Enable Media Player Controls in System Tray in Ubuntu [Quick Tip]

GNOME desktop doesn’t include the media player controls in the system tray menu. Here’s how to get it back in Ubuntu and other distributions using the GNOME desktop environment.

Rhythmbox is a nice application with all the necessary features you would expect in a standard music player. It is the default music player in a number of Linux distributions for a reason.

One ‘feature’ of Rhythmbox is that when you click the close button while playing a music file, it doesn’t really close the application. The player simply ‘disappears’ from your screen but the music would still be played in the background.

In Unity and some other desktop environments, you can access the minimized Rhythmbox player from the audio menu in the top system tray.

But that doesn’t happen anymore starting with Ubuntu 18.04 or should I say it doesn’t happen in GNOME desktop environment. You won’t find it in the system tray.

Don’t worry. It’s not disappeared completely. The minimized player stays in the notification area in the GNOME desktop. You can still control it with media keys on your keyboard.

Audio control is in the notification area in Ubuntu GNOME
Media Player Controls are in Notification Area

If you take my advice, I would suggest you should get used to the way GNOME works. But if you really want to get the media player controls back in the system tray, you could do that. Let me show you that.

Enable media player indicator in system tray in Ubuntu

I guess you are familiar with GNOME extensions. These are tiny plugins that extend the capabilities of the GNOME desktop.

To enable the media player controls in the system tray, you can use such a GNOME extension called Media Player Indicator.

You can find this extension on GNOME extension website or simply search for Media Player Indicator in the Software Center and install it from there.

Media Player Indicator GNOME Extension

I am guessing that you should enable GNOME Extensions as well.

Once you have installed it, you can see that media player controls are now visible in the system tray.

Media Player Indicator GNOME Extension puts media player controls back in the system tray

The good thing about the Media Player Indicator is that it provides you some configuration options as well to further customize the location and behavior of the media player controls.

Configuration option for Media Player Indicator in GNOME
Configuration option for Media Player Indicator

You can even use the settings to remove the media player controls from the notification area.

If you want to remove the Media Player Indicator, simply go to the Software Center, search for it and click on remove. It will be removed immediately.

What do you think?

I tested it quickly and found it a handy plugin for people who like the media controls in the system tray. However, I shall stick to the default GNOME behavior because keeping the media controls in the system tray doesn’t really add any value, in my opinion.

How about you? Will you use this indicator and put the media player controls back in the system tray or will you stick with the notification area? 

Become a Better Linux User

With the FOSS Weekly Newsletter, you learn useful Linux tips, discover applications, explore new distros and stay updated with the latest from Linux world

It's FOSS

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to It's FOSS.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.