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Pock: Display macOS Dock in Touch Bar (pock.dev)
584 points by dustinfarris 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 212 comments

This is what Touch Bar should have been from the beginning IMO. I've been on the fence to upgrade my 2012 MBP. I've been concerned about buying into the Touch Bar hardware when it seems like it is not coming to any other Macs.

Why should I devote time to learning Touch Bar and trying to find ways to integrate it with my workflow when keyboard shortcuts are more than enough—and probably better? What happens when I sit down at my iMac where I spend >50% of my time?

Pock. has the answer. Turn the Touch Bar into the Mac Dock. Full screen everything and still have quick visuals on app notifications. Don't have to command-tabtabtabtab to get to a different open app—just tap it on the dock in Touch Bar. It's the perfect solution to an actual problem—give me more space on a small screen without sacrificing any of the experience.

I've been concerned about buying into the Touch Bar hardware when it seems like it is not coming to any other Macs.

If Apple was going to try and open a new front on the "hearts and minds of Touch Bar skeptics" war then the Mac Pro reveal at WWDC a few weeks ago would have been the time to do it, that they didn't makes me think it's not long for this world. Not because the Mac Pro sales would have been hampered by it, if a workstation class modular PC running macOS was what you have been waiting for then wrapping the cost of a Touch Bar keyboard wouldn't be a make or break price modifier (and you could always swap out keyboards later if you hate it).

If the MBP is a quasi-halo product (expensive but incredibly ubiquitous) and the Touch bar isn't coming to the Mac Pro which is a true halo product I don't think you'll see it ever get pushed to any other product category either.

If memory serves, the logic to drive the Touch Bar is something that came from the Watch, which also included the Secure Enclave and other features that were more mobile than desktop. If that was true, then you can't trust the USB cable alone (or Bluetooth) to maintain the trust that circuit needs, and a keyboard with a Touch Bar would require a new circuit or at least design change to only do the display part, not the rest. It makes sense they won't put it in standalone keyboards just yet.

I tended to agree with this, but really with the desktop setup you have to move your eyes and head much farther to see the keyboard because the monitor is not fixed to it. This may be why they don't produce keyboards with the touchbar - the experience would be even less appealing.

I had forgotten the Touchbar was possibly to get life on the magic keyboard. I agree if this was to happen, it should have been bundled with the Mac Pro.

I also think the Touchbar apps being migrated to Sidecar may be a clue that a deprecation path exists should the dedicated hardware go away. “They live in sidecar now.”

You could also just set your dock to autohide. That's what I do on my MBA 2015 and it's great, especially considering how small 1440x900 already is.

If you’re hiding the dock, reducing the delay is very useful:

    defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock

If you also have an iPad, the Touch Bar will make an appearance on that when using it as a second screen in Catalina's upcoming Sidecar feature: https://www.macrumors.com/2019/06/05/apple-sidecar-app-has-t...

Not as useful as when it's right next to the keyboard, but that's probably the closest other Macs are going to get.

I could sort of imagine Apple making a desktop keyboard with one, but it seems better suited to a wired keyboard than bluetooth. You'd have to recharge the battery way more often.

Just downloaded it! I have to agree that this is a much better use than the default one. The original one was hardly usable in many applications besides music players. This gives me the ability to switch apps quicker than before, especially with many full screen apps open. Thanks man.

I'm hoping sooner or later someone figures out how to bind/call arbitrary elisp functions from the touchbar. That for me would be the real killer app.

> devote time to learning Touch Bar

How complicated do you think it is that you need to spend time learning it?

Not complicated at all, it just requires an open mindset.

Some tips:

Customise it to your liking in the keyboard pref pane.

You can press-and-drag on volume and brightness buttons of the collapsed control strip. No need to tap then slide.

You can create services (now Quick Action) in Automator and they show up with the Show Quick Actions setting set. Since services can be contextual (input+app) you can get creative and do some whacky stuff in there. I have contextless Safari and Terminal there to pop up new windows whatever the focused app is.

What I CAN NOT do, however, is move the 'ESC' key (or any, really) all the way to the left. There's always a 'Touch ID'-size spacer on the left of the Touch Bar.

That spacer still activates the 'ESC' key

That's correct. I am currently considering upgrading from my 13" 2013 Macbook Air to a 15" 2019 Macbook Pro (I want it for the IPS/bigger display) and I noticed this while I was testing it at Bestbuy.

Personally, if I make the purchase, I will probably just remap the Caps Lock key to ESC - assuming I can remove ESC from the Touch Bar.

The one thing I didn't care for is that the Touch Bar display can time out. I would personally prefer that it stay on - or at least have the option of it staying on.

Did a quick test, seems like it times out after 2min of system idle time, unrelated to display timeout (caffeinate -d doesn't prevent it) or actual idle system state (caffeinated -I doesn't either), and even on AC power (to prevent OLED burn in?)

The timeout implementation could definitely be improved. In 6 months I've hat that computer I've never had it be a problem or even found it annoying in any way though.

it sort of does. pressing in the 'middle' of the space, yeah, but not tapping the edge, like I used to do with the physical key.

Indeed the ESC button is much wider than it appears to be.

After 4 weeks with a touchbar macbook I’m still trying to unlearn “finger rests near escape key”, mostly because I only use the built in keyboard occasionally and that’s where that finger belongs.

It's also about unlearning one's previous workflows.

I've been using TouchSwitcher for a good while now: https://hazeover.com/touchswitcher.html

I use Logic Pro heaps - and the touch par is actually useful there. The issue for me is remembering that it's there. I am so used to the keyboard commands.

The thing that should concern you more about upgrading is the fact that they now solder the hard drive into the motherboard and the keys break and once broken also requires replacing the whole machine. Oh and they have no travel either. Maintainability? Who cares about that!

Now they just need to add the missing row of keys, and everything will be fine.

Sidecar adds a Touch Bar on the iPad to all Macs that support Sidecar.

Agree, the dock is what the touch bar should default to. I do wonder, if any, what the battery impact is with Pock?

The lack of a Touch Bar on desktop Macs is ridiculous, but I generally like it. Especially when I realized that you don't for example, touch volume, wait, and slide, but just start sliding from the little button in the quick menu.

Coincidentally I also just upgraded my personal laptop from a 2012 retina MacBook Pro to the 2019 i9 MacBook Pro!

Long story short I think the touchbar is totally useless. I have it set to emulate regular function keys right now (expose, launchpad etc)

However everything else is top notch and well worth it. The touchid is fantastic, and you will immediately enjoy the difference. Screen is amazing, 8 cores is super nice. Also I might be in the minority but I actually prefer the feel of the keyboard vs the previous unibody keys.

Touchbar is a dud but the 2019 version is well worth it otherwise imho.

> Also I might be in the minority but I actually prefer the feel of the keyboard vs the previous unibody keys.

It is not the feel of the keyboard that is "hated" - it's the reliability (the feel of the keyboard AFTER it stops being new and starts being... the 2016+ rMBP butterfly keyboard).

I wonder if the 2019 keyboard is fixed, but I'm VERY sceptical.

Apple extended their keyboard service program to the new 2019 models on launch day: https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-service-program-for-m...

Which is to say that Apple, too, is VERY skeptical. :-)

There are people who hate the key feel too. I think it's people who type more forcefully; the new keyboards have a nice clicky feel with a low travel distance, but they require a light touch or you're basically slamming your fingers into a solid object.

I don't know why people type like that, but they do. I wonder if there's any correlation with people who stomp their feet when they walk. It's like they never picked up on the fact that you can dial back your own movement's impact instead of just smashing into stuff and letting it stop you.

I type like this. I have found that it substantially reduces my RSI. YMMV.

The travel on a butterfly keyboard is less than 1mm. It's hard to avoid bottoming out. When you say "light touch", it means truly feather-light. A keyboard that needs to be handled so delicately has no place in my world, and will pose difficulty for many.

I think your analogy is a major reach, but just to run with it:

That reminds me of catlike movement (very graceful, very limited impact and noise) versus doglike (lots of movement and noise, bouncing up and down).

And as it turns out, dogs use much less energy walking than cats do. Loud “doglike” typing isn’t necessarily a sign of inexperience, it’s actually energy-efficient and comfortable.

I’ve never had RSI but I seriously fear it suddenly striking whenever I have to use one of those super-flat Apple keyboards.

Or along similar lines: most if not all piano/keyboard players (I’m fairly sure, anyway) prefer weighted keys. Why do you think that is? It’s not just so you can play loudly or softly; a digital piano can be pressure-sensitive without having a weighted response.

I'm not sure its about energy used as much as feedback and finesse.

I prefer mechanical keyboards for the same reason I would prefer weighted keys on a keyboard: kinesthetic feedback. A weighted key gives you more direct feel of the balance of the key as it moves, which allows you to worry less about the complex muscle movements, and more about the actual music.

Not the person you're replying to.

But how would forceful typing be more energy efficient? You press harder (more muscle activation), keys travel longer (more muscle activation), and you have to move your fingers back "up" again.

Btw. the reason pianists want weighted keys is mostly because it mimics acoustic pianos. If you practice on non weighted keys and play on a piano, you would tire your fingers very quickly. Apart from that major reason, the weight gives a tactile feedback when playing that is arguably necessary to play beyond what you learn the first few years. Without it going back and forth between soft and loud requires an entirely different feedback mechanism.

But this does not IMO translate to keyboards. You're interested in the tactile feedback of the "click" that signals that the press has been registered.

I think the argument is that you spend energy to start your fingers moving and then you spend more energy to make them stop. But at least the way I type, what I think I'm doing is expending as much energy as needed to make the key bottom out, and no more energy than that.

I can buy the extra energy cost for walking because gravity is putting some force on there and you'd expend energy to counterbalance it versus just letting the ground push back.

But your fingers have exactly as much force as you put behind them yourself, so I don't know what's up with the finger-slammers. They totally exist though.

I was probably reaching with the foot-stompers comparison. Seems like a similar result, but the causes may well be unrelated.

I think what I’m saying is, to try to use your terms: small precise movements can be more tiring than bigger looser movements, because they require strong muscular control.

And, I’d argue, keyboards with deeper travel require less precise movements. You can rest your fingers on the keys so you know where you are, and it takes a comfortable longish movement to press a key rather than a tiny precise movement.

If we ignore the Apple keyboard for a moment, with DIY mechanical keyboards, you can customize travel length, travel resistance, and click. Getting the force and travel length correct, for me at least, mean I spend significantly less energy typing. My fingers and lower arms are tired if I'm using a regular keyboard for an hour.

Perhaps the optimum is not either extreme. Not an Apple like keyboard with almost zero travel, and not a keyboard from the 5$ bin, but something in between. And it's not the same for everyone.

Yes, that sounds right.

Personally, I quickly got used to Apple’s first “chiclet” laptop keyboards, which had pretty low travel, and actually enjoyed them. But I really have a very hard time with the latest generation.

Once you become used to a nice, clicky mechanical keyboard, or have spent time typing on a Lenovo laptop, keyboards with travel feel much less jarring on fingertips.

Suggesting people who like travel on keyboards walk around stomping their feet is hilariously misinformed.

I've got one (kaihua browns) and like that too. But I don't type on my laptop keyboard as if it has that much key travel.

I'm also on the fence about upgrading. I am thinking of just buying a mac keyboard so I have an escape key. That key is very essential to my workflow. Do you think it's a good idea?

Mac OS support by default to map the Caps Lock key as an Escape key.

Back in the "old" days, nobody would have voluntarily admitted they used the regular Escape key implying their hand movement is anything less than optimal. Hell, Mac OS was praised for almost not making any use of the carpal tunnel inducing function keys.

Then the touch bar was released ;-)

For anyone else reading this, the option is found in System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys...

For more complex modifications there is Karabiner-Elements, which is especially useful if you use Hammerspoon.

I use karabiner [1] to remap the capslock key to esc.

[1] https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/

No need for Karabiner if that’s all you’re using it for, you can do it natively in System Preferences → Keyboard → Modifier Keys.

Karabiner Elements is user for a more complex modifier [1]. I use Karabiner to remap Caps Lock to hyper (cmd+ctrl+option) or just esc when pressed alone.

[1] https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/complex_modifications/#modifi...

Interesting.. so this is how the esc key is now? I guess it's compromise. Maybe I'll get used to it eventually.

Sigh I'm just sad apple wont budge on a high end non-touchbar model

Touchbar can be useful especially with apps like Pock to save some screen real estate. The only thing that they should do is to bring back ESC key and maybe allow for switching numbers row to F-keys with Fn. That would allow for rich media control and whatever you want on touchbar and still have proper, tactile functionality of keys.

Fresh - yes. But the keyboard degrades over time :(

I'm not a lawyer, but I would consider revisiting your icon[0]. It looks identical to Patreon's[1] with a period/full-stop. On a technical note, this looks pretty cool and may have helped me hold off on ditching my mac products if I knew about it sooner!

[0] https://pock.dev/assets/img/brand/pock_logo_w.png

[1] https://c5.patreon.com/external/logo/guidelines/icon_color_v...

This is also the first thing I noticed and regardless of it not being related to the software itself it is a red flag. Ironically the favicon on the page is sufficiently different and wouldn't be mistaken for Patreon's logo, at least in my opinion.

A red flag for what? For not properly looking up if a design already exists?

A red flag for dishonesty, if you want a broader answer — it is entirely possible that the author hasn't indeed seen Patreon before, but as it is, Patreon is a very widely known company and it looks like a rip-off, even if it isn't. Much in the same vain you could make an apple with a bite your logo, but it would look like you're just a copycat.

I've supported multiple Patreon campaigns, and i didn't recognise this logo. It's not featured prominently on their homepage and mailings. Calling something that looks like a simple oversight 'a red flag for dishonesty' sounds a bit unfair to me.

The logos are completely different (curvature, colors, extra circle). I don't think there's anything to worry about here. Patreon doesn't have a monopoly on logos that look vaguely like a P.

IMO cmd+tab is far superior since it requires less movement from the rest position. I can navigate contexts extremely efficiently. I also use cmd+~ a lot for in-app window switching.

I do like the idea of having the touch-bar as a notification center though, that would be pretty helpful.

I have my Macbook on a stand with an external keyboard. Besides being ergonomically better like that, I also missed the physical esc button way too much and would often accidentally hit the touch escape with my left pinky. Being a touch button all you need to do is graze it and ESCAPE!!1

I find that cmd+tab switching beyond 2 or 3 applications is not "superior" as it requires more recall of state than should be necessary. I've started using Alfred more often to switch to specific apps so that it doesn't matter where I'm coming "from" to get where I want to go "to."

I also use Karibiner to switch the capslock key to "escape when pressed once" and "ctrl" when used in combination with any other key. Completely agree that a missing escape key was a stupid design decision.

To its credit, cmd-tab is more than just an application switcher. It's also a quitter, and hider, and window previewer/switcher, and drop target, and "click dock icon" (not sure if this even has a name), and probably other things. It offers basically all the functionality of (the top half of) the dock, but in an MRU-ordered and (somewhat) keyboard-friendly way.

I am not saying there are not better methods than cmd+tab, just 'for me' I feel it would be way better than reaching for a dock in the touch strip. Alfred is definitely very powerful and a lot of people have great workflow with it, I use a mix of both.

> it requires more recall of state

The state is right there in the display, same as it would be on the touch strip. You can either mouse to an icon or keep tabbing to it. Either way I haven't had to reach for the touch strip and interrupt my flow.

Swipe up on the trackpad and just pick your window. Better than alt-tabbing all over the place.

I use this all of the time. I love the trackpad workflow. Now—if you are using an external keyboard and don't have the magic trackpad, then it's a larger PITA.

I have bound those commands to keys as well. So in my case I can swap workspaces by using CTRL+<arrow> and get that same view with CTRL+UP (but then still have to switch to mouse to select. I bought the apple trackpad recently because I prefer it that much—being able to do this actions one-handed. That said I'm also testing an ergonomic mouse so I lose some of that again—as I'm sure some of the case is for a lot of people. Hence all these other workarounds.

I use USB overdrive to bind the swipe up motion to one of the extra buttons on my mouse. I'm using a basic wireless ergonomic mouse. I have a magic trackpad but I absolutely hate it compared to a mouse.

I'll check that out—thanks.

That said I love the magic trackpad already. To each their own!

What I typically do is cmd+tab then use the cursor to select the application from the popup.

You can also use the mouse in the cod+tab switcher (if you didn’t know already)

Coming from a rich context switcher from the Linux world, I've found Contexts [0] an absolute requirement for using Mac efficiently, especially in complex window arrangements or workflows that require many open applications or many windows of a specific application.

[0] https://contexts.co/

If you are a keyboard-centric mac user, Contexts is wonderful! For such users, I also recommend checking out ShortCat: https://shortcatapp.com/

The touch bar doesn't give you the ability to touch it without click like a key. It also replaces all the f keys and the escape key.

It is by far the worst thing made when working say on the bus. There is no world in which the touch bar is good in any way. There are zero benefits to it. On two years with this monstrosity I have regretted having it. And now I am seriously considering moving to windows with the new Linux subsystem.

WSL is great and I like my Surface Pro. It's not ready for "real" work yet IMO, but it's improving noticeably every update.

WSL2 is supposed to be a great improvement again.

The Surface hardware is also nice. The only downside is the mediocre touchpad, but I can live with that.



I'm kind of neutral about it but haven't met anyone who said it was good. Seems like people either hate it or don't care about it.

There are a lot of people who like the butterfly keyboard (apart from reliability) but I thought the sentiment on the touch bar was universal.

My experience is that when I use the F-keys I'm almost always using the 'default' action on macOS (i.e. not sending a native F12 for example, I'm adjusting volume), and for those tasks the Touch Bar is a little more useful, because it can do more things intuitively, but, I don't do those things a lot.

So I don't think it's "not good" it's just so far down on the list of how I use a computer that it isn't worth raving on about how great it is.

I did like the IntelliJ integration, to get debug controls, but now that I'm back on a desktop keyboard I don't really miss the Touch Bar. What I miss is Touch ID.

I can imagine a lot of workflows like yours, where the function keys are not very important. However I can’t imagine using a keyboard without Escape key. In my opinion, the touch bar should have been a little bit smaller, and the physical esc key should have stayed. The product linked at the top of this discussion lists the Escape key as one of the main features, I think that’s telling!

I nearly never need Caps Lock, hence I remmapped Esc to Caps Lock. IMO, it is a better position for the Esc key anyway. Top-left is a bit far from everything else anyway. As about Touchbar, I don't find it bad at all, and I'm not neutral either. I do use it, but I think it could be improved both from software and hardware point of view (say, haptic feedback would be nice). Also, I would like to have it on external keyboard too.

Has anyone attempted to copy it? Ie HP or Asus?

I'm a touch typist, like probably many users. What does the touchbar bring to the table for me? I was taught that looking at the keyboard was a failure to type properly. I value tactile feedback when I press a key (especially Esc).

What value does the touchbar offer me?

I've been using this for the last two months on my work machine and really like it. The first week I used this machine the touch bar was an irritating distraction; then I removed everything except esc, sleep, mute, and the brightness/volume sliders. Pock makes the touch bar useful, especially the red dots for notifications.

My Pock settings: refresh every 30s, uncheck "hide control strip" and "hide persistent items" so I can put often-used folders in the dock to see them on the touch bar. Check "hide finder", "hide trash", and "launch at login". (On this last: once or twice an update or wake has left me with the default touch bar and I've had to manually restart Pock.)

My Dock settings: shrink the size down, move it to the left or right, uncheck "minimize windows into application items", check "automatically show and hide the Dock", uncheck "show recent applications in Dock". Unfortunately there is still no way to entirely remove the Dock.

I used to love the mac keyboard. Of any non Apple laptop it was superior... until I tried out a ThinkPad just over a year ago. I honestly don’t think I could own anything other than a ThinkPad from now on for the keyboard alone.

Thinkpad keyboards are good. But they have the messed up arrow keys, but unlike apple where the keys are too big, they mixed them with pagup/pgdn

Keyboards are something you never notice unless they arebad. There's nothing amazung about the ThinkPad keyboard but there's nothing super special about it.

I'm typing this on a ThinkPad USB keyboard connected to a Dell computer. Any types are because Lynx doesn't always scroll over when typing in a textbox.

Unfortunately ThinkPad trackpads aren’t nearly as good as MacBook trackpads.

REAL Thinkpad users will only ever use the little red stick and disable the trackpad (just joking). But it‘s worth a try, takes a couple days to get used to first.

Real Thinkpad user here, yep using that little red stick since 2006, when I got my first one.

Really feels a bit weird on other laptops, although on those that have two finger gestures it is bearable, or I just end up plugging an external mouse.

Thinkpad user here, on Linux, with disabled trackpad. Vim and i3 make it almost useless

Positive side-effect of a disabled trackpad, everyone trying to show you something on your Thinkpad by taking command will quickly stop it once they have no control over the mouse.

They'd also probably stop when they saw you were running i3 and couldn't figure out how to pull up a web browser.

Not joking; I'd like to have a button/key to disable the touchpad that some gaming laptops have.

you mean the nipple?

As always, there's a relevant xkcd https://xkcd.com/243/

MacBook Pro 2013 user here, and the trackpad is a huge reason I'd continue to stay with Apple.

I don't know why other manufacturers can't seem to get it right.

Because it’s surprisingly hard to calibrate and requires a lot of algorithms that handle a ton of edge cases. You have to have serious R&D to get it right.

I switched from Apple to Lenovo and am quite satisfied... expect for the trackpad. It really is a competitive advantage Apple has.

I believe Apple actually holds patents on their trackpad algorithms, forcing everyone else to use worse driver implementations.

I would have agreed with you many years ago, and even tho now there are still a lot of laptops that have bad trackpads... I honestly have 0 issues switching between a MacBook trackpad, and the one on my ThinkPad.

Granted I'm still scared to run Linux on a laptop as I don't believe I will get the same battery life out of it as I do with Windows. So I've never tested the trackpad under Linux. On Windows it's great.

> Granted I'm still scared to run Linux on a laptop as I don't believe I will get the same battery life out of it as I do with Windows.

Using tlp, setting all settings in Powertop and undervolting with intel-undervolt will get you some seriously crazy battery life. Battery life on my X250 is better under Linux than it is in Windows with these changes.

I get 5 hours battery life on my dual Xeon laptop under Linux.

I will say, I miss 2016-era power controls for Linux. Being able to set a max MHz allowed me to truly control my power and battery usage. Any idea why Linux changed that functionality in future power governers?

I believe Bill Harding is working on improving Linux trackpad drivers (or trying to find people who can)


The difference between ThinkPad’s (or any other respectable brand of laptop) touchpad and the MacBook touchpad is nearly equivalent. Whereas the difference between the MacBook keyboard and - honestly - most other respectable brand of laptop’s keyboard is quite significant.

Given most people on here will spend a significant amount of more time typing than they do using the touchpad (whether that be writing reports / scrum tickets or just programming) it should be a no brainier that keyboard ergonomics are far more important than the quality of the touchpad. And that’s without taking into account my first point that MacBooks aren’t even that much better than the competition in terms of the touchpad.

From a personal perspective, I’ve used a lot of engineering laptops over the years and honestly the latest generations of MacBook Pro’s are amongst the worst I’ve used. Which is a great shame because I do honestly like some of the value that OSX adds. However OSX isn’t enough to tip the balance when Linux is actually pretty damn good on the desktop these days.

Thinkpad users don't use trackpads. The second biggest draw besides the keyboard might be the Trackpoint. It's glorious! It's nothing like the same little nipple you might have tried on HP or Dell laptops of past. The Thinkpad Trackpoint is far superior.

you should try the old ThinkPad keyboards, like the X201. So nice.

For the MacBook, if they had a version with a physical escape key, I'd be fine. Just make it a little shorter. It will be okay. I promise.

I remapped capslock to esc and never looked back. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to it that I remap “normal” keyboards too. I use esc way more often than I’d ever use capslock, so having it at the pinky is perfect.

Yup, some years ago I used vim a lot on macOS and did the same. This was sooo much more practical than the escape key in the upper left.

> I use esc way more often than I’d ever use capslock, so having it at the pinky is perfect.

I think every 2 years I have a proper use case for it ;)

I remap capslock to "Super" (the logo key), which makes it much easier to invoke keyboard shortcuts like Super-L (lock screen), Super-left/right/up/down (left-maximize, right-maximize, full-maximize, restore), and Super-F (fullscreen).

I remapped that way, and had to go back.

I work on a lot of different computers in a week, and some of them aren't mine, so it's more useful for me to stick to the default map instead of getting things wrong on half of the machines.

This thread reminds me of using Dvorak back in 1999. Sure it may be better, it may even be faster.. but what happens in 20 years when I’m the only sucker using that layout? Take my own keyboard everywhere?

Even though I have a 2017 MBP 13" with the Escape key, I still use Ctrl-[ to change modes in Vim. I'm not a fan of the Touch Bar, but it probably wouldn't interfere with my Vim workflow.

Do you find changing modes with ctrl-[ superior to changing modes with caps lock key that has been remapped to Escape?

I do, but not because there's anything wrong with that remapping. It's that I already have Caps Lock mapped to Ctrl/Command, as in UNIX or Sun workstation keyboard style. So, when I press `Ctrl-[` only my right pinky leaves the home row, and it's hardly much of a move, since the `[` key is above and to the right of `;`.

Holy Crap! Thank you, I never use capslock and now I never will! Still vote to add a physical key in the top left.... please....

Hmmmm I appear to have deleted my comment by mistake.

Unsure which was the first I ever tried, ~20 years ago I used my uncle's ThinkPad but I don't recall the model.

I tried someone elses ThinkPad and was like "Wow this is nice to type on" so while in Taiwan I went to the Lenovo store and looked at the laptops. Ended up buying a ThinkPad X1 Extreme and I love it. Best laptop I've owned.

The Lenovo Legion series tho, the keyboard isn't as good as the ThinkPad.

I still have a T420 for the keyboard and have no plans of leaving it.

Yeah the keyboard is nice, but the full-click trackpad is a rackety piece of crap.

Have to use a mouse on mine as the trackpad click switch has so much travel that I’ve accidentally moved the pointer off the thing I wanted to click on by the time it reaches the bottom. Tried using tap to click and fiddling with the settings, but on Linux it’s temperamental.

The track-pad is small enough for me not to be a problem typing (it is small, compared to Macs especially), and have never used the nipple for anything serious, and have a mouse. But the keyboard.. simply the best.

I’m part of a really strange minority, I guess, but I absolutely love the butterfly keyboard. Though I’m not happy about the looming reliability problems

I also really like the butterfly keyboard but Apple has to invest in improving its reliability.

I run a 2017 MBP with the second butterfly iteration and stories online have me worried that any day will be the last day of my keyboard.

So far it works very well and when I went back to my 2012 MBP to find some old files, I noticed I vastly prefer the new keyboard.

TouchBar however is the most useless thing ever. I absolutely never ever use it unless I need a FN key. I mostly forget its there...

You can now set Fn keys to always show. Now, as in since one or two MacOS versions ago. More so, you can actually set Fn to show _only_ for certain apps. For instance, when I remote desktop to a Windows machine, I usually use Visual Studio, and Fn keys are a must. Therefore, I set it up to always show Fn keys when Remote Desktop has focus.

I am honestly surprised how much people complain without actually digging a bit. This is not aimed at you OP, don't take it personally. :)

Edit: granted, Apple doesn't do much to let us know about such improvements. Maybe it's in some release notes, but I found out about this feature while playing with the settings.

I love the keyboard also and really hope they can fix the reliability issues but retain the feel. The old one feels really mushy to me now.

I'd recommend BetterTouchTool and things like finger swipes for volume up/down and brightness up/down and showing things like Spotify. Originally started with Vas3k preset but eventually replaced things with the built in widgets and gestures

Another small but nice utility is Haptic Touch Bar. It uses the click feedback mechanism in your trackpad to make the computer tap slightly when you hit the Touch Bar.

Makes it feel a bit more tactile and I'm surprised Apple didn't build some sort of feedback like that in by default.

Using the trackpad mechanism is a little cheesy, but it could have its own haptic hardware.

My favorite BTT mapping: 3 finger click (touchpad and/or magic mouse) generates a middle click event.

I have no idea how people open and close browser tabs without this, since browsers have great middle click response but Apple pointing devices don't natively generate such clicks.

I also love BTT, but opening/closing tabs is much faster using ⌘-T and ⌘-W.

I meant opening a link, not a blank tab. And closing any tab, not necessarily the focused tab.

I should have specified, but I assumed I implied it as this is what the existing browser middle click support achieves.

Also using cmd+L to enter the address bar and then ALT + Return to open the selected address in a new tab

I think command+t and command+w are usually my go to methods. I don't have to move my hands from my keyboard.

Command clicking a link will also open it in a new tab.

I just realised I've been using this with BTT for months now, it's so natural to me that I just assumed that it was built in. Just checked and saw that it's the only touchpad addition I have in BTT.

It's SO convenient.

I have two similar mappings, four finger tap is a middle click (or cmd+click) and four finger click is cmd+shift+click.

That way if I want to open a link in a new tab I can choose between opening it behind the current tab or in front.

BetterTouchTool is well worth the money.

Recommended setup (mine):

One giant button in the left corner that says "escape escape escape escape escape" (what it does should be obvious), and one tiny button in the right corner that brings back the normal touch bar. (And nothing else.)

Also, make those buttons white text on black. At least it's an OLED display, so parts of it you want "off" are actually dark.

Even just the lack of a bunch of distracting flashes as it changes when you switch apps is a relief.

Pair it with GoldenChaos[0] and you got yourself a pretty usable touchbar.

[0] https://community.folivora.ai/t/goldenchaos-btt-a-complete-t...

Notice how all these have an esc key.

That should have been a hardware key!

A message from the Vim gang.

As a member of the Vim gang, I have to say that using caps-lock is better anyway and MacOS has a built-in setting for it now, so go and fix that right away.

That said, I had a MBP with touch bar for half a year and even though I was quite excited when they announced it, I hated it. I will not buy another laptop with that thing on it.

As a member of the multilingual/multi-keyboard layout gang, Caps Lock is also the default button used to switch keyboard layouts.

I've been using caps lock as my control key for too long to make this leap. :-(

Karabiner Elements has this template where caps lock can behave as an esc key if you tap it, and a ctrl key if you hold it down.

Thanks! That sounds exactly like what I need, and I'm already using Karabiner.

You can also use it for both ctrl and esc with a little help by Hammerspoon (http://hammerspoon.org), e.g. I've been using this for the past year and it works great https://github.com/jasonrudolph/keyboard#a-more-useful-caps-...

Ctrl-[ homie. But I hear you.

If you have the UK keyboard on your Mac it has the wonderfully useless §± key top left next to the 1. Perfect for remapping to esc!

inoremap jj <Esc>

> inoremap jj <Esc>

That takes care of returning from insert mode to normal mode. What do you do for returning from other modes (operator pending mode, visual mode, etc.) to normal mode? I don't think it is possible to reliably reproduce all of the <Escape> in all the modes with remaps.

I didn't know "operator pending mode" was a thing, so I definitely don't use Esc to leave it.

For visual mode, apparently I just press v again. (I had to try it and see if I was subconsciously triggering Esc).

I had already weened myself off the Esc key, so the touchbar isn't that big a deal for me (though, i dont really ever use it). The terrible keyboard reliability is much worse, ugh.

Thanks for the reply.I have a follow up question about the "operator pending mode". I understand you didn't know it was a thing. But say, you press 'd' in normal mode because you want to delete a line and then you change your mind, what do you do it cancel the pressed 'd'?

I know I just rephrased the "operator pending mode" in a more elaborate manner but I am curious how you handle this case? Do you press Esc? Or do you go ahead with the delete anyway and then press 'u' to undo the delete? Or do you have some other technique to cancel the delete operator pending?

I think operator-pending is much less of a big deal when you can just finish the command and then hit "u" to undo it.

As for visual mode... I just noticed something odd: in Neovim, <Esc> doesn't drop me back into Normal mode from Visual or Block-visual; I have to hit "v" again. The behavior doesn't happen in Vim itself (that is, <Esc> works as expected.) I wonder why that is.

Either way, I'd hazard to say that exiting Insert mode is by far the most common use case for <Esc>... to the point where I really wouldn't even call it "escaping" in the sense of "bailing out of a mode early".

For everything else, I'd just remap Escape to Caps Lock at the system level and call it a day. But that's just me, and even though I think the Touch Bar is nifty, I definitely get where some folks' annoyance is coming from.

jk is better (TM) because it is a noop when already in normal mode :)

Also, pressing two different keys is faster than pressing the same key twice

Is it? djk in normal mode would delete the current line and move the cursor one line up!

d<Escape> on the other hand would cancel the operator-pending mode for delete and do nothing.

Is this why you didn't write "jk" at the end?

Remap CapsLock instead.

I did, it's my ctrl like anyone else that doesn't hate their pinky.

The next level is using Karabiner-Elements to map <caps> to <ctrl> when held and <esc> when tapped.

I usually do that but it stopped working for me on new macbook :/

Thanks! I'll check it out.

It works flawlessly :D

This is what I have :) also right command + esdf for arrow keys

I do this. But then I find that whenever I have to help someone out at work in their Macbook, I have to go through the hassle of first mapping Caps Lock to Escape on their Mac, do the work, then remember to unmap it again after the helping session is over. Is there any good way to automate this workflow for helping other people on others' Mac?

I was skeptical then I installed it and I can't believe MacOS doesn't ship with this! It's actually making the bar useful.

One bug I noticed is you can get in a <esc> <esc> situation, with twice the button. But since you miss <esc> button all the time, why not having it twice; or more?

This makes sense

There's extra vertical space on the lower half of a MacBook, and the dock wastes vertical space on the screen

I normally put the dock on the side, but putting it above the keyboard works too

Now if only the damn keyboard had a proper escape key. Who signed off on that. Honestly.

It's just mislabeled as Caps Lock and has bad default behavior. A quick visit to Preferences can sort you out.

I will say, Apple at least did a good job making the remap (Caps to Esc) a really easy preferences change.

This remapping is the #1 thing that made using Vim easier. Not to mention escaping out of dialogs in macOS is much easier than lifting my hands off my keyboard.

Did this about a month ago, definitely worth it

I kind of like the Touch Bar.

It's hackable, programmable, and versatile. I have never used F keys and making Caps Lock the new Escape key works better for me anyway since I have small hands.

How can you not like having Lemmings in your Touch Bar? [0]

I have no problems with the keyboard (my favorite is actually the PowerBook Pro Aluminum Keyboard), but it being basically the only moving part and arguably gets the most use of any component on the computer, it would be nice if it was user replaceable (the battery too, but ...). I'd like to always have a spare around or the ability to take it out and every once in a while get any dirt or whatever can get in under the keys out.

[0] https://github.com/erikolsson/Touch-Bar-Lemmings

This is neat. However, I use the dock for dragging/dropping so it doesn't help me.

I detest the TouchBar and think it's one of the worst ideas to come out of Apple in a long time. I'm waiting for them to end this joke.

The return to PCIe convinced me Apple gets some response to feedback.

I have a mbp 13" 2018 and as most. The touchbar is the most unused feature (vs sdcard slot they've ditched for example).

However since the conversation here is about this app. It's the best dock on touchbar I've seen so far and it's open source. So it might not be that hard allowing some drag and drop.

With that said, I've installed pock this morning but with auto-hidden dock it feels that I don't waste so much screen real estate for the dock.

The main problem of the touchbar and any screen with touch is the fact you must engage your sight to it. Physical "static" devices avoids that (keyboard...) So the touchbar at least for me, breaks productivity vs engaging to it.

It's also quite an expensive joke that consumers pay for. Hundreds of dollars equivalent extra in price for this "feature."

The non-touchbar version has 2 fewer USB-C ports inexplicably. So they're paying for the touchbar and 2 extra ports, all in all.

I use MTMR[1], My TouchBar My Rules. Great JSON-based customization. Built in Dock applet included (a great pomodoro applet as well, my fav).

The sample presets are kind of cluttered, but removing some of the items and making others was ultra simple. If you know AppleScript you can pretty much any button.

[1] https://github.com/Toxblh/MTMR/

Aw man, this looks even cooler! I fear that the momentum has swayed to Pock though.

If you want to have Esc/Fn keys back on models with touch bar, buy one of those keyboard covers for non-touchbar 13" model, glue some little/low pieces of gum under Esc/Fn keys on the cover and then just place over the keyboard/touch bar. You'll have some tactile feedback and a lower chance of accidentally executing some function you didn't need. You can also glue gorilla glass strip on top of touch bar to reduce sensitivity/number of unwanted touches.

Frankly, I am not sure why there is no "glueable" 3rd party Esc/Fn rubber membrane over touch bar with USB-C output produced by anyone to address this major design flaw for high-performance Apple devices...

i would recommend to take a look at https://goldenchaos.net/goldenchaos-btt.html too.

it has the list of open apps and more (and it's highly configurable). it's not exactly the dock, though, but i find it more useful.

it needs better touch tool (https://folivora.ai), but that's quite cheap for how much it offers.

I was hoping someone would recommend Better Touch Tool. It introduces a ton of customization and functionality to the Touch Bar, including 'live' buttons that I use to show things like outside temperature and (until it got depressing) current Bitcoin price.

Great idea.

A related tool I highly, highly recommend is BetterTouchTool - you can completely customize your Touch Bar to show and do almost anything you want it to do, based on the app context you're in. You can do what this does but 100 other things as well.

It's made the Touch Bar actually worth it for me.

This is pretty great. Only I wish it only showed when I clicked on the desktop (Since Finder does nothing else with the TouchBar) or swipe up from the bottom. Parallels actually does this same thing (minus swiping) for the task bar in Windows guests but switches to app specific bars when you open Office or a browser. I'm in the camp that finds the TouchBar really awesome. Never used function keys (except F5) but I use the TouchBar all the time in IntelliJ, iTunes, Word/Excel and it's great in PowerPoint when scrolling to just the slide you want.

I also love the clicky feel of the keyboard so maybe I'm just special...

Interesting idea, but I've found that making my own custom static touchbar has been the most useful way to use this hardware. Followed this article: http://vas3k.com/blog/touchbar/

I personally have a mix of app launchers, brightness/volume controls and a play/pause button.

Late to the party, but I just randomly realized today that copy & paste syncs across iOS and my iMac. Was surprisingly convenient. Apparently it’s been around since Sierra, but my settings are now in sync enough to just work.

Last summer we bought 3 Mac minis for some summer interns to use (biocurators) and I used the same apple account for each of them. We had a very confusing standup meeting the next day trying to figure out why seemingly random scientific text was continually replacing what had been in their clipboards. It turns out copying syncs across all devices, not just iOS <-> Mac.

Wait how the hell do you do that??


It worked for me today for the first time (that I realized). I copied a link from twitter on an iPhone, then pasted on an iMac.

Ahhh I have handoff disabled (I cant stand getting phone calls on my laptop)

I believe you can turn this off from your phone: Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices

I got around it by having do not disturb on 24 hours.

You also can’t disable this without disabling handoff entirely.

Handover is brilliant. Once you get used to it, you really can't go back to the old ways.

Linux/Android user's can have the same functionality via KDE Connect. It has other features (like using your phone as a trackpad).

I dont know, I use Rocket which seems to be similar to Pock but after almost a year with it I havent actually made use of it once.

edit: IMHO the problem is the dock itself. it just sucks. even windows 10 taskbar is way better

This makes so much sense! The location of the Touch Bar UI is conceptually unfriendly. We're accustomed to a touch pad closest to us but now we have two touch interfaces separated by a huge keyboard-gulf. Moving the dock to the Touch Bar makes sense for the Touch Bar because i. it's a very small shift in location, and ii. dock icons are more direct action buttons compared to more abstract pointing and gestures we can to with the touch pad.

Would be more useful if there was a way to reach the touch bar with the mouse. That way, the Dock can completely move to the touch bar permanently.

Am I able to see both the app icons and the control keys at the same time like the screenshot (https://pock.dev/assets/img/preview/pock_preview.png) shows?

I was wondering the same thing - so far i can only get control keys or the app icons

In a similar vein, I’ve been using TouchBarEmojis[0] which turns the TouchBar into a most frequently used emoji selector and really enjoy it now.

[0] https://github.com/gabriellorin/touch-bar-emojis

can’t understand the love for this here. the touch bar is not a HUD (heads up display). you still have to context switch and you can’t touch type the app you want. it might be better than the default touch bar it’s not better and adds no value over the auto hiding dock.

I have a Windows/gnome history. So I still miss switching between windows, not apps, easily. Could this deliver that too? Pretty please.

As I am currently on my mobile, I am trying to remember the keyboard combination. It's stored in muscle memory, but I believe it is <ctrl> <tab>. But it might be <alt> <tab>.

As said, not sure which of the two it is.

Check out this app. I believe it is the utility you're after...


I use https://bahoom.com/hyperswitch to see the windows

It's <Command> + the key that's to the right of the shift key. On the German Layout that's where angle brackets are.

Not sure if this is what you are after but you can use `cmd` + `~` to switch between windows of the same app.

Thanks for this. I never use the touchbar on my macbook. It's been years and I only use it for esc and sometimes the volume.

Suggestions: an option to only show open/active applications.

How do you run this after cloning?

You would have to build the project in Xcode. It might be easier to download the prebuilt binary on the website.

I see the download button now, site wasn't loading fully earlier. Thanks!

omg! and no one, even apple, thought about it before!

I'll plug another touch bar tool here.

Know how your $3,000 MacBook Pro keyboard keeps breaking? Know what's not broken and close to your keyboard? The touch bar. So I built a keyboard into the touchbar: https://github.com/RubenSandwich/TouchBarKeyboard. Problem solved.

But seriously, OP's tool has way more utility then mine.

I'll plug another one: https://www.haptictouchbar.com/

This uses the trackpad haptic engine to (poorly) emulate a key click when pressing touchbar items.

I'm unsure how they overlooked putting a haptic engine in the touchbar itself but it feels way too late to attempt to salvage now. They need a new keyboard that people will fall in love with.

Bringing back something that essentially matches the 2015 keyboard's characteristics would go a long way with most users, in my opinion.

"But then how will they make it thinner!?"

This is stupid... I love it.

Isn't this usecase patented by Apple?

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