Apple’s new MacBooks come with a new tool called TouchBar, which gives you quick access to a variety of system settings such as volume control, brightness control, Wi-Fi and more. While some Mac users are still trying to get a hang of it, many have found it exceptionally handy. Apple products are features are known to be trend setters. So, it comes to us as no surprise that this TouchBar feature has become desirable on the Android devices too.
Apple likes to keep its things exclusive to its products. But, thankfully, we have an incredible alternative that adds a Mac like TouchBar right on your Android screen. It works as an overlay app and can be deployed very easily on your device. The TouchBar appears on the bottom of the screen. In this guide, we will learn how to install the Mac-like Touch Bar on Android devices. Keep reading!
INSTALL TOUCH BAR APP ON ANDROID
For some reason, the TouchBar app for Android is not available on Google Play Store. So, there is no official way to get it on your Android device. But, that’s okay. We know a solid workaround to install this app on your device without any hassles.
What we are going to use is called side loading method. In this method, the app is manually installed on Android using the APK file. For the uninitiated, APK is an executable file for Android, much like the EXE file for Windows. The APK file is used on this platform to install the apps and run them once installed.
Our workaround does not require you to root the Android mobile device. The method is pretty simple and straightforward. You will have the Mac like TouchBar on your device in no time. Make sure your device is connected to the internet.
First things first! We need the APK file to install the app on your device. Since the app is not available on Play Store, we must obtain it from a third-party source. This part is easy too. Here is what you need to do:
- Run any browser on your Android and go to the following URL to download the APK file directly on the device: https://labs.xda-developers.com/store/app/download/com.touchbar
- You may also download the APK from this link on your computer and later transfer it to the device with a USB cable or any file sharing tool
- We assure you that this file is completely safe. We have tested it several times. If you wish to be more confident about it, you can use an antivirus program to scan this file.
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Allow Third-Party APK Installation
APK file is all you need to install the Mac like TouchBar on the Android device. But, there is a little hiccup. Since we have sourced the file from a third-party, Android would not let you install it without making some changes to the settings. This is a security feature to prevent the automatic installation of any harmful app.
But, we know that our APK file is safe and thus we would like the device to allow the installation. Here are some changes in the Settings we need to make:
- Open Settings app from the home screen of the device (or you can pull down the notification shade from the top and tap the cog icon on the upper right)
- Go to Security (in some devices it is labeled as ‘Lock Screen & Security)
- You should see the option ‘Unknown Sources’ on the next screen. Move the slider next to it to turn it ON. If it has a checkbox instead of the slider, check it to enable it
- Tap OK when the prompt message appears
- Now your device is ready to install the APK file
Make sure you turn the Unknown Sources OFF after installing the app.
In some devices, you don’t have to turn ON the Unknown Sources. Instead, you can grant the installation permissions for each APK individually. The permission prompts appear when you try to run the APK.
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Install TouchBar APK
Now that we have downloaded the APK file and allowed third-party installation, we are all set to get our Mac like TouchBar on Android. The installation process is easy. Here is what you need to do:
- Navigate to that folder on your device where you have either copied or downloaded the APK file
- Tap the TouchBar app APK file once. This will run the file and start the installation
- Tap ‘Install’ on the prompt or confirmation message
- Give the device a couple of minutes to install the app
When the installation is complete, the TouchBar icon will be added to the home screen. Tap the icon and get ready to enjoy this new screen overlay.
How to Get the Touch Bar Working
The TouchBar wouldn’t deploy automatically. You will need to activate it. But, before that, make sure you have granted it all the permissions. Here are the steps:
- Open Settings app from the home screen
- Select ‘Apps’, ‘Apps Manager’ or ‘Applications’ (you will see one of these depending upon your device)
- Scroll down and tap TouchBar app icon from the list of the apps
- Check the check boxes next to the following options to allow permissions:
- Overlay Screen
- Write System Settings
- Do Not Disturb Access
Once you have granted it the necessary permissions, you must activate the TouchBar. Follow the steps 1-3 again. Move the slider ‘Activate TouchBar’ to the right to activate this app.
That’s it. You have successfully activated the touch bar on your Android. Now, simply tap the bottom area of your device screen to display it. It will show you a number of options and buttons to interact with.
Mobile displays are growing larger and it is becoming difficult to interact with the screen with one hand. Using both the hands to operate the device isn’t always convenient. There are times when you would like to keep a hand free. This is why the device manufacturers are trying to introduce new functionality to make your experience more convenient. TouchBar proves handy when you need to interact with your phone with one hand. It appears on the bottom of the screen and gives you quick access to a wide range of options.