Disable Hardware Media Keys Support in Chrome

A new feature that landed in Chrome 73 is support for hardware Media Keys. Whenever you press one of the play/pause/next/prev buttons on your keyboard, Chrome can now respond to this.

video.addEventListener('pause', function() {
  // Video is now paused.
  // TODO: Let's update UI accordingly.

video.addEventListener('play', function() {
  // Video is now playing.
  // TODO: Let's update UI accordingly.


Whilst this might be a good addition for many, it doesn’t work me, as I’m constantly playing music through iTunes. With iTunes jingling around, here’s my experience:

  • Open a site with a video and watch it play
  • Hit (keyboard) pause button to pause iTunes
  • Not iTunes but the video in the browser gets paused (😠)
  • CMD+TAB into iTunes
  • Hit (keyboard) pause button to pause iTunes
  • Video in the browser resumes playback (with iTunes still playing too) (😡)

Looks like the browser (or macOS?) isn’t properly releasing/giving the focus, redirecting all media keys’ keystrokes to Chrome (instead of the focussed iTunes).


Thankfully, one can disable the support for Hardware Media Keys through some flags.

  1. Visit chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling
  2. Set the dropdown value to “Disabled”
  3. Restart Chrome

Ah, much better now!

Did this help you out? Like what you see?
Consider donating.

I don’t run ads on my blog nor do I do this for profit. A donation however would always put a smile on my face though. Thanks!

☕️ Buy me a Coffee ($3)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.