How to Stop iTunes from Opening Automatically When You Press the Play/Pause Key on your Mac

Picture showing media keys on a macbook pro

So, way back in 2009, I bought myself a Macbook Pro, mainly because I liked the all-metal case and backlit keyboard.  (Seriously, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a Windows laptop with a backlit keyboard — go on, try it.  It was even harder in 2009.)  Now, as you probably are aware, Apple loves iTunes, their music management application.  I, however, do not love iTunes, and much prefer crazy-customizable music-playing apps on Windows, like Foobar2000 and Winamp.  I tried installing Cog, the closest thing I could find to Foobar2000.  Now, I’m also a huge fan of the media keys (play/pause, next/prev track) on the keyboard, and so compatibility with those is a must.  While Cog was indeed compatiable with the media keys, I found that Apple had implemented a convenient “feature” in Mac OS 10.6 and newer– if you press play/pause when iTunes is not running, iTunes will start itself and start playing.  Needless to say, if you’re trying to use any other music player, including Spotify and VLC, this can be very irritating.

Luckily, someone managed to fix the issue!

  1. Download the fix from here – credit goes to NoMitsu, who created this (you can read the original forum post here).  Also, thanks to this guy for finding it!
  2. Open the DMG file.
  3. Inside, run “MMFix” (I’ve tested it on Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6) and Lion (Mac OS 10.7), and it works correctly on both.)
  4. Enjoy pressing the play/pause button on your keyboard without iTunes ruining your day!
If, at some point, you want to undo this fix, simply run “MMFix” again, and it will restore things to the way they were originally.
Finally, if you liked the fix, you can donate to NoMitsu, the person who created it, via Paypal.  The donation link can be found on the author’s original form post.

11 thoughts on “How to Stop iTunes from Opening Automatically When You Press the Play/Pause Key on your Mac

  1. ergohack

    This works well, the only issue is it seems to disable smaller increment changes in both volume and display backlight (when you press shift-option-volume etc) undoing the patch using the app doesn’t seem to fix this.

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  3. dandu

    same as @Dhart. reports “bad file” on mountain lion. is there a fix? can we send the developer a nice box of chocolates and ask eagerly for an update?

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