Stopping the media keys from launching iTunes

Posted: August 10, 2012 in General

One of my many various complaints about the Mac recently is this idea that if you want to break out of the Apple world things start to go awry. This is especially evident when it comes to iTunes. I can’t tell you how many times I’m forcing iTunes to quit because the app thinks it need to start up to do something.

My biggest complaint is the media keys on the Apple keyboard. I use Spotify as my primary music playback app/service now, and since I use iCloud for backups, I really don’t have a need for iTunes. I would happily purge the app from my system, but apparently that’s not a good idea since the system complains when you try to do that.

Before Mountain Lion I used a not well publicized app called MMFix, but that app no longer works on 10.8. Luckily all is not lost.

So the offending app is the Remote Control Daemon (RCD) found in System/Library/CoreServices

Inside RCD is several AppleScript commands so the media keys can control various Apple apps when they’re open. The offending command is in there : tell application id “com.apple.iTunes” to launch

In my quick testing, I grabbed a hex editor and deleted that line of text from the rcd binary.

So far so good…

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Comments
  1. sam says:

    I can’t open rcd in either of the hex editors I tried (Hex Fiend and 0xED). How do you edit it?

    • DrieStone says:

      You need to “show package contents” on the RCD.app to get into the actual RCD app (inside contents). You may have permissions issues too (I had to save RCD back to the desktop, then copy back in via the Finder).

  2. Laurent says:

    This solutions sounds great!
    If someone was able to create an app to patch the rcd in one click, this would be perfect…
    But for the moment, is it possible to share with everybody the rcd.app you have modified (using Rapidshare or this kind of hosting service… or if you can send it directly in my mailbox) ?
    Thank you very much!!

  3. Farhan Ahmad says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I wrote a patch for this that takes a similar approach, but it no longer works because of code signature of the rcd not matching after the edit. Isn’t the rcd binary crashing for you after you make this edit?

    Thanks,
    Farhan

  4. sheldon says:

    thanks, works a treat!

  5. DrieStone says:

    rcd was crashing if I changed the com.apple.itunes to something else, but if I remove the line entirely it doesn’t crash.

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