General

What does Breakaway do?

Breakaway automatically pauses your music when you disconnect your headphones or mute the system audio. And when you reconnect or unmute, it conveniently resumes, letting you pick up right were you left off.

In a nutshell, this quality-of-life app automatically pauses and resumes your music in everyday scenarios so you don't have to, enhancing your productivity and letting you relax a little bit more.

If you've ever blasted your 90's playlist accidentally by unplugging your headphones, or got lost in a podcast after hitting mute to talk to someone, Breakaway is the app for you!

That's great, but doesn't my system already do that?

Sort of. If you've been using Apple products for a while, it's easy to see how you think it does. Products like iPhones and iPods have a pause on unplug feature, but they don't resume when you reconnect. And products like the iMac and MacBook never had the ability to do either of these things—that is, until Breakaway came along.

However, with the advent of AirPods, the story gets a little more complicated. Some apps, but not all, support the AirPods ear detection feature and automatically pause and resume music based on that. But this only works for AirPods though, not with traditional wired headphones.

Why not use the play button on my keyboard?

The automatic pause on unplug feature is only available using Breakaway, and the play button on your keyboard can't replicate this functionality. But you might be wondering why pause on mute is useful to have. After all, there is a dedicated button on the keyboard to pause and play music, right?

Well, you could use that media playback key... sometimes. It's sort of in the same boat as the AirPods ear detection feature, in that it works for some apps, but not all. Using Breakaway's mute functionality ensures a consistant experience, so anything that can be paused by disconnecting your headphones, can also be paused by the mute button.

Breakaway also works with external keyboards that don't have dedicated media playback keys. As long as it has volume control keys that work, then Breakaway works. Simple.

And through the mute button, Breakaway takes advantage of something you already do: control the volume. Whether you need to raise up the volume for a soft song, or lower it on a loud video or to talk to someone, you do it instinctively without even thinking.

Now, maybe you already hit the mute button when you need to take care of something quickly. In that case, Breakaway just does the right thing and pauses your music for you. But what if you turn the volume all the way down to zero? Well, Breakaway does the right thing in this scenario too, pausing your music!

Breakaway intelligently handles all these situations without burdening you with another key or hotkey to memorize; using the volume control keys you already use, Breakaway just works.

What if I don't want Breakaway to resume my music automatically?

By default, Breakaway behaves intuitively so you don't need to worry about configuring it. The default rule essentially is, "if Breakaway paused it, Breakaway will resume it." In most cases, this does exactly what you want. However, if the defaults aren't meeting your personal needs, it's easy to adjust so it fits you perfectly.

If you don't need the resume functionality, you can disable just that feature. Or if you want it to always start playing music no matter what, you can do that too! You have the power!

What if I want it to do something completely different?

No problem. Pausing and resuming music is Breakaway's bread and butter, but it is capable of much more. You can create custom actions which run AppleScripts, Automator workflows, shell scripts, and executables to do whatever you want!

You can load custom EQ settings when you connect your headphones. You can have the display lock when you disconnect your headphones. You can make a timer that is toggled on and off by the mute button, so you know how long you have been taking a break or talking with someone. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

If you need help setting something up, or if you want to know if something is possible, you can always contact us!

What apps does Breakaway natively support?

Out of the box, Breakaway is able to automatically pause and resume music from the following apps:

Note that Breakaway currently does not work with Apple's latest Podcast app introduced in macOS Catalina (10.15).

Can I make Breakaway work with different apps?

If the app has some sort of programmable interface, then yes, you can... and you don't need to be some hotshot programmer to do it either! All it takes is a couple of simple scripts to control the player. AppleScript, macOS's native scripting language, usually can get the job done with it's English-like "code." It really can be as simple as "tell application iTunes to play".

Should you need to make an AppleScript, everything is already on your computer, ready to go. It's built into every macOS install, so you don't need to download or install anything extra.

I like to listen to music on YouTube. Can Breakaway work with that?

Yes it can! If you browse the web using Safari, Breakaway works with many websites that have video playback, including YouTube and Vimeo. It works by treating your browser like a music app, but instead of pausing and playing music, it detects when you are watching a video and automatically pauses and resumes that instead.

The web is constantly changing, so it's impossible to list all the websites that Breakaway is compatible with. However, here are a few popular websites that have been recently tested and known to work:

What about browsers other than Safari, like Firefox or Chrome?

Not currently. If this is a feature you would like to see, let us know!

Hardware

Does Breakaway work with external DACs/ADCs/audio interfaces?

Yes and no, depending on how the device is presented to macOS. Some third-party audio devices have physical buttons and knobs to control volume, others use the built-in macOS sound system, and some use both. As long as you can control the volume through the macOS sound interface, Breakaway's mute/unmute functionality should work.

Headphone connect/disconnect detection probably won't work with third-party devices. Although it's technically possible, none of the devices we've come across have the right hardware and software to support it.

How about AirPods?

Partially. Like any other device, Breakaway can automatically pause and resume music if that device can be muted and unmuted through the macOS sound interface, which includes AirPods. However, Breakaway doesn't detect when AirPods are connected or disconnected, so it won't pause and resume music based on those events.

The reason Breakaway doesn't support the latter is because some apps natively support AirPods and offer Breakaway-like features already (albeit not as comprehensive). More importantly, there isn't a good way to detect or cooperate with these kinds of apps, so if Breakaway did implement such a feature, it could end up fighting with the other app over the playback state.

What about extension cables?

It depends on how you use them. To date, Apple's hardware only detects cables plugged directly into the laptop or desktop itself. So if your headphones are connected through an extension cable that you directly connect and disconnect from your computer's headphone jack, Breakaway will work.

However, if you leave an extension cable plugged into your Mac all the time and just connect and disconnect your headphones from the free end of the cable, Breakaway can't detect this.

Buying

Is Breakaway one of those "freemium" apps or packed with annoying ads?

Nope, Breakaway has no ads, no analytics, and no in-app purchases. You just buy it and it works. Simple, straightforward, and easy, just like it should be.

How much does Breakaway cost?

Breakaway costs about 15 USD, or the equivalent amount in your native currency. That's roughly the cost of a nice lunch, except you get to enjoy Breakaway for much much longer, not just for one sitting. See the app's page in the Mac App Store for more information.

Do you offer refunds?

Billing is handled by Apple through the Mac App Store, so you request refunds through them. Details may vary, but their general policy is you have 90 days from the date of download to request a refund.

That being said, if you are having trouble getting things working or have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us! We proudly stand behind our product and will work with you to address any questions or issues you may have.

Even if you ultimately decide that Breakaway isn't for you, we'd still like to hear from you! Our engineers keep pushing back the schedule on the mind reading machine, so until they get their act together, we need your feedback, good or bad, to get an idea of how we are doing. If you don't say anything, we have no way of knowing!

What all is included with my purchase?

You get the entire app, fully featured and DRM free. You also get updates and bug fixes for the lifetime of the major version. The last major version was released about a decade ago, if that's any indicator for how frequently they happen.

And of course, if you run into any issues or need help getting something setup, you can reach out to us directly.

Help

I'm having some issues or may have found a bug!

If you haven't already found it, Breakaway has a built-in help system which might be able to address your problem. In addition to a general overview of the app and all the preferences, you'll find a troubleshooting section for many common issues. It contains much of the same information we'd initially ask you if you contacted us.

If you've already tried that or just have a gut feeling something isn't quite right (the app won't launch, crashes, catches on fire, etc), don't hesitate to contact us!

Miscellaneous

Is this the same Breakaway app from way back in the day?

Yes, it is! Well, sort of. The program has been largely rewritten to work with new apps and conform with Apple's latest frameworks and security policies. But yes, we are the developers behind the original program from the late 2000's, and we're both shocked and humbled that you remembered!

I'm a geek. How does all this work?

Well, it turns out when you take highly refined sand, blast it with impurities in just the right way, and... oh, you mean the app?

Breakaway is a native app written mainly with C, Objective-C, and good old fashioned elbow grease. The meat of the program interfaces with CoreAudio and working around the (many) limitations thereof. If you've worked with CoreAudio before, you probably understand.

If you want more specifics or want to talk shop, feel free to contact us and we might be able to divulge some of our secret sauce. Or, if you are a developer of a music app and want Breakaway to support it natively, get in touch and we can discuss how to make that happen.