The Touch Bar on my MacBook started freezing and experiencing UI glitches recently. It was completely unresponsive. At the time, the only way I knew to fix it was to reboot my entire machine, which felt ridiculous. Luckily, there is a better way.

Rather than thoroughly interrupt what you are doing, instead you can run sudo killall TouchBarServer. You should see the Touch Bar flash off and then turn back on immediately, now functioning properly.

So you do not forget this later, you can add a custom shell command to your .zprofile or .bash_profile for when this inevitably happens again.

function touchbar-reboot() {
    sudo killall TouchBarServer 
}

Thanks to Shai Mishali (and David Smith) for the tip!

* * *

The first thing I tried was logging out and logging in again, but of course that did not work. I assume that was because the Touch Bar is powered by bridgeOS, thus logging out of macOS had no effect.

I cannot wait until there is an option to get a MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar.

* * *

UPDATE: Alex Persian mentioned on Twitter that you can also use sudo killall ControlStrip and sudo pkill "Touch Bar agent". However, it is not clear how these relate to TouchBarServer. Are they child processes of TouchBarServer? Who knows. In my brief testing, sudo killall ControlStrip appears to have the same effect as sudo killall TouchBarServer, while sudo pkill "Touch Bar agent" does not seem to do anything.

My plan (and recommendation) is to use only sudo killall TouchBarServer for now, and if that does not always fix the Touch Bar freezing, then try these other options.