I just got the new MacBook Pro with the touch bar, and I do not know what the TouchID button does. It is clickable, but as far as I can tell it does not do anything when clicked. However, this is unlikely because I don't think that Apple will add an inoperative button to their computers.

  • Old question, but are you also asking this since the new MacBooks (2016 onwards) simply automatically power on when the lid of the machine is opened? In the past you had to hit that power button (which is now a Touch ID button as well) to power up a MacBook; not the case anymore. – JakeGould Nov 16 '18 at 15:16

You can do multiple things with TouchID on a MacBook, it's essentially the same thing as on the iPhone.

With TouchID you can:

  • Turn on, restart, sleep and shutdown the system.
  • Unlock and log in when waking your Mac from sleep. You must type in your password after start up, restarting, or logging out of your account
  • Gain access to password protected sections, such as in System Preferences.
  • Make purchases in the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks store.
  • Making purchases with Apple Pay in Safari

Although 2017 MacBooks start when you open the lid, the finger print button also acts as a power button, like all other laptops. You can hold it down to force shutdown and restart the OS.

I'm sure there is also more things that I'm unaware of.

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    Thanks! I guess it can be used to force restart the machine if the OS hangs up or something. – Jaskirat Singh Apr 11 '18 at 4:53
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    @JaskiratSingh yep it’s the same as the power button on other laptops, along with the fingerprint reader for other functionality. – DrZoo Apr 11 '18 at 5:03

That button is very useful. As another way to login to this machine you need to enrol in TouchID within iCloud/System Preferences. You will then be able to login to your MacBook using only your fingerprint.

  • Yes, I know the touch ID can be used to log into the MacBook, use apple pay, etc, but why does the button push down? The fingerprint scanner did not have to be a button, it could have been a static sensor. – Jaskirat Singh Apr 10 '18 at 22:21
  • @JaskiratSingh because it also functions as the power button. If that's what your original question is, your question body is not informative enough. – DrZoo Apr 10 '18 at 22:28

In addition to TouchID functionality and serving as a power button, you can also configure the button to act as an accessibility shortcut. Just look under Accessibility in the System Preferences!

Shortcuts include things like Zoom, Color Inversion, Mouse Keys and more.

Screenshot: Accessibility Shortcut - System Preferences

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