Play/pause button stopped working in OS X Mavericks

Apple KeyboardMy play/pause button mysteriously stopped working in iTunes and VLC mysteriously this week on my laptop. It affected the previous track and next track buttons as well. It turns out that my Google Music extension in Chrome stole the keyboard bindings after the extension updated this week.

If your buttons stopped working as well, follow these steps to check your keyboard shortcuts in Chrome:

  • Choose Preferences in the Chrome menu in the menu bar
  • Click Extensions in the left sidebar
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page
  • Click Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Look at the key bindings in the Google Play Music section

Your shortcuts might look like the ones shown here in an Apple support forum. Click each box with the X to clear each key binding or click on the key binding box itself to bind it to another key combination. If you do that, it should end up like this:


You also have the options of switching the shortcuts to only work within Chrome by using the drop down menus to the right of the key binding boxes.

Photo Credit: Andrew* via Compfight cc


  1. says

    Nathaniel — Unfortunately not. I explained that move in this post. I’d be willing to give it a try again, but the new cameras in the MacBook Pro laptops are PCI-based and Broadcom hasn’t released any open source code for them. :(

  2. Liz says

    Hey, I followed your steps but I had no extensions already so I had nothing to delete but only my F7,F8 and F9 keys haven’t worked all others are and my Macbook Pro is only 2 weeks old. Thanks! :)

  3. anthony mai says

    YES! thankyou so much. I can finally pause my music again when co-workers talk to me. thanks a million

  4. Sean says

    Thanks so much! Life saver! Things just haven’t been the same these past few days, but now all is well once again! Appreciate the help.

  5. Hugo says

    Actually, I did not even notice that this worked for Google Music.

    So, I definitely let it those shortcuts on, since I have a good connection and a 128Gb SSD!

  6. says

    Normally I don’t comment on these things, but thank you for this lol. My spotify and iTunes were both not functioning with the play/pause button and this quick fix did the trick. Thank you!

  7. says

    Wow — I rarely comment on these types of articles, but THANK YOU! You saved me hours of frustration (if only I found this blog post a few hours earlier..)

  8. George Cochrane says

    You the man. Just in case you didn’t already know.

    Was this anything to do with installing Google Music or just a general update thing that Chrome did?

  9. HL says

    OMG. Thank you! I rarely leave comments, but I have been dealing with this for the longest. I took a trip overseas this summer and haven’t had the time to try to fix it nor find some useful info that could potential solve it – so I am so glad to have stumbled upon your page! I can finally use my keyboard shortcuts again, many thanks!

  10. says

    Thanks for the tip! I just noticed my shortcut keys stopped working this morning. I updated to Yosemite on Saturday, so I thought it was related to that. Glad to know it’s something simple.

  11. theCurtis says

    Thanks, so much, for posting this! For me, it wasn’t Google Play Music. It was Black Menu for Google. Same issue, though.

  12. Lynn says

    this was bugging me for so long!!

    I didn’t know Chrome would mysteriously do that, so annoying!

    thanks so much, I really appreciate it!

    somebody offered your solution in Apple community and it saved a lot of people from this problem!

  13. Mark says

    Maybe you know a solution to this problem as well:
    Since iTunes 12 has come around it stole the playback buttons as well! Before iTunes 12 i could, when Spotify was active, use the play and forward buttons with Spotify but since iTunes 12 has been installed it automatically starts iTunes! I haven’t found a solution yet… Maybe you can help?

  14. Marcus says

    Thank you! I thought it might be Chrome, because when I restarted my mac the keys worked. After launching Chrome it quit responding. Thanks again!

  15. Cassie says

    Thank you so much! I thought there was a hardware problem with my laptop before seeing this post!

  16. Kenneth says

    Thanks so much. I just updated to Yosemite last week, and only started realizing that my previous track play/pause forward keys stopped working. I thought apple forgot to code them into the function keys or was using them for some other functionality when it was google all along that hijacked my bindings.. Thanksss!

    Ken from Canada

  17. Micah says

    I use Firefox and while this solution didn’t apply to me I thought I would post the solution I found:
    I recently installed an add-on for Firefox from Soundcloud to have media control buttons added to the browser so I wouldn’t have to keep switching back to the Soundcloud tab to change songs.
    If you disable this add-on you’ll get your keys working again for iTunes.
    I wasn’t able to find a way to keep the add-on enabled and still use the keys for iTunes, but there is an option to toggle them to work for the Soundcloud Player when the add-on is enabled.

  18. Janvin says

    Was sooo to blame Yosemite – alas, clearer heads prevailed and I Googled the issue only to find that it was exactly as you put it – a Google Music Chrome extension.

    Thanks a ton!

  19. Yogi says

    Thanks a lot man!!!! Would have never thought to look at the extensions, super! It was driving me nuts!!!

  20. AQ says

    Thanks a lot! I Didn’t notice that earlier than yesterday, but only few jumps between Word and iTunes was driving me crazy.

  21. Brooke says

    Thank you so much!! I was very frustrated and couldn’t find any answers to this problem. Thankfully, someone in the Apple Community linked me to this page. You are truly amazing!! So happy to have my buttons working again.

  22. virginia says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You are an angel- my hero! This was driving me incredibly crazy! THANKS AGAIN!! AND MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS! :)

  23. Glenn says

    Thank you so much for this succinct and successful solution! (No alliteration intended) I had to do this a few weeks ago, but the problem came back within the last few days, so I had to look this up again and perform it again. Can you speak as to why it “keeps happening?” Is this something I can expect to continue to happen and therefore continue to fix on a regular basis? I appreciate it!

  24. Nour says

    Oh thank you so much I was searching so badly information about that thinking it was a problem with Yosemite (it happened the same day I upgraded my laptop…) There is absolutely NO information in French on internet, such a pity but I was lucky enough to find your article :)

  25. says

    Thanks, found your article via Google from a first try. Helped to solve the problem, all works as before – music keys are interacting with my iTunes.

  26. Tom says

    It is a wonderful thing when a common problem has been solved and the solution published. Sure, keyboard control of music may seem trifling, but your post has turned frustration into satisfaction for thousands of people. On behalf of us all, thank you for taking the time.

  27. jimbo says

    Excellent! This worked famously. The instructions were clear and detailed, which always helps expedite troubleshooting. Thank you sir.

    Now to yell at Google for allowing their music manager app to usurp global playback shortcut key control without my permission!

  28. Francisco says

    I could not figure out what the issue was. The apple forums (understandably) all pointed to the keyboard shortcut menu in the System Preferences. Huge help thanks again!

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