Multimedia Keys do not work in Spotify, iTunes After Chrome Update

After updating the Chrome web browser, you may have faced a problem with your multimedia keys. When you have the Chrome window open, your multimedia hardware keys on the keyboard do not work in other music apps such as Spotify, iTunes, etc. As a result, you’re unable to control media playback (eg., play, pause, stop, or select prev/next track) using your multimedia keyboard.

We’ve seen this problem some time back. If Google Play Music is installed, it steals the multimedia keys and prevents other apps from using it. But this time around, the multimedia keys issue is caused by Chrome itself. Chrome version 73 adds a new feature named Hardware Media Key Handling that allows you to control the active media session on websites like YouTube, etc.

As Chrome takes over or hijacks the multimedia keys, the keys don’t work in other multimedia apps like iTunes or Spotify.

Here are some threads at the Spotify forum talking about this issue:

I have owned my Dell XPS 15 for 2 years. Today when I turn my laptop on and launch spotfy whilst watching a youtube video, my pause media key starts pausing youtube instead of spotify (I have never been able to pause youtube before with media keys so this is very strange). Can someone help? I just want to be able to pause spotify whilst watching youtube videos with my F5 pause key like before!

Pause Media Key pauses Youtube instead of Spotify – The Spotify Community

Now whenever I have chrome open my keyboard shortcuts default to youtube videos instead of my spotify tracks is there any way to fix this. Also it just defaults to anything in chrome where this was never an issue before

Keyboard FN keys working on Chrome instead of spot… – The Spotify Community

Recently i had a lot of issues with my media keys. They are working, but what annoys me that they prioritize youtube or any other chrome tab before spotify. So I have to close every other program where i am able to pause and unpause certain things. And this wasn’t the case before, my media keys would control my spotify. Does anyone have a clue what might have changed?

Media keys – The Spotify Community

I’m not allowed to install the app on my work computer so I use the web player. All week I haven’t be able to use the back button within the webplayer, either on Chrome or on the mouse. Everything else seems to work and back still works for every other website. I reboot at least once a day and this has been all week. Anyone else experiencing this, know how to fix?

Can’t use back button in web player? – The Spotify Community

my mouse has multiple buttons to which I keybinded one of them into a pause/play button. However, now when I have a twitch stream or youtube video playing. instead of pausing the spotify song it prioritizes pausing the video/stream. I have to close the twitch/youtube video to pause. `Is it because google chrome now added keybinds to pause things?

Pause button not prioritizing Spotify? – Reddit

Hey guys now when i scroll through facebook or watch a youtube video and I use my media play button it plays the video, I listen to music through spotify and i want my media keys to only work on that, How do i disable media keys in chrome.

Google chrome taking control of Media keys : chrome – Reddit

[Fix] Multimedia Keys do not work in Spotify, iTunes After Upgrading Chrome

Chrome 73 adds support for the Media Session API in desktops. Previously, this feature was available only for the mobile platform. This API allows Chrome to handle media using the keyboard. If you press the Pause key on the keyboard, the active media element playing in Chrome will be paused. If the play key is pressed, the previously paused media element will be resumed and receive a “play” media event. It works whether Chrome is in foreground or background.

To disable multimedia key handling by Chrome 73 and higher, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome and visit the following page:
  2. Type media key in the search box. The following flag is displayed now.
    Hardware Media Key Handling
    Enables using media keys to control the active media session. This requires MediaSessionService to be enabled too – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

    Alternately, go to this URL to navigate to the option directly.

  3. Set Hardware Media Key Handling option to Disabled
  4. Restart Google Chrome.

This stops Chrome from locking your multimedia buttons on the keyboard, thus making it available for other apps such as Spotify, iTunes, and others.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

2 thoughts on “Multimedia Keys do not work in Spotify, iTunes After Chrome Update”

  1. Hi, this worked partially. Indeed chrome was hijacking the media keys and following your instructions I have disabled chrome from keep doing this, relaunch chrome but the keys still doesn’t work nor in the music app nor on spotify

  2. This worked for like a week and then it went right back to hijacking despite it still saying disabled. Man, Google needs to get their act together. It is so annoying to mess with our way of life.


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