MacBook Pro Touch Bar with Windows 10

Hardware & Accessories

Hello. I just had a couple of quick questions about how the new touch bar and number keys work in Windows when using Bootcamp.

Has anyone used Windows via Bootcamp with the new touch bar Mac?
I'm guessing you have to do some guessing to find the right F key because there's no tactile indication.

In MacOS, you can apparently hold down the FN key and use the physical numbers row as an alternative to the traditional function keys. Does this work when using Windows? Can I, for instance, press FN + ALT + 4 to do an ALT + F4 when in Bootcamp? I hope Bootcamp Assistant has implemented this.

I'm just curious how well things work in Windows since most screen readers use the function keys a lot. Or am I going to want to use an external keyboard?




Submitted by Lukas on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer as I'll be getting mine only in a month or two if nothing goes wrong, but since I would love to know the answer as well and I would also like to ask another important question without having to subscribe to several different related topics, I hope noone minds if I post my question here as well, alongside the original one.

It's probably a stupid newbie question as this is going to be my very first Mac ever, but do the 15 inch Macbooks Pro have the classical numeric keypad next to the arrow keys, like many Windows laptops of this size do? I know the Airs don't have this and it's a pretty important part of the keyboard for my daily typing and programing needs, not to mention for NVDA on Windows. :-)


Submitted by Tree on Thursday, December 22, 2016

I don't have an answer to your question, since I decided to get the 2016 mac book pro with function keys, but I hope my following thoughts might help. I decided to avoid the touch bar, in part because of the exact concerns you are expressing. We do know that there are drivers that offer function keys on the touch bar for sighted people in windows. However, I'm not sure it would even be possible for the function keys to be accessible to us in windows. I believe they will be pressed as soon as you touch the bar, without you knowing if you are pressing the right key or not. I believe that windows screen readers would have to make a special function to make the touch bar work, unless they just saw it as a touch screen, which I don't think will be the case. I also don't think NVDA or Jaws will bother to make their softwhere work with the touch bar, since the feature will only effect a tiny portion of users. I believe your only real hope would be some extencive key remapping. That might be ok, I for one always re map my keys, for example I actuilly have a custom system key stroke set up so I can close apps with control q, instead of alt f for, just because I don't like that key stroke. I don't think any key remapping to deal with not having function keys would be ideal, so take all of this into consideration before getting the touch bar.

As far as the keyboard on the fifteen inch, it does not have a number pad

Submitted by Lukas on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thanks, this is definitely good to know. So, do no Macbooks at all have the numpad, or just the current Macbooks Pro? It's not a deal breaker for me or anything, I mean, I still need to get a new computer desperately and I still want to try to move over to Mac OS, or at least use it in conjunction with Windows, so I do feel I'm prepared, but having to use an external keyboard or the good old fashioned USB numpad on such an expensive and supposedly modern computer? I don't know. Makes it a tat less appealing to me. :-)


Submitted by Justin on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hi Lukas,
The touch bar replaces the function row of keys on MBP's. To my knowledge , there haven't been MacBooks with a num pad since the 17 inch MBP finally died, thank god! I don't see a reason for a num pad in macOs, everything works fine without it.

Submitted by Chris on Friday, December 23, 2016

I haven't been able to get a single answer out of anyone as of yet. I tried sending a message to Apple's Accessibility email, but got no response. I suppose it's not surprising. Why should Apple support Windows Accessibility? They only care about the Mac OS. BootCamp is simply designed to get Windows running on the machine.

If I had to guess, I'd say this won't work with the bar. BootCamp doesn't allow the use of the trackpad with Windows 8 or 10 touch gestures, so it's probably the same for the touch bar. Still, I don't know. I'm waiting for someone to install Windows on these machines and report back.

Submitted by falcon wings on Friday, December 23, 2016

I believe magcaps review on applevis blogs itself had a section on the mbps without function keys/with touch bars,and windows indeed as someone surmised takes your touch as a keypress which I'd imagine make using windows quite difficult.

Submitted by Tasha on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hi, I have a friend who wants to buy a MacBook pro or MacBook air and bootcamp it. I did a search to figure out if anyone had posted about this on applevis before, so sorry if I missed something, but does the touch bar work okay with Windows 10, or should she avoid these macs? If she should avoid them, which one should she get? I don't want her to get anything too old because it should last her a few years. She does email and Word processing mostly but does work with large pdfs.

Submitted by Tree on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Perhaps someone has experience trying to make the touchbar work with windows, but I would strongly advise against getting a touchbar mac. I use bootcamp on my 2016 mac book pro, iI have the model with function keys. I have not heard any one make a strong case for how the touch bar adds to their experience. It sounds like many people avoid using it on the mac, and doing so would be much much harder on windows.

Your friend could look into getting the same mac model I have, but honestly I would not even recommend that, unless she has a specific reason for needing Mac OS. My mac cost twice as much as a windows machine with the exact same specs; trust me on this one, I helped pick out a windows laptop for a famly member a few weeks ago; the model we picked has the same size SSD, eight gigs of ram, the same processor, and was over one thousand dollars less expensive; for what it's worth, that laptop also has a touch screen that can be detached and used as a stand alone tablet.

Apart from any issues the touch bar might give you, I think your windows experience on a mac has one or two extra drawbacks. I have almost nothing on the mac partition of my drive, but that side still takes up fifty gigs, which is the smallest size bootcamp assistant allowed me to allocate. That's quite a chunk for a small SSD drive, I would gladly wipe all traces of mac OS from the computer if I could. Also, I have used bootcamp on three different macs and experienced sound card issues on each of them. I don't know exactly why I have had these issues, and perhaps I am just unlucky, but I do believe Apple's hardware is second rate at this point.

Of course, if your friend really wants a mac, then please ignore the rants of a burned former apple fan boy. Perhaps she could look into the tiny mac book, if she does not need much power.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hi, Like I said, I would steer completely away from windows on the mac side all-together. If she wants a mac, then good, but personally if she doesn't wish to dig her heels into MacOs, then stick with a windows machine. She could get a great windows machine for $500 or so, whereas the mac machines are like around $1000+. Like I said, if she wants to try something else, then get a mac to play around with, but if she's fine with windows, then stick with a windows machine.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Thursday, September 28, 2017

This is a very good question. I don't think Apple, nor screen reader developers have this in their best interests either. As it's only a small portion, but I think that they should also be considerate of the matter. Because there are some things Apple and Macs do better, and same for Windows. There are things that Windows Does better. This is part of the reason I ordered myself a 2015 Mac Book Pro. I think that the other issue with Windows is if you have a Mac running a duelcore processor. yOu may run into trouble trying to run a screen reader on top of Windows. I have a Lenovo machine and it has a core processor. Window Eye brings it to its knees, and I try NVDA as it's likely a different programming language and possibly lighter. It still has loads of lag. Crazy thing is The computer itself is fine, it's clean and there are no viruses, or malware or any of that nasty software on there. So to the person who asked about getting a different machine aside from a Mac if windows Does not work out too well on Bootcamp with touch BAr. My best advice is to look for a computer with a Quadcore or better.

Submitted by Anthony on Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hello there just wanted to give my point on this the Touch Bar will not work windows at all on the Mac you can probably use the number bro for you function keys what the touch her will not work with windows I seen this on a regular YouTube video but I could’ve missed understood it hope this is understandable and helpful Somewhat

Hi Anthony , the video you saw, was it from a blind/screen reader user perspective? I'm only asking because I know that the touch bar works for sighted people using windows. I'm still pretty sure that it would not work for blind people, and it would offer a terrible experience, it is interesting that this is an open question though a year into the touch bar being a thing.

Submitted by Tasha on Saturday, February 17, 2018

I decided to go with a macbook air with an i7 processor, but am still curious to hear more about the macbook pro with touch bar running windows 10.How do you find the escape key using jaws? do you have to swipe a lot, and does jaws read what's on the touchbar?

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

: don't know about bootcamp, but if you use vmware fusion and run windows from there you will be fine even with the touch bar. just keep vo on to know what key your touching on the touchbar

Submitted by Ahmed on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

From personal experience windows10 under boot camp using Jaws and narrator as my screen readers surprisingly both screen readers read the F keys on the Touch Bar.

Submitted by Ahmed on Monday, October 12, 2020

In reply to by Igna Triay

Hello, as far as BOOTCAMP goes I'm able to boot between both MacOS10 andWindows10 successfully on a daily basis. Since a lot of people have ben asking about the touch bar and weather if any Windows SCREENREADERS would be able to read the function keys. However I know from experience that surprisingly after I've installed Windows10 I had the same doubts at first I kept on repeating inside my head that none of the windows SCREENREADERS would be able to adapt to the TOUCHBAR. I turned out to be wrong and I'm glad I was proven wrong because after all I tried out the TOUCHBAR using Narrator on WINDOWS10 I held down the function key than explored the touch Bar only to find out that both Jaws and Narrator saw the touch Bar as just a touch Screen both SCREENREADERS read the function keys as I wasn't expecting at first but as I kept exploring both SCREENREADERS read the keys in the case of both Narrator and Jaws as soon as I touched the touch bar both SCREENREADERS started to speak out what tkeys I was pressing their maybe a little swiping involved but both SCREENREADERS can handle it. That's my experience with using Windows10 under BOOTCAMP and a 2018 MacBook Pro with the touch bar.