Though it wasn't widely published, Google introduced the ability to enable or disable hardware media keys with Chrome 75. By toggling a Chrome flag, you can determine whether Chrome volume control is affected by your keyboard's volume up, down, and mute keys.
There are a few situations where this can be quite useful. For example, you may like to play music in the background while you work. When you adjust your sound settings in Chrome to disable media keys you can ensure your browser doesn't hijack those attempted volume increases.
Alternatively, you may want the above behavior but find that the volume control for Chrome isn't working with your media keys. In such cases, you may need to enable the media controls manually. We'll show you how to do both in today's tutorial in just a few clicks.
How to Enable Chrome Volume Control and Hardware Media Key Handling
The Google Chrome enable media controls setting can be toggled entirely in the browser with no need to edit config files or install third-party extensions. Here's how to turn it on so you can adjust your Chrome volume with your keyboard:
- Open the Chrome sound settings flag
In your browser's search bar, paste the following URL:
In Chrome flags, find “Hardware Media Key Handling”, which should be highlighted, and change the toggle beside it from “Default” or “Disabled”, to “Enabled”.
- Enable the media session service flag
For Chrome volume control to work correctly, the Media Session Service must also be enabled. This is another Chrome flag that you can access by pasting the following URL:
Once you've changed the setting to “Enabled”, click the big blue “Relaunch” button that appears at the bottom of your settings page. Alternatively, close the browser manually.
How to Disable Chrome Volume Control and Media Keys Handling
It's even easier to disable media keys in Chrome. This time, we only need to change one flag, rather than two:
Find the Chrome flags for hardware media key handling and disable it
Paste the following URL in your browser bar to be taken directly to the relevant Chrome sound settings:
Click the dropdown next to “Hardware Media Key Handling” and change to “Disabled”. Press the big “Relaunch” button so the changes can take effect.
This short Google Chrome volume control tutorial will hopefully save you a lot of frustration down the line. While you're fiddling with settings, however, you may want to disable autoplay for videos and enable picture-in-picture mode for your browser.