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How to Enable or Disable Chrome Volume Control and Hardware Media Key Handling

We show you how to modify your browser's sound settings to adjust Chrome volume control and enable or disable hardware media key handling.

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Though it wasn't widely published, 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 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:

  1. Open the Chrome sound settings flag
     

    In your browser's search bar, paste the following URL:

    chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling

    In Chrome flags, find “Hardware Media Key Handling”, which should be highlighted, and change the toggle beside it from “Default” or “Disabled”, to “Enabled”.

  2. 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:

     chrome://flags/#enable-media-session-service

    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:

chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling

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.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.