Chrome, chromium, qutebrowser; all of these browsers have similar internals, and all of them share the same annoying bug: hardware media keys will control content in any tab via some sort of MPRIS implementation, and there is no obvious setting to disable this "feature".

Normally this is configurable for the first two in chrome://flags, however, qutebrowser (QB) does not implement chrome:// links. I went on a quest to figure out how to do this with startup arguments, and here's the solution:

For QB it looks like this
qutebrowser --qt-flag disable-features=HardwareMediaKeyHandling
while in chromium it is
chromium --disable-features=HardwareMediaKeyHandling

This prevents the browser from grabbing media keys.
To make this permanent, see below.

It should be possible to disable other "experimental" chrome flags in a similar way.

To find out the names of the flags, either

  • launch chromium, go to chrome://flags, change the setting, and look at chrome://version for the argument, or
  • grep


To disable media keys in qutebrowser, add this line to config.set('qt.args', ['disable-features=HardwareMediaKeyHandling'])