Every time I connect my bluetooth headset to my Mac, iTunes decides it's time to launch. Is there a way I can prevent this behavior?

I found this thread, but there is no solution: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2570254?start=0&tstart=0

  • OS X 10.8.3
  • iTunes 11.0.2 (26)
  • Using Beats Wireless


Even after removing iTunes from my computer, it stills prompts me to "find iTunes" whenever a bluetooth audio device is connected.

  • 1
    check iTunes preference settings!
    – user44516
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 19:04
  • 1
    If you list your headset's Bluetooth profile or just the exact model, there might be an answer by disabling the play/pause functionality that could be built into the device.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 20:46
  • Please be more specific, and provide more detailed information. Computer type, operatings system, iTune version,...
    – user44516
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 20:47
  • Updated with my info Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 23:39
  • The workaround to disable Itunes helper does not work. Ituneshelper will re appear after login even if removed. I have actually gone and found the ituneshelper.app file and renamed it and itunes continues to start when my headset is turned on! As to the workaround with terminal and renaming files that completely disabled my keyboard on my macbook air! Be very careful using this! Luckily i was able to reset the computer using a bluetooth keyboard to recover. There is really no help in this thread for OSX 10.9 using itunes.
    – user75259
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:07

19 Answers 19


Extending Steve's answer, plus some tips from this apple discussion, here's what I did that finally solved this.

  1. Create a "Do Nothing App": open Automator, create an empty application, and save it as DoNothingApp.app

  2. Rename iTunes (manually in the Applications directory, or using this terminal command):

    sudo mv /Applications/iTunes.app /Applications/iTunesBACK.app
  3. Make a copy of DoNothingApp.app as iTunes.app (manually, or using this terminal command):

    sudo cp -R /Applications/DoNothingApp.app /Applications/iTunes.app

That's it. Of course, the real iTunes is now called iTunesBACK.

  • I found an an app that disables the play/pause media key. This might work for the bluetooth issue as well, and if so, it's a better solution than the one I propose above. redth.info/itunes-media-hotkey-disabler Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 17:59
  • 3
    Won't this break updates that include iTunes? Commented May 6, 2015 at 20:43
  • 1
    This no longer works for me on 10.11, but @mritun's solution below does. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 13:09
  • 1
    Funnily enough, this works in High Sierra, but the one below dowsn't due to System Integrity Protection.
    – Virgil
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:47
  • 1
    In order to get this to work with High Sierra you must first disable system integrity protection. You can do that by restarting in recovery mode (hold down cmd-R when you restart your computer), launching terminal from Utilities menu, then executing csrutil disable and restarting. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 23:55

I've got this figured out.

On OSX, the "RCD" (remote control daemon) is responsible for the naughtiness. It has hard-coded list of actions to do when it detects certain "events" - one of them being connecting to a bluetooth headset.

To disable this behaviour (minimal loss of functionality, possibly your apple remote won't work), use the following two commands:

launchctl stop com.apple.rcd 
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist

This should stop rcd from being launched by OSX. No rcd - no auto-magic multimedia. Your volume keys should continue working, but things like play key (or bluetooth) auto-starting iTunes should stop. With -w option the change should be persistent.

PS: The following is the nuclear option. In Terminal, enter:

sudo chmod 000 /System/Library/CoreServices/rcd.app/Contents/MacOS/rcd
sudo pkill -9 rcd

To stop rcd from even being started by any app. To restore your rcd, use:

sudo chmod 755 /System/Library/CoreServices/rcd.app/Contents/MacOS/rcd
launchctl start com.apple.rcd
  • Finally! Something that works on Yosemite
    – emmby
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 20:27
  • None of these options worked for me on 10.9.5 using Beats Wireless.
    – acpigeon
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 0:34
  • 1
    On a MacBook Air with OS X 10.9.5, this worked (while the accepted answer of renaming the ITunes app did not, as the system would just launch the renamed app). THANK YOU.
    – Ghopper21
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 13:45
  • 2
    Didn't work for me on OS X 10.9.5 with a Bose headset. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 9:05
  • 1
    To unload is sadly no longer working for 12.2.1. Anyone has the same issue or a solution? ❯ launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist Unload failed: 5: Input/output error Try running `launchctl bootout` as root for richer errors.
    – lony
    Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 20:06

I'm on Catalina and it is now 2019. I was having Apple Music open every time I connected my bluetooth earbuds (Echo Buds). Since I never use Apple Music this worked for me:

  • In Apple Music go to "Preferences..." and "Restrictions"
  • Click all the checkboxes under "Disable" including one for "Apple Music"
  • Click the lock to prevent further changes
  • Click "OK"

As far as I know, this will prevent you from using Apple Music completely, which may not be an acceptable solution for everyone.

  • 3
    This worked for me in Catalina.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 10:58
  • 4
    Doesn't work in Catalina for me. Using Jabra Elite 75 Headphones. Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 7:58
  • 1
    thx for posting. Works for me. Mojave. I don't listen to iTunes on my work laptop but it always popups when I turn on headphones for meetings. Was annoying me for months. iTunes should have this option build in derp. Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 20:14
  • 2
    Didn't work for me with on Catalina 10.15.5 with Sony headphones
    – Sam
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 5:54
  • 1
    On Big-Sur this only half works. When my B&W PX headphones are connected - they won't auto-play or launch iTunes. However, if I then take them off my head, and put them on again - sure enough, it'll launch iTunes and start to play the first song in my library. I can't express my frustration from this. I could bear an 'auto-resume' of what was played - but hard-start-play-just-anything is so annoying. Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 6:43

Solution explained by imp68 worked for me

Short version:

  • Remove iTunesHelper from your user's Login items

Step by step version:

  • Open "System Preferences"
  • Click "Users & Groups"
  • Select your user
  • Click "Login Items" in right panel
  • Remove iTunesHelper
  • Log off and back in (MUST DO)

and voilà !

  • 11
    I do not see iTunesHelper in my Login Items on mavericks
    – emmby
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 18:06
  • 2
    This didn't work for me in Mavericks Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 1:04
  • It is there in Yosemite, but need some time to see if disabling this really works
    – SwiftMango
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 18:14
  • Works in macOS Sierra 10.12.3. And I didn't event needed to logoff/reboot. Just unpaired the headphones and paired them again. Never happened again.
    – Joum
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 9:43
  • 2
    I don't see iTunesHelper in Sierra 10.12.4 :(
    – VitalyB
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 8:06

I just did this (Yes, I know this can be done in a single command, but it is clearer as two):

cd /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/MacOS
sudo chmod 0 iTunes

And problem solved - no muss, no fuss (i.e., no prompts for "finding iTunes").

I'm guessing that this (just chmoding the actual executable) is slightly sneakier than chmoding the top level directory (/Applications/iTunes.app). I'm guessing that that prevents it from thinking you've just moved it somewhere else.

  • Nice! In one line: sudo chmod 0 /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/MacOS/iTunes
    – Mirror318
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 0:34
  • 4
    I still get "Operation not permitted" error on 10.13 even though I'm an admin. Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 18:06

I am on a MacBook Air with Sierra, and all I had to do was:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. In iTunes Preferences choose the Devices tab.
  3. On that tab check "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically"

That's it!

  • This should be the accepted answer, as the others no longer seem to work in High Sierra. Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 17:06
  • Agreed, this is the best solution! Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 22:35
  • 7
    This solution is not the best solution; because this doesn't stop a BT device from sending a media key system service that RCD intercepts, triggering the iTunes launch. This prevents some things from triggering iTunes (e.g.: when plugging an iDevice…) but that's all it does. Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 19:49

I'm on a MBP with osx 10.9.2. Disabling iTunes in "CD and DVD" preferences does not help. Just renaming iTunes to something else does not work.

The service "Remote Control Daemon", rdc, is responsible for delivering commands to (for example) iTunes. Use this script, iTunesPatch. This script modifies the actual binary for rdc to inhibit the command it sends to start iTunes, which means that all other functions of rdc still works as expected.


I was also being driven mad with a new Plantronics Backbeat Pro headset, just a slight movement of the earpiece started iTunes. I found I could disable the sensors on the headset.

Go to plantronics.com/myheadset-updater. You can download a program called MyHeadset Updater. It allows you to disable the sensors. You can also download the latest firmware.


WORKING FIX; simplest and most effective solution (per mritunjai at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2570254?start=75&tstart=0):

  1. Open Terminal

  2. Enter two separate commands:

    $ launchctl stop com.apple.rcd

    $ launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist

  • 1
    YES! This finally did the trick for me on Catalina 10.15.7
    – James M
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 15:18
  • Note, I think you want -w to have to stay unloaded over restarts.
    – studgeek
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 22:11
  • 1
    That said, this is no longer working for me on 10.15.7 with Sony WH-1000XM4. I can see that rcd is still unloaded, but Apple Music keeps opening up.
    – studgeek
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 22:13
  • 2
    I tried this option on Catalina with Jabra Elite 75t headphones. Unfortunately, it means that none of the media keys on the touchbar work now, which I'm not willing to settle for. The fight continues...
    – Matt Ball
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 2:49

It is completely stupid and seemingly unrelated but it works:

In the CDs and DVDs preference pane disable iTunes to launch inserted for Audio CDs

your headset is an audio cd you know ;-)

  • 4
    Didn't work for me. Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 23:38
  • Make sure you restart the computer after doing this. It worked for me after a restart on a MacBook Pro (Mid 2012), El Capitan 10.11.4.
    – Ben Morrow
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:59
  • Very simple, very easy. Worked under Sierra. Thanks.
    – Screenack
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:44

Remove iTunes (you can reinstall later, but who would want to do that)

sudo rm -rf /Applications/iTunes

Create a "do nothing" application using Automator. Just open Automator, create an empty application, and save it.

Connect your device. You will be prompted to find iTunes. Click browse and select your "do nothing" application.

  • 9
    Instead of removing iTunes a simple sudo chmod 000 /Applications/iTunes.app should be enough (and avoid the reinstall later on). To revert run sudo chmod 755 /Applications/iTunes.app
    – nohillside
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 21:11
  • 1
    +1 for chmod. This worked for me on 10.9.5 using Beats Wireless.
    – acpigeon
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 0:34
  • 1
    LOL @"but who would want to do that"
    – Chris22
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 18:28

If you open Itunes and to the left of the play bar, select the regular speakers and not the headset. This stopped auto-start for me with up to date OS and Itunes (October 2017) and Plantronics Backbeat pro 2 headset.


Update for Mojave: use ToothFairy (note: not free but worth the money IMHO) to connect your bluetooth headphones and go to the Preferences > Advanced section. There you can add commands on connect and disconnect as described above by mritun. See here (sorry for the bug with the font in Dark mode):

ToothFairy Advanced Preferences

This way you have the old behaviour back when you don't use your headphones.

I hope this helps other people!



For MacBook Pro 16" and macOS 10.15.3 all solutions did not work. I did some research and found a way to disable Music. You won't be able to use it afterwards, so only do this if you do not need the Music app.

Since apple introduced some security mechanisms, some things have to be done in advance. At first you need to disable the System Integrity Protection.

Boot in recovery mode (hold ⌘ + R until apple logo appears)

Login with your user

Open Terminal in Utilities Menu and enter

csrutil disable

reboot (normally)

Afterwards you have to mount your drive with write access because the apple applications are read only. This is non-permanent, after a reboot the changes are discarded.

sudo mount -uw /

Now that the filesystem is writable, you can revoke all rights on Music to prevent it from being opened.

sudo chmod 0 /System/Applications/Music.app/Contents/MacOS/Music

Now, connecting your bluetooth headset won't start the Music app. But you have to turn System Integrity Protection on again:

Boot in recovery mode

Open Terminal in Utilities Menu and enter

csrutil enable

reboot (normally)

You can revert this change simply by giving the system the rights back to read, write, execute the Music App. Remember to turn off System Integrity Protection in advance and mount your drive writeable as stated above.

sudo chmod 755 /System/Applications/Music.app/Contents/MacOS/Music

The Music App should be able to be used again.

Remeber to turn on System Integrity Protection again!


In most cases, unloading the rcd launchd job is probably the best answer, see: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/273341/150839

However, I did not want to unload rcd completely, as I need it to control other applications such as QuickTime. I just wanted it to stop activating iTunes. So, I did an ugly hack:

  1. Make a backup copy of /System/Library/CoreServices/rcd.app/Contents/MacOS/rcd
  2. open /System/Library/CoreServices/rcd.app/Contents/MacOS/rcd in a hex editor such as Hex Fiend.
  3. In ASCII mode, replace all instances of iTunes with Finder. (Finder was chosen primarily because it's the same number of characters as iTunes).
  4. Now we have a fixed copy of the rcd binary, but we've broken its code signature! Because I keep Gatekeeper turned off anyway, I opted to remove the broken signature with https://www.insanelymac.com/forum/topic/293359-tool-to-remove-apple-code-signatures-from-binaries/ and leave the binary unsigned. You may be able to re-sign the binary with your own developer certificate instead; I did not attempt this as I don't actually have the developer tools installed.
  5. Do a killall rcd so OS X reloads your new copy of the binary.

It should work now! Please note that I tested this procedure on Mac OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks) which is very old as of this writing!


A few things I've discovered since writing this post:

  1. Someone made a polished program that does the same thing as the above: https://thebitguru.com/projects/itunes-patch. You should use it instead of a hex editor... unless the situation below applies to you.

  2. On the off chance you have removed iTunes from your machine completely (as I have), rcd is actually not what you need patch. The "Where Is iTunes" prompt isn't coming from rcd, but from AVRCPAgent.app, aka /System/Library/CoreServices/AVRCPAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/AVRCPAgent /System/Library/CoreServices/AVRCPAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/. The procedure I described above—replacing instances of "iTunes" with "Finder" in the Binary—does work, however.

If you happen to be on the final build of 10.9.5 (13F1911), here's a little shell script that will do everything for you. It won't work on other OS's because it's a binary patch (and it verifies the checksum before doing anything.)


  • +1 for Mavericks (which I'm still using on one machine) but unfortunately this won't work on Catalina (10.15) since there are no occurences of "tell" in the binary. The Launch Daemon matches LaunchEvents matching against com.apple.rcdevent.matching and then starts up rcd when media buttons are pressed. A reference to this can be found in the method "setupEventHandling" with tools such as Ghidra.
    – beta
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 21:15

I've had the same issues with mine... but there is

  1. an app to route BT events to media keys
  2. an app to redirect media keys to specific apps: Media Keys by "Gear player" creator.

Nothing worked for me, but I ripped the sensor out of my Bluedio T5S and now I don't have the issue any more. Actually made them a lot better as they would disconnect frequently just from moving around.


so i was having this issue with my macbook where it was launching Itunes as soon as my headphone jack was plugged in.....i called Apple and they helped me disable it... here is how.

  8. RESTART (not necessary)AND PROBLEM SOLVED (FOR ME).

P.S. you will not be able to open itunes until you undo this process, hopes this help.


Thank you this is the answer! So easy!!!

Open iTunes In iTunes Preferences choose the Devices tab. On that tab check "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically"

  • 1
    This is just a "me too" of an earlier answer.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 12:13

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