Lots of times, I’m listening to my favorite music on my headphones from iTunes. Since I have noise isolation headphones, I have to take them off to hear anything in my surroundings, and sometimes I forget to pause iTunes when I take my headphones off. Later, when I unplug the headphones, music comes blasting out of the inbuilt speakers on my MacBook Pro, which can be very annoying. I then fumble to quickly pause or mute the speakers.
Other times, when I’m playing music on speakers (inbuilt or external), I sometimes just mute the volume instead of pausing the track, and it keeps on playing in the background wasting both battery life as well as you move on in your playlist, which is undesirable.
Breakaway is a freeware app for Mac OS X that takes care of these minor annoyances and make your life just a little bit easier by stepping in at the right time and making sure that the currently playing track is paused when you’re not listening to it. For example, when your headphones are plugged in, and you’re listening to something on iTunes, the track is automatically paused when you unplug the headphones.
Also, when you press the mute button on the keyboard, if a track is playing in iTunes, it is paused. That is pretty much all the Breakaway does, and is therefore a nifty little tool, very lightweight, which sits in your status bar when you’re not actively changing anything about it.
Out of the box, Breakaway works with iTunes, but you can extend it with plugins to perform additional actions on the events that it listens to (headphone jack connectivity change, and mute state change). This is really great, as people with customized needs can create their own plugins (or download ones made by others) to perform custom actions.
Whenever you plug-in or plug-out your headphones, Breakaway also generates a confirmation notification to tell you that it has indeed paused/resumed the playback in iTunes. Another handy feature. If your status bar is really cluttered with extraneous apps (like mine is), you can hide the menu bar icon, in the preferences. Kudos to the developer for allowing me to do this.