Firefox 81 gets Media Control feature support by default

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 17, 2020

Mozilla is currently working on introducing Media Control support in Firefox 81 that is turned on by default. The feature allows Firefox users to manage playing media in the browser using media keys on keyboards, e.g. the media keys on a laptop or tablet computer Firefox is running on.

Google support for the Media Session API in Chrome 73 and Mozilla did integrate it in an earlier version of the browser as well but did not enable it by default in Stable versions of the web browser.

Google rolled out global media keys support in Chrome 79 recently. The feature enables Chrome users to control media in the Chrome browser using media keys on keyboards even if Chrome is not the active window, e.g. when it is minimized.

firefox media controls

The Firefox preferences and media.hardwaremediakeys.enabled determine whether the functionality is enabled or disabled in the browser. While you can enable it in earlier versions of Firefox, the functionality may not work in these browsers.

A quick test in Firefox 79 confirmed that the feature is working fine if you set the two preferences to True on about:config. Once done, you may use media keys on the keyboard to control playback of video and audio in the browser.

Here is how that is done in detail:

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful.
  3. Search for media.hardwaremediakeys.enabled using the search field at the top.
  4. Double-click on the preference to toggle its state. Make sure it is set to TRUE as this enables the functionality.
  5. Search for
  6. Double-click on the preference name as well to set it to TRUE.

This is all it takes to enable media keys support in recent versions of the Firefox web browser.

From Firefox 81, Media Controls should work out of the box. A test in Firefox Nightly confirmed this as I could use keys to pause or stop videos, or change the volume of the playing media file.

All it takes is to press one of the buttons of the keyboard to control the playing media. Firefox displays an overlay on the screen that users may interact with directly using the mouse or touch input. The direct interaction option may be useful if you want to make swift changes, e.g. change the volume significantly as it may be faster than having to hammer on the volume up or down button multiple times.

Media keys support is global in Firefox 81 which means that you may control the video or audio file that is playing in Firefox even if the window of the browser is not the active one on the system.

Closing Words

Media keys support is a handy feature for a browser to have, especially if the functionality works globally. It is still possible to interact with the controls on the video or audio site if that is preferred, but these controls give users another option when it comes to media playback on their devices.

Now You: Do you use media keys on your keyboards, if they are available? (via Techdows)

Firefox 81 gets Media Control feature support by default
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Firefox 81 gets Media Control feature support by default
Mozilla is currently working on introducing Media Control support in Firefox 81 that is turned on by default.
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  1. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    It’s a really annoying feature. Thanks for telling me how to turn it off.

    1. opelit said on September 29, 2020 at 11:40 pm

      this is me as well, hate it as I run Spotify, and it always stop my youtube videos, when I just want to pause music to watch it….

  2. Michael said on August 17, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Finally :-)

    This is the main reason I’m using edge/chrome for media sites.

    Now can get to 100% Firefox.

    1. Anonymous said on August 17, 2020 at 10:58 am

      Unfortunately it’s not working on Firefox 79 as well as Edge/Chrome.

      Hope that by version 81 all the issues will be resolved.

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