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How to disable Chromium Project's enforced hardware media controls

Addendum - March 27, 2024

The chromium project has gotten enough negative feedback that they've reversed this decision! In a recent mainline Chrome update, the "Hardware Media Key Handling" flag is restored! You may need to wait for other browsers to update.

Head on over to chrome://flags/ and search for Hardware media Key Handling, and set to Disable

So! Google in their infinite "wisdom" have decided to remove from the Chromium project (what chrome, brave, edge, opera, vivaldi, and way too many other browsers use) the in-UX option to disable hardware media controls, making it so that everything you watch is pausable with the playback keys on your keyboard. This also shows what you're watching when you adjust your volume.

But what if you don't WANT this. Say you're using some sort of integration with a stream that pulls that data from your media player and inserts it into the corner of your twitch stream, like various streamers do? Or you use spotify or something while watching youtube videos and want to control your music at the same time?

Luckily, I've found a fix! Sorta. It's annoying but it mostly works. It's a couple of steps involved. But first, copy this text to your clipboard:



So, first, open up your start menu, search for chrome, and right click the entry. On win10 i have an option to "Open File Location", dunno if that's in win 11. If not someone let me know the step for win11 here and I'll update my text!

Chrome (Or your browser of choice) should be highlighted in the list but in case not, find it, right click, properties. add a space at the end after whatevers in the Target box, and paste that handy flag. Hit OK/Apply, and you're done this step.

Next, if you have Chrome (or affected browser) pinned to your taskbar and start it that way, right click the icon, Then right click the browser name right above where it says to unpin, then click properties. Click in Target box, add a space at the end, paste the text, OK/Apply, shbam! Repeat for all your chrome-based browsers!~

This can be a smidge hit or miss from what i've seen in comments, so if it starts showing, just restart the browser from one of these messages.

But what if I have a Mac operating system?

Ah, good point. I don't have one, but these instructions look correct and from my analysis won't do anything shady to your system:

  1. Open Terminal. Create a script file on the desktop by typing the following command in Terminal:

nano ~/Desktop/ChromeNoMediaKeys.command and press Enter.

  1. In the nano editor, add the following text:
    open -a "Google Chrome" --args --disable-features=HardwareMediaKeyHandling
  2. Save the file by pressing Control + O, press Enter to confirm, then exit nano by pressing Control + X.

  3. Make the script executable by typing in Terminal:

chmod +x ~/Desktop/ChromeNoMediaKeys.command and press Enter.

  1. You can now launch Chrome without hardware media keys management by double-clicking the "ChromeNoMediaKeys.command" file on your desktop.

"But what if I use linux?"

Track down and edit the method your distro is using to launch it. Some will use a Google Chrome.desktop or or whatever your browser's named lurking on your filesystem somewhere, or some of y'all might launch from terminal idk your daily driver. In any case, find out what your environment uses for launching the browser, and edit it to add the flag, and you'll be set. I'd look it up on my own 'nix but I don't actually have chrome on my linux install yet, i prefer firefox on there, so uh.... sorry!