Is there a public way to force MPNowPlayingInfoCenter to show podcast controls?

OK so I had a bit of time on my hands and so I followed the breadcrumb.…
This is what I found.

Include the MediaPlayer framework and get hold of the RemoteCommandCenter:

MPRemoteCommandCenter *rcc = [MPRemoteCommandCenter sharedCommandCenter];

then if you wanted to set the skip controls as per Overcast you can do the following:

MPSkipIntervalCommand *skipBackwardIntervalCommand = [rcc skipBackwardCommand];
[skipBackwardIntervalCommand setEnabled:YES];
[skipBackwardIntervalCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(skipBackwardEvent:)];
skipBackwardIntervalCommand.preferredIntervals = @[@(42)];  // Set your own interval

MPSkipIntervalCommand *skipForwardIntervalCommand = [rcc skipForwardCommand];
skipForwardIntervalCommand.preferredIntervals = @[@(42)];  // Max 99
[skipForwardIntervalCommand setEnabled:YES];
[skipForwardIntervalCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(skipForwardEvent:)];

and in the event handlers do what you need to do to skip by the interval:

-(void)skipBackwardEvent: (MPSkipIntervalCommandEvent *)skipEvent
    NSLog(@"Skip backward by %f", skipEvent.interval);

-(void)skipForwardEvent: (MPSkipIntervalCommandEvent *)skipEvent
    NSLog(@"Skip forward by %f", skipEvent.interval);

Note: The preferredIntervals property is an NSArray but I haven’t figured out how extra intervals can be utilised by the command center unless you do something with this yourself.

Things to note that I’ve found so far. When you do this you are taking control of all the controls so the default play and pause buttons won’t show unless you do the same for them:

MPRemoteCommand *pauseCommand = [rcc pauseCommand];
[pauseCommand setEnabled:YES];
[pauseCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(playOrPauseEvent:)];
MPRemoteCommand *playCommand = [rcc playCommand];
[playCommand setEnabled:YES];
[playCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(playOrPauseEvent:)];

(there is also a togglePlayPauseCommand defined but I could’t get this to fire from the Command Centre – it does fire from headphones though.)

Other discoveries:
The buttons are in fixed positions left / middle / right so you cant have (for example) a previousTrack and a skipBackward as they both occupy the left position.

There are seekForward / seekBackward commands that need a prevTrack and nextTrack command to be triggered. When you set up both then a single tap triggers next / previous and a press and hold triggers a begin seek and an end seek when you lift your finger.

    // Doesn’t show unless prevTrack is enabled
    MPRemoteCommand *seekBackwardCommand = [rcc seekBackwardCommand];
    [seekBackwardCommand setEnabled:YES];
    [seekBackwardCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(seekEvent:)];

    // Doesn’t show unless nextTrack is enabled
    MPRemoteCommand *seekForwardCommand = [rcc seekForwardCommand];
    [seekForwardCommand setEnabled:YES];
    [seekForwardCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(seekEvent:)];

-(void) seekEvent: (MPSeekCommandEvent *) seekEvent
    if (seekEvent.type == MPSeekCommandEventTypeBeginSeeking) {
        NSLog(@"Begin Seeking");
    if (seekEvent.type == MPSeekCommandEventTypeEndSeeking) {
        NSLog(@"End Seeking");

There is also a feedback mechanism that I haven’t seen before (occupies left position)

    MPFeedbackCommand *likeCommand = [rcc likeCommand];
    [likeCommand setEnabled:YES];
    [likeCommand setLocalizedTitle:@"I love it"];  // can leave this out for default
    [likeCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(likeEvent:)];

    MPFeedbackCommand *dislikeCommand = [rcc dislikeCommand];
    [dislikeCommand setEnabled:YES];
    [dislikeCommand setActive:YES];
    [dislikeCommand setLocalizedTitle:@"I hate it"]; // can leave this out for default
    [dislikeCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(dislikeEvent:)];

    BOOL userPreviouslyIndicatedThatTheyDislikedThisItemAndIStoredThat = YES;

    if (userPreviouslyIndicatedThatTheyDislikedThisItemAndIStoredThat) {
        [dislikeCommand setActive:YES];

    MPFeedbackCommand *bookmarkCommand = [rcc bookmarkCommand];
    [bookmarkCommand setEnabled:YES];
    [bookmarkCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(bookmarkEvent:)];

// Feedback events also have a "negative" property but Command Center always returns not negative
-(void)dislikeEvent: (MPFeedbackCommandEvent *)feedbackEvent
    NSLog(@"Mark the item disliked");

-(void)likeEvent: (MPFeedbackCommandEvent *)feedbackEvent
    NSLog(@"Mark the item liked");

-(void)bookmarkEvent: (MPFeedbackCommandEvent *)feedbackEvent
    NSLog(@"Bookmark the item or playback position");

This displays three horizontal bars and brings up an alert sheet – you can highlight these individually by setting the active property.

There is also a rating command defined – but I couldn’t get this to show in the Command Center

//    MPRatingCommand *ratingCommand = [rcc ratingCommand];
//    [ratingCommand setEnabled:YES];
//    [ratingCommand setMinimumRating:0.0];
//    [ratingCommand setMaximumRating:5.0];
//    [ratingCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(ratingEvent:)];

and a playback rate change command – but again couldn’t get this to show in Command Center

//    MPChangePlaybackRateCommand *playBackRateCommand = [rcc changePlaybackRateCommand];
//    [playBackRateCommand setEnabled:YES];
//    [playBackRateCommand setSupportedPlaybackRates:@[@(1),@(1.5),@(2)]];
//    [playBackRateCommand addTarget:self action:@selector(remoteControlReceivedWithEvent:)];

There is also a block-based target action mechanism if you prefer

// @property (strong, nonatomic) id likeHandler;
    self.likeHandler = [likeCommand addTargetWithHandler:^MPRemoteCommandHandlerStatus(MPRemoteCommandEvent *event) {
        NSLog(@"They like it");
        return MPRemoteCommandHandlerStatusSuccess;  // or fail or no such content

One final point to be aware of: If you have registered to receive remote events via [[UIApplication sharedApplication] beginReceivingRemoteControlEvents]; then some of these commands also trigger events in the – (void)remoteControlReceivedWithEvent:(UIEvent *)receivedEvent handler. These are UIEvents though with type UIEventTypeRemoteControl and a subtype to distinguish the event. You can’t mix and match these with MPRemoteCommandEvents in this method. There are hints that MPRemoteCommandEvents will replace the UIEvents at some point.

All of this based on trial and error so feel free to correct.


Screenshot of feedback command and skipforward

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