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BTHSControl

Bluetooth Headset Control for OS X

Finally take back control of your Bluetooth headset's media keys!

If you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones and use a music program other than iTunes, you're probably fed up with iTunes launching when you connect and when you press any of the media buttons. This hack allows you to bypass the default iTunes controls and utilize the media buttons on your headset as if they were the standard media keys on your keyboard. This allows you to control playing, pausing, and skipping tracks in programs such as Spotify, VLC, and many more!

What is happening under the hood

Up until OS X 10.9, there was a system app called AVRCPAgent which was the middle man of Bluetooth remote control profiles on Mac. When you pressing a button on something such as a Bluetooth headset, the command would make it's way through this app, only to be hard coded to iTunes and Quicktime.

This AVRCPAgent app allowed some sort of custom plug-ins, but documentation of what could be done is no where. Using the basic disassembling software in OS X's CLI tools, a list of instance methods within the classes inside the app become apparent. Once the code that sends commands to iTunes is located, it is swapped out with custom code written to be more generic.

Even though AVRCPAgent was removed in Yosemite, it is still functional and can act as a separate Bluetooth service.

El Capitan (OS X 10.11)

El Capitan introduced "System Integrity Protection", which means we no longer should be editing the /System/Library/CoreServices directory. I moved the service to /Library/Services/ and it seems to be working for me still. I'll keep an eye on it to ensure this is a stable move.

Upgrading OS X version

If you upgrade your OS X system, you may need to re-install the service. I noticed this was an issue in OS X 10.11, so it may be an issue for other versions.

Contributors

Timmo Verlaan

Tested Systems

  • OS X 10.11
  • OS X 10.10
  • OS X 10.9

Installation

  1. Disconnect Bluetooth device
  2. Run "./install.sh build"
  3. Run "./install.sh install"
  4. Reconnect Bluetooth device and test

Pre-Built plug-in

If you don't have Xcode, a pre-built binary is provided and can be used by copying the PlugIns dir from prebuilt into the AVRCPAgent dir by running

cp -r ./prebuilt/PlugIns ./AVRCPAgent/

then running

./install.sh install

without performing the build. NOTE This is not recommended if you do have the ability to build yourself.

Uninstalling

  1. If uninstalling the old version, run "install.sh uninstall old"
  2. If uninstalling the current version, run "install.sh uninstall"
  3. Disconnect Bluetooth device, then reconnect.

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Finally gain control of your bluetooth headset's media buttons.

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