OK, of all the problems in the world right now -- which includes the coronavirus pandemic -- having the Touch Bar stop working on my almost brand-new 16 inch MacBook Pro ranks fairly low.
But it's still irritating.
That black strip at the top of my keyboard is where the Touch Bar is supposed to light up. offering all kinds of nifty shortcuts, along with basic controls like changing the volume and brightness.
For three years the Touch Bar on my 13 inch MacBook Pro that I bought in 2016 worked perfectly. However, the keyboard had the dreaded problem where you press a key and nothing happens. In my case, the space bar had the problem, which seems to be the worst possible key to go screwy.
So one reason I bought the 16 inch MacBook Pro when it came out last year was to get the old style "scissors" keyboard. Little did I know that I was trading one irritating problem for another.
The Touch Bar worked fine at first. But then it started to become non-responsive. Naturally I Googled this issue and found that for quite a few years people have been complaining about the Touch Bar not working. If I restarted my MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar would come back to life.
However, almost every day I'd have to do that. So I decided to phone Apple support.
The first time I called I was told that I needed to reinstall the operating system. I told the support person there was no way I wanted to do that. I had an almost brand new computer. I'd installed every update to MacOS Catalina. I hadn't modified the operating system in any strange way. And like I said, my old MacBook Pro's Touch Bar worked fine for three years under another operating system.
So for a few weeks I keep on restarting my computer every day.
Eventually that got old, so I phoned Apple support again last week. This time the person I talked with said that she needed to contact a supervisor. After being put on hold for a while, she led me through two approaches to resetting Systems Management stuff, one of which is described in this web page about the problem.
That took some finger dexterity, but I managed it. In fact, I managed it twice, since it didn't work the first time, and it didn't work the second time. At least, not for long.
So at the moment I'm changing the volume via the little sound icon at the top of my MacBook Pro's screen. The fingerprint sensor works when I need it, like when 1Password has to open, so I haven't suffered much from not having a functional Touch Bar. And I can always restart my computer and get it back temporarily.
At some point I'll phone Apple support again, assuming the coronavirus doesn't do me in first (I'm 71, so at high risk). It just seems crazy that there isn't some simple keyboard command to restart the Touch Bar when it stops working, especially since this seems to be a longstanding problem for many users of Apple computers.
Apple used to make computers that were virtually trouble free.
Now that iPhones and iPads are Apple's main interests, I've gotten the clear impression that the MacBook Pro is an afterthought by comparison. Things just don't seem to work as smoothly on my MacBook Pro as I've been used to during the many years I've used various models of the MacBook Pro -- which are still ubiquitous in coffee shops.