS

According to the new macOS updates, you can do security patches and improve support for many applications and other features like TouchBar. However, to use this feature, make sure that you have updated the Mac model to the latest version.

To upgrade your Mac model- 

  • Simply visit the Apple menu >> System Preferences >> Software Update.
  • From here, start installing the newly available update.
    Update your macOS 

Force Quit Troublesome Applications

After you notice the error in your Mac Touch Bar, once you switch to any particular app, the particular app may be frozen or give rise to minor bugs. And due to this, your Touch Bar may have stopped working correctly.

Herein, I will advise you to force quit that problematic application to get rid of the Touch Bar error.

Follow the steps I mentioned below to know how you can force quit the frozen app which is causing problems for you:

  • Long press Command+Option+Esc simultaneously to open the Force Quit Dialogue box on the screen.
    Tap Command+Option+Esc
  • Choose the app that causes malfunctions on the Touch Bar, and finally, click on “Force Quit”.
    Force quit

Don’t worry if this trick didn’t help you solve the error, and there is still a lot of hope in the further solutions that I have compiled here. Don’t stop here; move on to know what lies ahead.

You may also like to read: How to delete all messages on Mac or MacBook? 

Refresh the Control Strip

The Control Strip is the right side of the Touch Bar, and using it you can change the brightness level and turn the volume up/down.

You can refresh the control strip once you find the problem on the right side of the Touch Bar. Besides, you can also try refreshing the Control Strip if you find out that the Touch Bar is not displaying on the screen or has stopped responding to the shortcuts.

The process to refresh Control Strip on Mac is as follows:

  • Visit: Finder >> Applications >> Utilities >> Terminal
  • Copy and paste the command “killall ControlStrip,” and once you are done, press “Return”.
    Enter the command and click Return

That marks the end of this particular process. Fixing the right side of the Touch Bar or brightness settings of the Mac Touch Bar was that much simpler. However, the list still goes on as there are several solutions to discuss with you.

Refresh the Touch Bar

Let me tell you that to cope efficiently with the MacBook Touch Bar not working error issue, one of the most effective tricks is to destroy the Touch Bar process itself and restart it from scratch. 

Refreshing the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro cleans up the entire memory and resources used earlier and assigns a new one instead. This hack is specifically helpful for those suffering from the Mac Touch Bar not lighting up error and the MacBook Touch Bar disappearing error.

Moreover, you can always refresh the Touch Bar using either Terminal or “Activity Monitor”.

To refresh the Touch Bar MacBook Pro using Activity Monitor, follow the steps as mentioned below: 

  • Visit Finder >> Applications >> Utilities to open Activity Monitor.
  • Look up the TouchBarServer process and click on the same once you locate it.
  • Now, after choosing the process, it’s time to click the “X” icon. By doing this, you can force yourself to quit it.

Hurray, you have quit the “TouchBarServer” process successfully. 

Gradually, the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro will go blank for a while and then return to normal after receiving new resources, and finally, it will restart the TouchBarServer.

To refresh the touch bar MacBook Pro using Terminal, execute the following steps:

  • Visit Finder >> Applications >> Utilities to open Terminal.
  • Now, copy and paste the following command, thereafter click “Enter”
    • “Sudo pkill TouchBarServer” (if you run macOS 10.13 High Sierra and Later)
    • “Kill Touch Bar agent” (if you run macOS 10.12 Sierra and earlier)
  • Now, provide your security password and press “Enter” to proceed further.

Did this trick appear to be successful? If yes, then congrats on removing the error yourself. However, if it still troubles you, then this isn’t the end of the journey; continue reading for further solutions.

Alter the Sound Output

If you have plugged in an external display and are still not able to operate the volume slider of the Mac Touch Bar, then: 

  • Open: Apply Menu >> System Settings.
    Tap on System Settings
  • Now select Sound.
  • Under the “Sound” option, choose the Output tab.

Try switching the output device and see if you can operate the volume slider of the Touch Bar. Try using your headphones first and then check out by switching to your external speaker, and you will realize that the “MacBook Pro touch bar not working error” has vanished.

Check Touch Bar Display Settings

Try adjusting the Display Settings on macOS Ventura to remove TouchBar not working error by executing the following steps: 

  • Visit: Apple Menu >> System Settings
  • Look for the search field and type “Touch bar” here.
  • Click on either Customize Touch Bar or Control strip.
  • Locate the drop-down menu next to “Touch Bar shows” in the section and click on “App Controls.’

In case you have MacOS Monetary or its earlier version, then do as stated below:

  • Launch “Apple menu”, choose the option that says“System Preferences,” and then click on “Keyboard.”
  • Click on the option that reads either “App Controls” or “App Controls with Control Strip” 
    Alter display settings

However, you may find out that the Touch Bar is not changing with the apps. In such a case, the Touch bar shows “Expanded Control Strip” instead of “App Controls“. Herein, you have to: 

  • To visit the keyboard setting, choose “System Preferences” and then “Accessibility”.
    Click on Accessibility
  • Locate the “Keyboard” option.
    Tap on Keyboard
  • Ascertain that the “Enable slow keys” option is turned off.
    Slow keys

Note: If the option is enabled, then you may witness the “Mac Touch Bar volume not working error”.

Reset SMC and NVRAM

Another solution in the list is to reset SMC and NVRAM. The SMC (System Management Controller) manages the low-level functions related to physical parts, including the keyboard, battery, LED indicator, CPU, etc. 

If you find out that light doesn’t function properly. if the light doesn’t function properly on the right side of the Touch Bar, then SMC can help you fix it. If you don’t see any positive results after resetting the SMC, try to reset the NVRAM to fix the Touch Bar error on your MacBook. 

Clear the Touch Bar Cache Files

The second last solution for getting rid of the MacBook Pro Touch Bar glitch is to clear the cache files accumulated in the Touch Bar.

Sometimes, the temporary cache files stored on Mac to make the process quicker either get full or corrupted. Due to this issue, the Touch Bar malfunctions. 

The same problem can be caused by its preferences’ configuration as well. So to get back to normalcy, you are supposed to reset the Touch Bar’s cache files as well as preferences.

Follow the process as prescribed below to reset cache files and app preferences of the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro:

  • Visit Finder >> Go menu >> Go to Folder
  • Enter the path “~Library/Preferences/” to launch Touch Bar’s app preferences.
  • Select the file which is named “apple. touch bar.agent.plist” and delete it.
  • Follow the path as I have shown below through a specimen to visit your Cache folder: ~Library/Caches/
  • Delete whatever lies in the folder.

Note: Make sure that you delete the content within the folder and not the folder itself; otherwise, you will witness issues in some other applications.

  • Finally, reboot your PC, and you will see the issue is solved; hurray, you did it. 

Contact Apple Support for Aid

Finally, if nothing discussed above proves to be of any help to you, then it’s high time that you should directly contact Apple Support and let them know the problem you are facing with your Touch Bar.

You can share the problems related to hardware problems, such as water damage, loose connections, and broken parts. Based on your specific issue, Apple Support will provide you with a one-stop solution.

They might ask you to send your MacBook Pro for thorough hardware testing.

You have to note that if the “MacBook Touch Bar not working” error occurs after you replace your original keyboard, simply bring it back to the technician only who replaced it with the previous one and ask him to fix the error.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, the unique specs and functions of the MacBook make it one of the best devices to use. However, it may feel like a burden when you are added with a responsibility to fix the “MacBook Pro Bar not working” error.

But I know that by now you don’t feel it the same as earlier. Reading the 10 solutions above must have indicated to you which one to implement to your MacBook Pro to remove the TouchBar not working error. It’s time to say goodbye to your MacBook Pro Bar not working and enjoy using your device freely. 


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