When you press e.g. the pause key, the Mac OS will send that to whichever running application is playing media. How can I programmatically find out what application this is? And is there any other information available, such as the name of the currently playing media?

I'm looking for a command line tool, an API, or a scripting interface; I'm not picky.

1 Answer 1


There was an app (no longer supported) called Media Key Forwarder that allowed users to decide which app would receive the Play/Pause command. Its code is open source.

It wasn't the only one: BeardedSpice also allows users to control the play/pause button behavior, and it's also open source.

I quickly browsed their source codes looking for a specific piece of code to embed here but it was not immediately obvious to me. Nonetheless, I think it's a good start and might help.


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