Since upgrading my Late-2013 15" Retina MacBook Pro to macOS High Sierra from Sierra, I've noticed that the media keys (play, next, previous) work for media in playing in Safari and Mail as well as iTunes/Quicktime/etc. But now sometimes the keys just stop responding or doing anything.

Is there any way to fix this issue?


You'll probably need to wait for Apple to fix this. I've noticed that when I run into this, if I restart the last application the media keys were affecting they sometimes start working again.

For example, I had been watching YouTube videos in Safari and then started listening to music. I couldn't get the media keys to work for iTunes and they weren't working YouTube either. Quitting Safari allowed them to work for iTunes again. Starting Safari again didn't break this.

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  • @EricLeschinski When has Apple prioritized advertising of all things over interface? I can see an argument that they often put form over function, that they're too eager to remove buttons and ports, but advertising? – donut Oct 18 '17 at 18:09

This was driving me nuts, so I wrote a little menu bar app to make the media keys only affect iTunes:


I hope it's helpful to you!

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  • 2
    Very cool. Coincidentally, just a couple days ago I remembered that I have BeardedSpice installed. It seems to work fine, working for more than just iTunes. See my answer. – donut Nov 22 '17 at 23:39

Until Apple fixes this, you can use BeardedSpice. This app looks for the last app/web page to have focus and playable media and then redirects media key inputs to that app/web page.

Basically, it provides the functionality Apple appears to be trying to achieve in High Sierra, but it works more consistently. Unfortunately, it is significantly slower to respond than the native behavior (up to a second after hitting a media key).

If all you care about is iTunes, then Dan Messing's answer may be better for you.

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