The audio section of the touch bar can automatically detect which app is playing audio, and adds media controls to play/pause, skip, and seek through any audio. As an example, this works for Quicktime, Spotify, and even YouTube audio from browsers like Google Chrome. How can I use AppleScript to mimic these functions? I want to get the name of the song, be able to play/pause, skip, and even seeking if that is possible.

2 Answers 2


I made a cli tool that lets you read properties from the private MediaRemote framework.


Since it uses private APIs, it may break with future macOS updates but is currently working on Ventura 13.1.

Here is an example that will retrieve the song name: now playing center screenshot

nowplaying-cli usage

The tool also supports commands like play/pause:

nowplaying-cli play

If you want to call this from AppleScript you can use the following syntax:

do shell script "<your command>"
  • This is amazing -- thank you for your work on this! All other solutions to detect audio playing on OSX are dirty hacks.
    – nyxaria
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 19:50

This is a very useful tool and I have a recommendation on the best place to learn how to use AppleScript to interact with media.

This is 100% possible and you might even find the exact script you need, already written. Worst case, you can see the code and hopefully adapt one to your needs.

  • 1
    OP mentioned the general interface that was introduced in maybe 10.12+, not itunes specific. For that you can use MPNowPlayingInfoCenter link. If you want to do from pure applescript, maybe use obj-c bridge?
    – 1110101001
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 21:34

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