Fix Chrome blocking keyboard multimedia keys from working
If you use the multimedia keys on your computer keyboard to control playback in apps such as Spotify or iTunes, you may notice that functionality stopped with the release of Chrome 74.
Google introduced support for keyboard multimedia keys in Chrome 73; Chrome users may use the functionality to control playback on YouTube and other sites that make use of the Media Session API.
On YouTube, you can pause, start and stop playback, change the volume, mute, or jump forward or backward using media keys.
The release of Chrome 74 may block other sites from working correctly with multimedia keys. The change affects "other" processes that may make use of media keys; if you run Spotify or iTunes on the desktop, or another other media application that supports multimedia keys, you may notice that the keys don't function properly anymore if Chrome is running.
It appears that Chrome is blocking other apps from using media keys. One solution for the issue is to close Chrome completely whenever you want to use an application that supports media keys. It is not the most practicable of solutions as it is not very comfortable and limits how you use the computer as you cannot use Chrome and any of these applications side by side anymore.
Disabling Chrome's Multimedia Key handling
Google Chrome comes with a flag currently that controls the browser's hardware media key handling.Â Flags are experimental features that let you control certain features in Chrome. Google may remove flags at any time.
You may disable the Hardware Media Key Handling flag in Chrome currently to prevent Google Chrome from restricting media keys access. Here is how that is done:
- Load chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling in the Chrome address bar; this should open the right flag when loaded.
- Set the Hardware Media Key Handling flag to Disabled.
- Restart Google Chrome.
Change the status of the flag to Default or Enabled if you want to restore the default. Note that Chrome won't accept media key input anymore if you set the status to disabled.
Google plans to release Chrome 74 Stable on April 23, 2019.
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