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It's driving me crazy! I can't find any option in preferences; I don't think I'm dealing with any media files, and the damn program just opens and opens and opens again no matter how many times I quit--not always immediately, but after 5-60 minutes it just pops itself open again. WHY?! (And obviously more importantly, how do I make it stop?!?) Thanks!

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Do you have an iPhone or iPod connected? Does iTunes perform a specific action after it's opened, such as opening iTunes store, syncing an iPod/iPhone? – Daniel Beck Nov 5 '10 at 10:54
Hmm. That happens to me as well. Randomly pops open. No idea why. – chiggsy Nov 5 '10 at 11:59
@Daniel Beck: no and no. Just opens. Hasn't done it since I restarted....YET. >:O – Philip Nov 5 '10 at 19:22
@Philip Restart is always step 0 with solving any computer problem. – Daniel Beck Nov 7 '10 at 12:44
IT DID IT AGAIN! ARGH! – Philip Nov 9 '10 at 15:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I was having the same problem with iTunes opening over and over on my Macbook. Quitting or even force-quitting the application did nothing. The program would simply open again.

It appears this behavior is related to the audio out/headphone jack. Plugging in my headphones is randomly being interpreted by some part of the system as an iPod or similar device being connected.

I haven't determined yet if the problem is with the headphones themselves (maybe a short) or if the audio jack itself is defective.

I've read discussions concerning these digital audio jacks and unusual behavior associated with them, including, at one time, that the jack would get "stuck" in one mode and refuse to switch to another.

If I find the Apple link, I'll add it here, since it seems to be the cause of a number of quirky sound-related issues, as well as odd behavior when connecting various devices to that jack.

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Could you be pressing (accidentlally or otherwise) the play or skip keys that are on F7-F9 on more recent Apple keyboards? I find that causes iTunes to pop up. To use them as a proper function key, hold down the Fn key that's in the bottom left for labtop and wireless keyboards and above the left arrow on extended keyboards (this can be reversed in the Keyboard section of System Preferences). I'd love to know if there's a way to prevent iTunes popping up while still using the key as play/pause - I'm always doing it to myself.

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that seems unintuitively backwards, to not have the default function of a Function key be the Function function – Xantec Nov 5 '10 at 12:05
This always seemed bass-ackward to me, too. You can change it on the keyboard System Preferences pane. There's a tick-box to select whether the unmodified function keys perform f-key functions or media functions. – JRobert Nov 5 '10 at 13:18
I think most non techie users (so none of us on here) will not use fn keys and would prefer the special keys (If you are techie enough to want function keys you will ne able to fid how to change them) – Mark Nov 5 '10 at 13:24
Would whoever down voted mind explaining what they felt was wrong with my answer? I'd love to clarify or amend whatever you felt wasn't useful. – Scott Nov 5 '10 at 15:13
Scott, I appreciate the suggestion but that is not what's happening. Also perhaps… might shed some light on your question? – Philip Nov 5 '10 at 19:21

Go to System Preferences > Accounts > LoginItems and check if there is anything related to iTunes like for example iTunes Helper. If yes untick/delete that item and test again.

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But I need that so it recognizes devices such as iPods plugged in, right? That has been a login item for ages, yet it has never before caused the spontaneous opening. So (a) I don't think it is intrinsically the cause and (b) I can't remove it without losing other important functionality. – Philip Nov 5 '10 at 19:18
@Philip It only starts iTunes when you plug stuff in, that's its only purpose. iTunes, Syncing, etc. work just as well, you need to start iTunes yourself. It's a start. Remember, troubleshooting is randomly clicking on things until it works :) – Daniel Beck Nov 6 '10 at 9:37
@Daniel Beck Well fortunately, it still has yet to happen again so for now I'm going to hope it was just a one-time glitch.... Maybe disabling ituneshelper will be the way to solve it if it starts up again, though again I'd rather not have to prevent it from auto-opening on correct instances just to keep it from auto-opening inappropriately. Thanks. – Philip Nov 7 '10 at 11:43

This worked for me:

Running 10.8.5 and iTunes 11.1.3.

Eliminates "Play" button on Mac keyboard from launching iTunes but, more importantly for me, stopped headphones (direct in + bluetooth) from accidentally launching iTunes.


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