Screen shot of the v1.1 patch on macOS Sierra

2016-09-14 – macOS Sierra note: The patch works in macOS Sierra, but it seems that Xcode Developer Tools might not upgrade properly in some cases. If you experience any issues with code signature, try reinstalling Xcode tools (xcode-select --install) and then patch again.  See this github issue for details.

This is a patch for removing the default OS X behavior of always starting iTunes when the play button on the keyboard is pressed. This feature can be useful for a lot of users, but it can also be annoying if you are using VLC, Nightingale or other similar programs that support the media keys.

The application will patch the Remote Control Daemon to prevent it from starting iTunes whenever you press the play button on the keyboard or an external remote control. This will only prevent iTunes from starting, all other functions (like play/pause while iTunes is running) will continue to work as before. The original file is backed up in case you would like to restore the original functionality.

You can find the source code on github.

OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra Compatibility

This patch works by modifying a system file (rcd). With the new System Integrity Protection (SIP) functionality introduced in El Capitan you have to take additional steps to temporarily disable SIP. Hopefully I will get some time soon to update the binary to guide through this, but for now here is what you have to do.

  1. Boot into recovery
  2. Launch terminal once booted into recovery: Utilities menu > Terminal
  3. Disable SIP: csrutil disable
  4. Restart and log in as you would normally. Validate that SIP is disabled by running the following command in terminal: csrutil status It should say disabled.
  5. Run the iTunes Patch dmg and continue with the patching.
  6. Once the GUI shows that it has successfully patched, boot back into recovery to re-enable SIP.
  7. Launch terminal once booted into recovery: Utilities menu > Terminal
  8. Re-enable SIP: csrutil enable
  9. Restart. The patch should be applied now without disabling SIP forever.

Reporting Issues

Please click the “Report an issue…” button in the application and it will present the option for submitting issues. You can always contact me directly as well.


2015-03-02 farhan: Published the GUI app (version 1.0). The command line patch is still available in the download section.

2014-12-21 farhan: I am almost done with a new GUI based app. Please see the download section below for details.

2013-05-11 farhan: Updated to 0.8.2. Added step to self-sign the modified binary. This should prevent rcd from crashing on Mountain Lion. Thanks to user48986 at AskDifferent .

2016-09-14 farhan: Confirmed that the GUI app works in macOS Sierra.


Play Button iTunes Patch-v1.1.zip

Download – Older Text-based Patch

This is no longer recommended, but I am still leaving it around in case if someone needs it.  After downloading double click on Patch.command and follow the prompt.



Copyright (C) 2010 Farhan Ahmad.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
General Public License for more details.
  • Timmy

    This worked back when I had Yosemite, but when I updated to macOS Sierra, when I reinstalled the code, I was meet with an error stating: Unxpected Error, Could not codesign he modified binary. I did have SIP disabled so that should not be the problem.

    • Hi Timmy,

      Run this command in terminal and then try the patch again.

      xcode-select –install

      – Farhan

      • Grateful User of iTunes Patch

        Unfortunately installing xcode did not help in my scenario. I’m also using the latest ios Sierra.
        After running the “xcode-select –install” command, I rebooted into recovery mode and ran “csrtutil disable.” I then rebooted again, confirmed SIP was disabled (“csrutil status”). Tried to use the patch, but still got the error.

        Unexpected error, could not codesign the modified binary.

        And, thanks for an awesome patch + all the support you’re providing.

        • Not sure why this may be. Can you share the log file?

          • Grateful User of iTunes Patch

            How do I export the log file? (if there’s convenient article to link you can give me that and I’ll read the instructions)

          • Sorry, I looked over this comment. There should be an entry in the File menu.

  • Jimmy

    I’m on Sierra, and this patch now only works until the next reboot for me (SIP is permanently disabled). Additionally, Spotify (my preferred music player) has stopped responding to the headset buttons altogether.

    • Hi, Jimmy. I am surprised to hear that it only works until the next boot. After rebooting when you start the patch GUI does it say that rcd is already patched or does it show it as unpatched?

      • Jimmy

        It shows as patched.

        • If that’s the case then I am guessing that it is likely another app interrupting. Can you please create a new ticket on github so we can effectively track this down?

          • Jimmy

            Actually, it seems I was mistaken before, the patch still works for keyboard media buttons. However, it used to also work for the media buttons on my bluetooth headset, which is no longer the case.

          • That’s surprising because this shouldn’t really affect that functionality (in previous or the current macOS version). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do this for bluetooth headsets.

  • salbeik1

    What’s going on my mannn? – you went all in on this one :D. How many hours did you spend to patch that DAMNNN play button :D. KILL THAT ITUNES PLAY BUTTON noooo mattttter the price 😀

    • Lol, yes! 🙂 I was enjoying it so I did not count the hours.

  • I keep getting this: rcd quit unexpectedly while using the rcd plug-in.

    • Which version of macOS are you using? Can you email me the log that the utility creates?

  • I am using OS X El Capitan, 10.11.6. When I try running it, I get the first password prompt, but then the installer window goes away and that’s it. I waited awhile and tried again; same thing. I know it didn’t finish because the volume button on my headset cord still launches iTunes.

    • I had the same – it was due to the fact that I didn´t disable csr first – follow it step-by-step. You need to boot into recovery and disable csr first – once you are finished enable it again

    • Yeah, sorry, like Daniel said, the utility requires System Integrity Protection to be turned off while patching. I am planning on adding a check so it doesn’t crash and properly guides the user, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  • Stef

    Hello! How can I uninstall the plug-in? I am also getting the rcd issue and would just like to remove it instead of fixing/patching it. Thanks!

    • Running this command generally fixes the issue: xcode-select –install

      If you have decided not to patch, there is a button in the GUI that can restore the original version.

  • Hi, thanks for the awesome patch. Is there also a way to associate a different app to launch when I press the play button?

    • Hello, Fez,

      Unfortunately, this patch only prevents iTunes from launching and does not have the capability of assigning a replacement program.

      • I tried gear extras, seems to work quite well.

        • e_rye

          Link for gear extras please? Not sure this will work for BT headphones… just tried all steps advised here with no success and looks like those steps also didn’t work for another BT headphone user on Sierra

  • e_rye

    Thanks for this!
    I am trying this patch today on Sierra 10.12.3 (public beta 4) for wireless bluetooth headphones that keeping triggering itunes. It’s been reported by some that there is no terminal in recovery on Sierra so I have to first create a bootable drive for a previous version that includes recovery in terminal.

  • Thanks for reporting, it’s likely the check logic which is causing this. Can you share the output from the following command?

    xcode-select -p

  • sounded very promising, but too bad it doesn’t seem to work in Sierra! 🙁

  • what are, exactly, the modifications done to rcd?

    self note: I have done something to my user at some point in the past that removed completely the play buttons functionality from it. everything works as expected (along with your patch) for every other user. I’m trying to figure out what I must have done… my only hint so far was that I have voted up only the question here: https://superuser.com/questions/31925/what-can-i-do-to-stop-the-play-pause-button-from-opening-itunes

  • Schenk10

    for me it gives me an error RCD while running the plugin RCD

  • yaroslav maximov

    “for me it gives me an error RCD while running the plugin RCD”
    for me too ( https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/584e14bb48a917b272230b8e816a24182ea6654cae3cba04633d836e6852d679.png

    • Which version of macOS are you using? Did you download the most recent version of the patch? Looks like your environment is missing the Xcode command line tools. Either try the current version or try running this command before patching: xcode-select –install

  • Fabian Torres

    Does this work on High Sierra? Recently tried to install Xcode Tools, made sure to disable SIP, then pressed patch in the app, but when I press play/pause button on my headphones, it still triggers. Is this a different issue to patch or does this also cover that.

    • Sorry, I didn’t see this comment sooner. Many bluetooth headphones use their own drivers and hardcode this functionality so that’s likely the cause in your case.

  • Can you share more info about your setup? What version of macOS, and are you also using headphones?

  • Nikolay Pasechny

    Patch does not work on macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra !!!

  • Thom Sentner

    Unfortunately, the patch does not seem to work in High Sierra. The application says the file is already patched, which it probably is not. Both the original file (which the application says is patched), as well as the patched file (after running the application), do not inhibit iTunes from opening.