Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
You’re about to walk away from your computer, so you absentmindedly hit “Pause” on your Mac. Nothing pauses – instead, iTunes launches.
Stupid iTunes, no one wants you! So you CMD-Q to close the still-loading iTunes, then open your browser to find the tab playing music, then hit the appropriate “Pause” button. Terrible.
If you listen to music primarily on web services like Pandora, YouTube or Bandcamp, this gets old. Happily, there’s a way to stop it. Control web music using your Mac’s media keys with BeardedSpice. This free app enables music services in Chrome and Safari to be paused, played and skipped with a single keypress.
Firefox users: this isn’t for you, apparently due to limitation in Firefox itself.
Controlling Web Music
Launch BeardedSpice and you will find it in your Mac’s menubar. Open whatever site you’d like to play music from – if it’s supported, you’ll see it as an option in the menubar.
Click the site you want to control in the menubar. Alternatively, you can use a keyboard shortcut to tell Bearded Spice to open your currently open tab – the default is CMD and F8.
There are nine sites built into the service:
- Google Play Music
- Spotify (web version)
- Rdio (web version)
Obviously this is for advanced users only, so if that’s not you then you’re basically out of luck (unless you can find a friend well versed in code to help you out).
Chrome User? Try This Instead (Windows Users Too!)
Bearded Spice isn’t the only option out there for this. A Chrome extension called Unified Media Keys offers compatibility with a lot of sites – more than Bearded Spice.
This option also supports scrobbling, so if that’s something you still do, you might want to look into it. Read more about Unified Media Keys.
Of course, this is just the beginning. You can set your Mac media keys to control a lot of things if you start looking into it. We’ve shown you how alternative media player Vox offers a patch for using the media buttons, skirting around your Mac’s sandboxing with a separate download.
We’ve also shown you the best Mac apps for listening to Pandora, and more than a few supported your Mac media keys. This is great if you want keep your browser for browsing.
And it’s not just your media keys: with the right software, you can completely reconfigure your Mac keyboard. I’ve mapped the eject key to open the dashboard, for example. What have you remapped? Let me know in the comments below, okay?