Mute Noisy Tabs in One Click

Has this ever happened to you? You have several web browser tabs open, and suddenly one of the background tabs play a video or advertisement. Or worse, multiple tabs begin playing annoying audio at once.

This happens to me when researching technical issues online. I have a habit of opening many tabs in the background from a web search and reviewing them afterward. Often, some tab will play audio I don’t want over my music.

Tracking down the offending tab, finding the video buried in the page, and then hitting “pause” used to be a real hassle. Hitting the master “mute” on my PC meant that my music was also muted – quite annoying.

Fortunately most web browsers now feature a simple one-click solution. Plus, there is a bonus special trick for Chrome users.

If you are using Chrome, Edge Firefox or Safari, an icon appears in tabs that have audio playing.

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Hovering over the icon will give you more information. Here’s an example from Chrome.

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In Firefox and Safari, clicking the speaker icon will mute the audio. Clicking a second time enables the audio again.

Microsoft Edge also has this feature in the November 2017 early adopter version of Windows 10. It should roll out to all Windows 10 users soon.

Internet Explorer doesn’t have this feature. Sorry, IE users.

Chrome works a little differently. By default in Chrome, you right-click and select the Mute Tab menu. However, there’s a way to fix Chrome to make this a single-click like Firefox and Safari. Read on.

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After you click the icon or use the right-click menu, your audio is muted and the speaker icon indicates the change. You don’t even have to switch away from the tab you are currently reading. Whew.

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Bonus: How to set Chrome to work with a single click.

If you are using Chrome, you can go to this special URL to enable one-click muting. You’ll need to copy and paste it into your address bar:

chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

You’ll see this screen, click the Enable button.

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This button will pop up at the bottom of your window, click Relaunch Now.

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Once you’ve enabled that option, you can simply click the icon like Firefox, Safari and Edge users.


Bonus #2: Josh Turner is a talented player. His cover of Dire Straits is fun to watch.

Written by David Finster

Technical consultant and computer support. Text or call me for your tech support needs: 941-444-9771