Spotify keyboard shortcuts provide a convenient way to control your music. However, it gets annoying when you press a media key button but nothing happens.
I’m going to assume you have done the Spotify clean reinstall. If you haven’t, please try performing a clean reinstall first. If you have done it, here are other troubleshooting steps.
1. Restart your browser
If you’re running Spotify using the desktop app, your browser could hijack the media controls. This means that whenever you type a shortcut, you’re controlling the browser, not Spotify.
Simply exiting the browser and then reopening Spotify solved the issue. Make sure to exit by clicking the three dots at the top right corner of the browser then click “Exit”.
2. Other browser apps taking over the media keys
If you are using Google Chrome, another browser extension may have hijacked the media controls from Spotify. All you need to do is to disable the other extension.
For example, Google Play Music on Chrome could have taken over the media keys. The extension may have been automatically added without you ever installing it.
Click the three dots on the top right corner of your browser.
Next, click “More tools” then click “Extensions”. Your app extensions will be listed. If you see Google Play music, switch the toggle OFF and remove the plugin.
That is what I did and it worked.
Remember, you need to remove any extensions that manage media on Chrome. Streamkeys and Plex, for example, are two plugins that may interfere with Spotify’s keyboard shortcuts.
Regardless of what extensions you have, you can change it by going into the Extensions setting of Chrome, scrolling to the very bottom, and selecting “Keyboard shortcuts”.
There you can enforce that whoever has control of the media keys, is in Chrome only and not globally. Set your extensions to be in Chrome only and it should solve the issue.
If you don’t use the extension, it’s best to disable it and remove it altogether.
3. Your browser “hijacked” your media keys
Whether you are running Spotify using the desktop app or Web Player, your browser may have hijacked your media controls, resulting in the keyboard shortcuts not working.
This happens because Google Chrome’s media handling is turned on by default, regardless of whether you have Spotify running in the foreground or in the background.
You only want desktop apps to respond to keyboard media key presses, not your web browser. Here’s how to stop Google Chrome from hijacking your media keyboard shortcuts:
- Open a new Chrome tab
- Visit chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling
- Select “Disabled” from the menu on the right of the page
- Relaunch Chrome as prompted
That’s it. Once you disabled hardware media key handling, Google Chrome will no longer respond to your keyboard’s media keys on any website like the Spotify Web Player.
4. Other media player running in the background
If there are no browser extensions taking over the media keys, but Spotify keyboard shortcuts are not working, make sure no other media players are running in the background.
Another media player that is running in the background can take over the media keys. For example, you may have iTunes open and the media keys are getting confused.
Close the media player and it should work like a charm.
Basically, any tool that plays music and was installed after Spotify will hijack the media controls. You can either reinstall Spotify or uninstall whatever you installed after Spotify.
In my case, it was iTunes.
5. Incorrect keyboard settings
If you are using a MacBook or any other Apple computer, make sure you have “Use all F1, F2…” turned off. You can find this in system preferences under keyboard settings.
Without you realizing it, you could be trying to use the media keys by themselves with this setting turned on. This is something to look into if you’re using an Apple computer.
6. Your keyboard driver needs an update
Make sure your keyboard driver is up to date. Spotify’s keyboard shortcuts won’t work if your keyboard driver is not up to date. Here’s how to check for an update:
- Search for “device manager” on the taskbar.
- Select Device Manager from the list of results.
- In the list of hardware categories, click Keyboard.
- Double-click the keyboard you are using.
- Click the Driver tab.
- Click Update Driver, then follow the instructions.
That’s it. Once your keyboard driver is updated, Spotify’s keyboard shortcuts should work properly. Keeping your keyboard driver up to date is important to ensure it works properly.
7. Hosts file needs a clean up
If you have tried all of the above methods, but Spotify keyboard shortcuts are still not working, check your hosts file for entries that need to be removed.
How to clean up your hosts file on Windows
1. Open Notepad as an administrator (right-click > Open as Administrator).
2. Go to File – Open and navigate to:
3. Choose “All Files” instead of “Text Documents” next to the File Name box.
4. You’ll see a handful of files. Pick hosts and click on Open.
5. The file is opened. You will see a block of text with # in front of each line and might see entries like:
6. Check for any entries with spotify or fastly in the address. Examples may look like this:
7. If you do find any, you can delete the line.
8. You can also add a # in front of the line, that’s “commenting out”.
9. Save your changes. Refresh the Web Player.
How to clean up your hosts file on Mac
- Open Finder and, in Finder’s menu bar, select Go > Go to Folder.
- In the box, type the following location: /private/etc/hosts and press Return.
- A new Finder window will open and your Mac’s hosts file will be selected.
- Click and drag it out of the Finder window and drop it on your desktop.
- To open it, simply double-click and it will display the file’s contents in TextEdit.
- Check for any entries with “Spotify” in the address.
- If you do find any lines with “Spotify”, just remove them.
- Save your changes and refresh the Web Player.