New MacBook Pros are well known for some “bold” design choices for example forcing everyone to carry on a thousand dongles in order to convert a whole world of connectors to USB-C.
If you are a developer you are likely be complaining about the touchbar – for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a small strip of touch screen which replaces the top-row of the MacBook keyboard, effectively removing the Esc key and function keys.
The touch-bar frankly sucks (most importantly because you cannot touch-type it, while you can touch-type plain old function keys) but you might be forced to live with it if you are not lucky or you want a higher end model. Touch typing aside, old functionality is still there – if you press Fn, the touch-bar will display the missing keys “restoring”, in a way, the old functionality and for “standard” users, nothing changes really.
Except for those ones who configured their keyboard so that Fn worked the other way around, defaulting to function keys and giving multimedia keys if Fn is pressed… a setting most likely to be used by developers.
Apple thought of these scenarios, naturally (no – in the design of the new MBP it seems they actually thought of nobody) and you can select a set of applications where function keys are forced on the touch-bar.
You can find it in System Preferences / Keyboard / Shortcuts / Function Keys. Here you can add your favorite development editors, terminals, virtualizers.. like iTerm, Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime Text, VirtualBox. And yeah it works.. except for virtualbox, because VMs don’t run in VirtualBox.app but in other processes.
How to add VirtualBox to the list of function keys exceptions
We have to do a little workaround. 1) Open a Finder window to the /Applications folder. Right click on VirtualBox.app and click “Show Package Contents” 2) Find the Resources folder, and drag it into Finder’s favories sidebar 3) Using the Resources folder you put in favorites, add vmstarter.app and VirtualBoxVM.app to the list of exceptions. 4) Now you can remove the Resources shortcut you added to favorites. 5) Enjoy always-on function keys in your VMs!