Class

NSTouchBarItem

A UI control shown in the Touch Bar on supported models of MacBook Pro.

Overview

An instance of the NSTouchBarItem class is called an item. It appears to the user on the Touch Bar, typically along with other items, within the (invisible) bounds of the view for an NSTouchBar object, called a bar.

You use an item by adding it or its identifier to one or another of a bar’s arrays, depending on your app’s architecture and on the user customization you want to support. Because of the close interaction between bars and items, be sure you have read the overview for the NSTouchBar class before continuing here to learn about items.

AppKit provides a rich set of subclasses of NSTouchBarItem, each of which is described in the corresponding class reference document:

  • An NSCandidateListTouchBarItem object (a candidate-list item), along with its delegate, provides a list of textual suggestions for the current text view

  • An NSColorPickerTouchBarItem object (a color picker item) provides a system-defined color picker

  • An NSCustomTouchBarItem object (a custom item) contains a responder of your choice, such as a view, a button, or a scrubber (an instance of the NSScrubber class)

  • An NSGroupTouchBarItem object (a group item) provides a bar to contain other items

  • An NSPopoverTouchBarItem object (a popover item) provides a two-state control that, when touched or pressed, expands into its second state, showing the contents of a bar it owns

  • An NSSharingServicePickerTouchBarItem object (a sharing service picker item), along with its delegate, provides a list of objects eligible for sharing

  • An NSSliderTouchBarItem object (a slider item) provides a slider control for choosing a value in a range

The two most commonly-used item classes are NSCustomTouchBarItem and NSPopoverTouchBarItem.

Refer to the following sample code projects which demonstrate how to use NSTouchBarItem and related classes:

See Using Template Images for a list of template images available for use in buttons or in other controls you add to your items.

Custom Items

You typically use a custom item (an instance of the NSCustomTouchBarItem class) to hold a view. For example, to place a button in the Touch Bar, proceed as follows:

  1. Use an NSButton convenience initializer such as init(title:image:target:action:) to create and configure the button.

  2. Set the view property for a custom item to point to the new button.

Popover Items

A popover item (an instance of the NSPopoverTouchBarItem class)—the second commonly-used type—lets you provide a new bar (an NSTouchBar object) when a user taps, or presses-and-holds, on the collapsed representation of the popover item.

In its expanded state, a popover appears as an overlay above other items in the Touch Bar.

To show a bar when a user taps a popover item, specify a bar in the item’s popoverTouchBar property. Enable press-and-hold by specifying a bar in the pressAndHoldTouchBar property. The press-and-hold feature is suitable only for a simple popover, such as one that contains a single segmented control (an instance of the NSSegmentedControl class) or slider (an instance of the NSSliderTouchBarItem class).

The system automatically shows a chevron in the popover item under the following conditions: You specify the same NSTouchBar object for both pressAndHoldTouchBar and popoverTouchBar properties, and you use the default view for the popover item’s collapsedRepresentation property.

If you provide a popover item that contains a scrubber (an NSScrubber instance), you’ll likely want to dismiss both the scrubber and the popover after the user makes their selection in the scrubber. A good approach to achieve this user interaction is to subclass NSPopoverTouchBarItem, employing your instance of the subclass as the scrubber’s delegate. You can then configure the delegate object, within its didFinishInteracting(with:) method, to call the popover’s dismissPopover(_:) method.

If you place a segmented control in a bar for a popover item, take care not to use momentary option of the NSSegmentedControl.SwitchTracking enumeration because doing so interferes with the user’s operation of the control.

Other Common NSTouchBarItem Types

To provide a slider item, always use the NSSliderTouchBarItem class, which employs a standard slider but is optimized for user interaction with the Touch Bar. (That is, do not instead add an NSSlider object directly to a custom item.)

A group item (an instance of the NSGroupTouchBarItem class) is a container that provides a bar, in its groupTouchBar property, with its own array of items. You can enable customization for the items in a group’s contained bar, in the same way you would for items directly within a top-level bar. Using a group item lets you provide different user customization rules for different parts of the Touch Bar, as described in Group Item, Popover Item, and Composed Bar Customization. Using a group item also lets you enable centering of the group within the Touch Bar, as described in “Principal Items.”

A spacing item lets you add custom spacing between items in a bar. Specify a spacing item for a bar by assigning the fixedSpaceSmall, fixedSpaceLarge, or flexibleSpace identifier to an item, and adding that item to the bar’s items array. The system automatically instantiates and configures spacing items based on the identifiers you specify.

NSTouchBarItem Configuration

You must configure each item with a unique identifier, and can optionally assign a visibility priority or tag it as a principal item.

NSTouchBarItem identification. You must provide a unique identifier for each item in the bar, apart from spacing items. Specify an identifier, of type NSTouchBarItem.Identifier (called an item identifier), for each item when you initialize it. The item identifier serves as a persistable weak reference to the item.

For details on specifying item identifiers, see Using NSTouchBarItem Objects and NSTouchBar Customization.

The system uses item identifiers to populate bars and to track and record changes for user customization.

NSTouchBarItem priority for visibility. If the system is showing a bar in the Touch Bar, but horizontal space is constrained and the bar defines more items than will fit, the system hides some of the items. You influence this hide/show behavior by setting a value for the visibilityPriority property of each item.

Lower-visibility-priority items get hidden by the system, as needed, before higher-visibility-priority items do.

To set visibility priority, use the constants in the NSTouchBarItem.Priority enumeration, or assign an integer value. The value 0 indicates “normal” visibility priority. Visibility priority increases with increasing numerical value. The low constant provides a value of -1000; the high constant, a value +1000. You can use integers outside of this range if you need to.

The system hides or shows groups of identical-priority items (defined within a single bar) together. The one exception to this rule is for items whose visibility priority is normal; these items get hidden one-by-one, with the normal-priority item farthest to the right getting hidden first. If horizontal space later increases in the Touch Bar, and hidden, normal-priority items become eligible for display, the system first shows the most recently-hidden of those items.

Principal Items. Within a bar, you can optionally specify an item as having special significance by employing the principalItemIdentifier property. The system attempts to center a principal item within the Touch Bar. If you want a group of items to appear centered in the Touch Bar, designate the group item (of type NSTouchBarItem) as the principal item.

If more than one bar in the responder chain is eligible to be visible in the Touch Bar, and more than one of those has a principal item, the system determines which one to center in the Touch Bar.

NSTouchBarItem Fonts, Images, and Colors

When using a button in a custom item, do not attempt to set the button title’s font. In the Touch Bar, the system specifies fonts for standard controls.

If you need to specify a font, such as for custom drawing, use the systemFont(ofSize:) class method (or related methods) of the NSFont class. Use a font size of 0 to automatically obtain appropriate sizing for the Touch Bar.

If you use an image in a button or other control in the Touch Bar, take care to employ a template image. Template images in the Touch Bar respond automatically to system white-point changes, and automatically react to user interactions. The overview in this document lists the built-in Touch Bar template images.

To use your own image assets, use Retina-resolution images, designated as @2x in your asset catalog and with a maximum height of 30 points (corresponding to 60 pixels).

To set colors on objects within an NSTouchBarItem object, use AppKit named colors and use a bezel color property (available starting in macOS 10.12.1). Named colors appear correctly in the Touch Bar, support appearance vibrancy, and respond to system white-point changes. In a button or a segmented control, employ the bezel color property to ensure appropriate appearance in the Touch Bar.

To set the background color on a button within a custom item, use code like this:

myButton.bezelColor = NSColor.controlColor

To set color on text and glyphs in the Touch Bar, use the following colors from the NSColor class:

The system automatically changes the relative brightness and the white-point of these colors, depending on the ambient light, and depending on other factors such as keyboard backlight level. Always use these colors, or colors that dynamically derive from these colors, for control backgrounds, text, icons, and glyphs in the Touch Bar.

Handling Touch Events in NSTouchBarItem Objects

The easiest way to handle touch events in an item is to use AppKit controls, such as by adding a button, a segmented control, or a scrubber to the item. Standard AppKit controls convey touch events to your specified targets automatically, so use standard controls whenever possible in your app.

If standard controls are insufficient, you can create composite views with a combination of standard controls, custom views, and gesture recognizers that you manually add to those custom views.

If you require the lowest-level of control for touch event processing, you can use the NSTouch class directly. You might go this route, for example, to provide good user feedback in the case of a control placed within a scroll view.Direct use of touch methods allows fine-grained control over interaction. You can, for example, highlight a control immediately upon a user touching it, and then remove the highlight if the user then, without lifting the finger, performs a scroll gesture.

If using the NSTouch class directly, be sure to implement the touchesCancelled(with:) responder method, because users can perform touch interactions that result in canceled touches.

macOS 10.12.1 supports the Touch Bar with enhancements to gesture recognizers, as described in “Gesture recognizer support” in AppKit Support for the Touch Bar. For an introduction to gesture recognizers, read “Gesture Recognizers” in Event Handling Guide for UIKit Apps, most of whose guidance pertains as well to macOS, and watch What’s New with Gestures.

macOS 10.12.1 also supports Touch Bar with improvements to touch objects, as described in ”Touch changes” in AppKit Support for the Touch Bar.

Topics

Creating a Bar Item

init(identifier: NSTouchBarItem.Identifier)

Instantiates a new NSTouchBarItem object with the specified initializer.

init?(coder: NSCoder)

Initializes and returns a new item from a storyboard or NIB file.

Identifying a Bar Item

Managing Item Visibility

var visibilityPriority: NSTouchBarItem.Priority

Determines which items are shown in a bar when space is limited.

struct NSTouchBarItem.Priority

A value used to specify visibility priority of items in a bar.

var isVisible: Bool

A Boolean value that reflects whether or not the item is visible.

Configuring Bar Customization

var customizationLabel: String

The user-visible string identifying this item during bar customization.

Subclassing Bar Items

var viewController: NSViewController?

The view controller associated with this item.

var view: NSView?

The view associated with this item.

Using Template Images

static let touchBarAddDetailTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing additional detail for an item.

static let touchBarAddTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for creating a new item.

static let touchBarAlarmTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for setting or showing an alarm.

static let touchBarAudioInputMuteTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for muting audio input or denoting that audio input is muted.

static let touchBarAudioInputTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for denoting audio input.

static let touchBarAudioOutputMuteTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for muting audio output or for denoting that audio output is muted.

static let touchBarAudioOutputVolumeHighTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for setting the audio output volume to a high level, or for denoting that it is set to a high level.

static let touchBarAudioOutputVolumeLowTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for setting the audio output volume to a low level, or for denoting that it is set to a low level.

static let touchBarAudioOutputVolumeMediumTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for setting the audio output volume to a medium level, or for denoting that it is set to a medium level.

static let touchBarAudioOutputVolumeOffTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for setting the audio output volume to silent, or for denoting that it is set to silent.

static let touchBarBookmarksTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing app-specific bookmarks.

static let touchBarColorPickerFill: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing a color picker so the user can select a fill color.

static let touchBarColorPickerFont: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing a color picker so the user can select a text color.

static let touchBarColorPickerStroke: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing a color picker so the user can select a stroke color.

static let touchBarCommunicationAudioTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for initiating or denoting audio communication.

static let touchBarCommunicationVideoTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for initiating or denoting video communication.

static let touchBarComposeTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for opening a new document or view in edit mode.

static let touchBarDeleteTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for deleting the current or selected item.

static let touchBarDownloadTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for downloading an item.

static let touchBarEnterFullScreenTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for entering full screen mode.

static let touchBarExitFullScreenTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for exiting full screen mode.

static let touchBarFastForwardTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving forward through media playback or slides.

static let touchBarFolderTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for opening or representing a folder.

static let touchBarFolderCopyToTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for copying an item to a destination.

static let touchBarFolderMoveToTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving an item to a destination.

static let touchBarGetInfoTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing information about an item.

static let touchBarGoBackTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for returning to the previous screen or location.

static let touchBarGoDownTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving to the next item in a list.

static let touchBarGoForwardTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving to the next screen or location.

static let touchBarGoUpTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving to the previous item in a list.

static let touchBarHistoryTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing history information, such as recent downloads.

static let touchBarIconViewTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing items in an icon view.

static let touchBarListViewTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing items in a list view.

static let touchBarMailTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for creating an email message.

static let touchBarNewFolderTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for creating a new folder.

static let touchBarNewMessageTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for creating a new message or for denoting the use of messaging.

static let touchBarOpenInBrowserTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for opening an item in the user’s browser.

static let touchBarPauseTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for pausing media playback or slides.

static let touchBarPlayTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for starting or resuming playback of media or slides.

static let touchBarPlayPauseTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for toggling between playing and pausing media or slides.

static let touchBarPlayheadTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for denoting the current playback position within a timeline track.

static let touchBarQuickLookTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for opening an item in Quick Look.

static let touchBarRecordStartTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for starting recording.

static let touchBarRecordStopTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for stopping recording or stopping playback of media or slides.

static let touchBarRefreshTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for refreshing displayed data.

static let touchBarRewindTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for moving backwards through media or slides.

static let touchBarRotateLeftTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for rotating an item counterclockwise.

static let touchBarRotateRightTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for rotating an item clockwise.

static let touchBarSearchTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing a search field or for initiating a search.

static let touchBarShareTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for sharing content with others directly or via social media.

static let touchBarSidebarTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing a sidebar in the current view.

static let touchBarSkipBackTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping to the previous chapter or location during media playback.

static let touchBarSkipToStartTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping to the start of media playback.

static let touchBarSkipBack30SecondsTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping back 30 seconds during media playback.

static let touchBarSkipBack15SecondsTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping back 15 seconds during media playback.

static let touchBarSkipAhead15SecondsTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping ahead 15 seconds during media playback.

static let touchBarSkipAhead30SecondsTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping ahead 30 seconds during media playback.

static let touchBarSkipToEndTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping to the end of media playback.

static let touchBarSkipAheadTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for skipping to the next chapter or location during media playback.

static let touchBarSlideshowTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for starting a slideshow.

static let touchBarTagIconTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for applying a tag to an item.

static let touchBarTextBoxTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for inserting a text box.

static let touchBarTextListTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for inserting a list or converting text to list form.

static let touchBarTextBoldTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for making selected text bold.

static let touchBarTextItalicTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for making selected text italic.

static let touchBarTextUnderlineTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for underlining text.

static let touchBarTextStrikethroughTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for striking through text.

static let touchBarTextJustifiedAlignTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for fully justifying text.

static let touchBarTextLeftAlignTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for aligning text to the left.

static let touchBarTextRightAlignTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for aligning text to the right

static let touchBarUserTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing or representing user information.

static let touchBarUserAddTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for creating a new user account.

static let touchBarUserGroupTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for showing or representing a group of users.

static let touchBarVolumeUpTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for increasing the audio output volume.

static let touchBarVolumeDownTemplate: NSImage.Name

A template image for reducing the audio output volume.

Relationships

Inherits From

See Also

Touch Bar Items

class NSCandidateListTouchBarItem

A bar item that, along with its delegate, provides a list of textual suggestions for the current text view.

class NSColorPickerTouchBarItem

A bar item that provides a system-defined color picker.

class NSCustomTouchBarItem

A bar item that contains a responder of your choice, such as a view, a button, or a scrubber (an instance of the NSScrubber class).

class NSGroupTouchBarItem

A bar item that provides a bar to contain other items.

class NSPopoverTouchBarItem

A bar item that provides a two-state control that can expand into its second state, showing the contents of a bar that it owns.

class NSSharingServicePickerTouchBarItem

A bar item that, along with its delegate, provides a list of objects eligible for sharing.

class NSSliderTouchBarItem

A bar item that provides a slider control for choosing a value in a range.