I have a very embarrassing admission to make: after 33 years of being a Mac user, I was completely stumped when I recently tried to force quit and restart my 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Fortunately, I was able to figure it out, so I thought I’d pass along this tip to readers of the Rocket Yard who might also run into this situation.
Update: March 2, 2021 – This tip also applies to 2018, 2019, 2020 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 MacBook Air With Touch ID models.
This all happened while I was upgrading the MacBook Pro to macOS 10.13 High Sierra beta 8. During the installation process, my MacBook Pro restarted several times, and at one point, I was asked to log in. I did so and then followed the prompt to log into iCloud. So far, so good.
The next time I looked at the MacBook Pro screen, it was black except for a progress bar that didn’t seem to be making any progress. I waited about a half-hour and finally decided it was time to force quit the laptop, reboot, and see if that solved the problem.
On just about every recent Mac I’ve ever owned, there’s a simple method of doing a force restart — just hold down the power button until the machine reboots. On old Macs, the power button was useful for a similar method — shutting off the Mac and then turning it back on. So I started searching for the power button on the MacBook Pro…
Do you see it in the picture above?
I didn’t. And believe it or not, in the months that I had owned the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I had never needed to use a power button. The login screen was always there when I flipped the display up, and the MBP always went to sleep when I flipped the screen back down.
What I didn’t realize is that the Touch ID button at the far right end of the Touch Bar is actually a button – the power button. I had placed my finger on it plenty of times to log in but never actually pushed it. All it takes to force a restart of a frozen MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is to press down on the Touch ID button until the device reboots.
This is one case where I think Apple carried its simplistic design a little bit too far. Would it have been that much of a bother to just put a small power button graphic above the Touch ID button? The only clue that the Touch ID button is also a power button is at the very bottom of this Apple support page in a discussion on Touch Bar accessibility features:
• Originally posted on July 12, 2018