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Macbook Pro touch bar not working: Quick Fix 

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  • 6 min read

The Touch Bar is a feature on certain Macbook models that replaces the traditional function keys with a dynamic, touchscreen display. It is a thin strip of glass that sits above the keyboard and provides a range of controls and shortcuts depending on the app you are using.

But sometimes, people have reported issues with the Touch Bar which can be frustrating. Fortunately, the issue can be resolved in minutes and it fixing it doesn’t require much technical knowledge. In this article, we’ll explore how to fix the Macbook Pro touch bar not working issue. But before moving on to the fixes, let us first understand the possible causes of why the MacBook Pro touch bat isn’t working.

Macbook Pro touch bar not working: Possible causes

Here are some of the possible reasons why your Macbook Pro touch bar is not working:

Software issues

Sometimes, software glitches can cause the touch bar to malfunction. This could be due to a glitch in the operating system or a problem with the app you are currently using.

Outdated operating system

If the operating system is outdated, it could cause issues with the touch bar. Therefore, it is important to keep the OS updated.

Hardware problems

If the touch bar has been damaged or there is some other hardware issue with the device, it may cause the touch bar to not function properly.

Battery issues

If your MacBook Pro’s battery is running low, it can sometimes cause issues with the touch bar. It is because the touch bar draws power from the battery.

Malfunctioning sensors

The touch bar contains several sensors that detect touch and input. If the sensors malfunction, the touch bar may not work.

Driver issues

The driver that controls the touch bar may not have been installed correctly which can cause issues with the performance.

Incompatible software

Some outdated or old software may not support the touch bar functionality and can affect its functioning.

System Management Controller (SMC) issues

The SMC is responsible for controlling many of the hardware functions on your Macbook Pro, including the touch bar. If there is an issue with the SMC, it could cause problems with the touch bar.

Also read: Screenshot on Mac not working: Quick Fix

Macbook Pro touch bar not working: Possible fixes

Now that we have understood the possible causes for the Macbook Pro touch bar not working, it is time for us to head for the quick fixes. Here are some of the troubleshooting tips that we have compiled to help you resolve the issue.

Restart your Mac

Sometimes, a simple restart is an easiest and quickest way to fix a minor error such as this one. To restart your Macbook, click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, select Restart and then click Restart again in the pop-up window.

Update macOS

If you have not updated the operating system in a while, then it could lead to the touch bar not working and other issues with your device. So, you should quickly perform a software update.

Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, select System Preferences and then click on Software Update. If any updates are available, click on Update now.


Resetting your Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) or Parameter RAM (PRAM) can help fix the issues with the hardware and settings. To reset NVRAM/PRAM, shut down your Mac, then press and hold the Command option + P +R keys simultaneously while you turn on the Mac. Keep holding the keys until you hear the startup sound twice.

Refresh the touch bar

You should refresh the touch bar to wipe out the touch bar cache and resources. Here are the steps to do so:

  • Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities.
  • Find a process named as TouchBarSever or TouchBarAgent.
  • Select the process and press the x icon to force quit it.
  • Click Force Quit to finally close the process.

Run Apple Diagnostics

Running Apple Diagnostics can help identify any hardware issues that may be causing the touch bar to malfunction. To run Apple Diagnostics, first, turn off the Mac and then press and hold the D key as you turn it back on. After that, follow the on-screen instructions to run the diagnostics.

Reset your Mac’s SMC

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) can also help in fixing the touch bar not working issue. The method for resetting the SMC depends on the specific model of your Macbook. You can find instructions for resetting the SMC for your specific model on Apple’s website.

Refresh the Control Strip

The Control Strip is the right side of the touch bar where there are controls to adjust the brightness and volume. Here’s how to refresh the control strip on Mac:

  • Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  • Here, type the following command – killall ControlStrip

Disconnect external devices

Sometimes, external devices like USB drives or external hard drives can interfere with the touch bar’s performance. Disconnect any external devices you have connected to your Macbook Pro and see if it solves the issue.

Check accessibility settings

If the touch bar is not working optimally for a specific app, it’s possible that the app’s accessibility settings need to be adjusted. To do this, go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences and then click on Accessibility. After that, select Display and then check the box next to Use Grayscale. Then, uncheck the box to see if the touch bar is working properly again.

Perform a clean install of macOS

If none of the above solutions works, you may need to perform a clean install of macOS. Before doing this, make sure that all your important data is secured safely on the cloud or another device.

Also read: iPhone wireless charging not working: Quick Fix

Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Here are some FAQs related to the issue:

Can the Touch Bar be replaced?

Yes, the Touch Bar can be replaced. If it’s physically damaged or not working properly, you may need to take it to an authorized repair centre.

Why won’t my Touch Bar respond to touch?

There could be a variety of reasons why your Touch Bar isn’t responding to touch, including software issues, settings changes, or hardware damage.

Can a software update fix Touch Bar issues?

Yes, updating your software can often solve issues with the Touch Bar. Be sure to check for software updates regularly.

Also read: Esc key not working on Mac: Quick Fix

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: