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How to record the touch bar on macOS

Apple has native screenshot tools on both iOS and macOS. As of 2017, it also added native a screencast tool to iOS. A screencast tool was already present on macOS though the company was thoughtful enough to also include a screenshot option for the touch bar. That said, the screenshot feature for the touch bar is just that; it takes still images of the input panel. If you want to record the touch bar, you’re going to have to get creative.

To be clear, you cannot record the touch bar. You can take screenshots but to record it, you’re going to have to make do with a hack. You will need to run a touch bar simulator. This will put a virtual touch bar on your screen that you can then record with the default screencast utility on macOS.

Record touch bar

It’s really easy to get a virtual touch bar on a Mac. It’s virtual so it doesn’t matter what year your MacBook is though you must be running macOS 12.2 or later. There’s an app called Touch Bar Simulator that does the job. Install and launch it and set up the touch bar for recording.

Once you’re ready to record, open Launchpad and look for the Screenshot utility under the ‘Others’ folder. Open it, and select the record option. Start the recording.

The touch bar will show the record controls along the left side and that isn’t something that you can avoid. The recording will include all activity on the touch bar. When you’re done, click the Stop button to end the recording.

The virtual touch bar’s title does indicate that it is a touch bar simulator but you will find that it replicates the real hardware perfectly. Any app that you might install for modifying the touch bar runs on this virtual touch bar without any problems.

If your MacBook does not have a touch bar, it’s preferences will not be present in the System Preferences app however, when you run this simulator, the options are duly added to the System Preferences app. There may be some niche areas where this virtual version doesn’t match the actual hardware but in most cases, it’s going to replicate it without any problems.

The screencast that you record will be high quality and all changes i.e., buttons etc., that happen on the touch bar will be recorded. If you need to create an instructional video for using the touch bar, or you need to demonstrate how an app works, this is as good a method as any to do so.

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