Play Key to Control Pandora on Macbook (& iMac?)
I was able to get my play and skip keys to work for Pandora instead of iTunes on my Macbook Pro by using the “Key Remap 4 Macbook” utility in combination with PandoraJam.
Step 1: Download and Install PandoraJam – I’m using the demo version and it works fine for this.
Step 2: Launch PandoraJam, edit the preferences. Click on the keyboard tab and set a few keyboard shortcuts. For this demo I’m setting Play to be Cmd+Shift+F8, Skip to be Cmd+Shift+F9, and Thumbs Down to be Cmd+Shift+F7.
Step 3: Download and install Key Remap 4 Macbook. This is overall a pretty cool utility and I like how you could even set it up to remap keys even for specific applications. We’re not doing anything that complicated though. Below you will see how I’ve set up the Media keys to do what I want them to. This is the part that was a little difficult to figure out – the WCZ remap function is something I added in. See Step 4.
Step 4: What we’re going to do next is to remap the next, previous, and play keys to their Cmd+Shift counterparts so they will control PandoraJam as we’ve set up.
Click over to the Misc & Uninstall tab and then choose “open private.xml”
It will have a default, blank private.xml that you will be able to edit. Add in the following code:
<?xml version="1.0"?> <root> <list> <item> <name>WCZ Change Media Keys (Play/Pause, Prev, Next)</name> <list> <item> <name>Media Keys to F7..F9</name> <appendix>Music Prev to F7</appendix> <appendix>Music Play/Pause to Command + Shift + F8</appendix> <appendix>Music Next to Command + Shift + F9</appendix> <identifier>remap.mediaKeysToFKeysWC</identifier> <!-- F7 - F9 --> <autogen>--ConsumerToKey-- ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_PREV, KeyCode::F7, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen> <autogen>--ConsumerToKey-- ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_PLAY, KeyCode::F8, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen> <autogen>--ConsumerToKey-- ConsumerKeyCode::MUSIC_NEXT, KeyCode::F9, ModifierFlag::COMMAND_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen> </item> </list> </item> </list> </root>
Save it. Then go back to the first tab and click the ReloadXML button. You should now have the WCZ remapping group. Enable that and basically immediately your media keys will start performing as the CMD+SHIFT equivalents, and if you have PandoraJam open they should be working.
If you look at some of the other examples you can probably figure out how to edit private.xml to include or exclude programs, and other fancy stuff. If you want to see the default XML for KeyRemap4MacBook, there is a hidden XML file located in
/Library/org.pqrs/KeyRemap4MacBook/prefpane/checkbox.xml which you can examine. But don’t change anything in that file!
If you come up with something cool, or if you enjoyed this article, please post a comment below.
Also, Lifehacker has an article about allowing your media keys to control other things, like the VLC Player. I haven’t tried it – I love having the keys just control Pandora all the time.