Apple has a knack for getting people excited about everything it announces during its big press conferences. No one does it as well as Steve Jobs, of course, but current CEO Tim Cook and his executive team are still remarkably good at pitching new products in a way that makes countless journalists, bloggers, and fans giddy with anticipation. Of course, most of us can see the forest for the trees, and we look past the hype. That was exactly the case when Apple first introduced the Touch Bar on its MacBook Pro laptops back in 2016.
While almost every other laptop maker in the world offers models with touchscreens, Apple still refuses to get onboard. Instead, the company added a small secondary screen at the top of its MacBook Pro keyboards that offers quick access to different functions based on which app is in use at the time. When it was introduced, Apple bloggers and hardcore fans immediately began to gush over how incredible and innovative the Touch Bar was. Meanwhile, the rest of us wondered how tapping the Touch Bar was any better than reaching your finger one more inch to tap a normal touchscreen on a laptop. As time passed, fans and Apple bloggers calmed down and realized that the ever-changing Touch Bar is more of an annoyance than anything else. Now, however, a new free app has been released that finally adds some worthwhile functionality to the MacBook Pro’s tiny little touchscreen.
I have a MacBook Pro laptop with a Touch Bar. I didn’t seek out the Touch Bar though, I only got it because you can’t get a top-end build without one. While it’s true that I use it almost all the time, I don’t actually use any of the main features of the Touch Bar. Why? Because they the constantly change every time you switch apps and it’s far easier to use the keyboard and mouse than it is to learn what buttons appear for each different app and where they’re located. Instead, I use the Touch Bar for the Escape button and to adjust my laptop’s volume and brightness… simply because those functions are no longer accessible on the keyboard.
If you find your own usage similar to mine and you can’t be bothered to figure out all the different configurations for different programs, there’s a new app that you should definitely check out because it’s actually very useful. It’s also wonderfully simple: It puts the macOS dock on your Touch Bar.
Apple’s app dock at the bottom (or on the sides) of the screen is neat, but it also takes up space. For that reason, many people choose to hide it in macOS’s settings. Then when you move your mouse to the edge of the display, the dock reappears and you can launch your apps. But if you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you can instead install a free, open source app called Pock and your dock will always be accessible on your Touch Bar.
Like the Touch Bar itself, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. But if you’re like me and you have a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar anyway, you might as well use it for something worthwhile instead of only using it to hit Escape and adjust your volume because you’re forced to.