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 and will pause/play the actively playing element.

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?
Thank me with a coffee.

I don\'t do this for profit but a small one-time donation would surely put a smile on my face. Thanks!

BuymeaCoffee (€3)

To stay in the loop you can follow @bramus or follow @bramusblog on Twitter.

Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

Unless noted otherwise, the contents of this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License and code samples are licensed under the MIT License

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Your email address will not be published.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.