Bluetooth Headphone Play Pause button issue in Apple OSX

We are big Apple fans. Our work stations are Mac Pros. Here is our dilemma.

Steven Johnson
by | Posted: March 8, 2013 | Updated: March 31, 2014
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We started reviewing bluetooh headphones / headsets and were not able to use the headphone play/pause buttons with any music app except iTunes.

I have not been able to find the answer to this, so this post outlines the issues and desired fix. Hopefully someone will know the solution.

We have reviewed several highend ($400+) bluetooth headphones for our site and they all have the same bluetooth control issue on OSX. Their buttons will only control iTunes even to the point of launching it if it is not open.

How the Play/Pause button works on a Keyboard

When I am listening to music I can hit the play/pause button on the keyboard and the active music player will play or pause. Perfect. The music player can be Spotify or iTunes, whatever I have used most recently. If I am listening to Spotify then Spotify will start or stop. If I am listening to iTunes then iTunes will start or stop. Exactly what I want it to do.

How the Play / Pause button on My bluetooth headphones works

If I am listening to Spotify and then hit the headset play/pause button then iTunes will start or stop. The headphone bluetooth buttons always control iTunes even to the point of launching it if it is closed. I have encountered the same issue on all bluetooh headphones.

What I think is happening

I think that the operating System (OSX 10.8.2) is capturing the bluetooth input signal and sending it directly to iTunes rather than allowing to go to the active music player.  The keyboard input is getting past this and is directed to the active music player. Should be noted that I am not an OSX programmer so I am just speculating.


Here are some links and helpful resource. Hopefully having these links in one place will help us find an answer.

Possible Solutions / Work Arounds

If anyone knows of any fixes or possible work arounds, I would love to hear them. Contact me via the contact form or hit me up on twitter.

Hopefully their is a solution. -- Steven




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