How To Mute A Specific Tab on Chrome OS

The internet these days is filled with video advertisements. If you have multiple tabs open, it can be difficult to know which tab is making all the noise. Google is working on a neat trick through which we can know which tab is playing audio, and then mute that specific tab (instead of the whole laptop). Here’s how to enable the tab mute feature on Chrome.

First, you should know that Chrome has a tiny speaker icon on the right end of the tab that’s sending audio output. Here’s how it looks.

Hence, when you look at all your tabs, you can easily tell which one is playing audio by looking out for the speaker symbol.

To stop the audio output, you could just close the specific tab that’s playing audio and reopen it later if you want to. However, what if you want to mute that specific tab without closing it?

Google Chrome has a hidden ‘Tab Mute’ feature through which you can do just that.

  1. Go to chrome://flags using your Google Chrome address bar.
  2. Press Ctrl + F to open the search box. This box will turn up on the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Type ‘mute’ in the box. That will take you to the first instance of the word ‘mute’ on the page. It should look like this.
  4. Under the ‘Tab audio muting UI control’, click the blue ‘Enable’ button.
  5. Once you click Enable, click on the ‘Restart Now’ button that appears.

This will restart Chrome, and the tab mute feature will be enabled. To use this feature, all you have to do is to click on the speaker icon on the tab with audio output. For example, here’s how it will look if a Youtube video is playing on the background.

If you click on the speaker icon on the Youtube tab, the tab will be muted and its audio output will be cut off. The speaker icon also changes to display that the tab has been muted.

This is how you can enable and use the Tab Mute feature on Chrome OS. It can come in pretty handy whenever you want to shut off audio for a tab without muting the whole laptop.

1. Mute Site on Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome, and right-click on the tab for the website that you want to mute which also shows a sound icon as shown in the image below.
    The sound icon looks like this. This icon is not clickable which means you cannot click it to mute it.
Clicking right on any of the tabs would show you these options. Now you need to notice how it is written ‘mute site’ and not mute ‘tab. This means, clicking on this option will mute the entire website. For instance, if you are muting Youtube, you will have no sound on another tab for Youtube unless you unmute the site. When a tab/website is muted, the sound icon shows a line over it, which displays that this tab/site has its sound muted.

While the easiest way to mute a website on Google Chrome simply by following the steps as mentioned above. Click the right cursor on the tab of the website which you want to mute, and then on the option for ‘Mute Site’.

Muting the website entirely, is sometimes not what every user wants. For instance, you opened Youtube in two different windows, and if you muted the website, you will eventually have to unmute it to use it on the other tab. If you don’t want this and want a specific tab on Google Chrome to be muted, you can follow the instructions provided below.

2. Google Chrome Flag Updates

Google Chrome has been updated to a whole new level in a year’s time. While previously, you could have used the flag for ‘Tab audio muting UI control’  in the search bar for chrome flags, but now, this flag has been removed entirely from the list. That, however, does not mean that you cannot mute a tab on chrome anymore. You can, but the option you will be now using will be under the title ‘Sound content settings‘ in chrome flags. And whereas in ‘Tab audio muting UI control’, you used to Enable the settings to mute a tab, for ‘Sound content settings‘ you will ‘Disable’ the option.

If you still don’t get it, follow the steps mentioned below.

  1. Open the Chrome flags following the same old methods. type in, ‘chrome://flags’ in your search bar for Google and the screen for flags will open. Or, simply type in ‘chrome://flags/#sound-content-setting’
    flags on chrome
  2. Now from the screen that appears, you can search for the title ‘Sound content settings’ by typing this in the search space provided on top of this screen.
    Sound content settings. chrome://flags/#sound-content-setting
  3.  The settings for this tab are set on default, which is why we only see the option for ‘mute site’. To change this option to mute ‘tab’, we need to click on the downward-facing blue arrow right opposite ‘default’ which will open a dropdown list of options to choose from.
    You need to click on the option ‘Disabled’ here.
  4. Select the option ‘Disabled’. And now you will be asked to relaunch Chrome. You need to click on the tab for a relaunch that appears in the bottom right corner of the screen. All your currently open tabs will close done, and re-open within the next few seconds so don’t worry about losing any data.
  5. Now, once Google Chrome has been relaunched, and all your tabs have been restored, you can now mute tabs by following the same method we used to mute ‘site’. Right, click on the tab that you want to mute, and notice that the option has now been redesigned and says ‘mute tab’ instead of ‘mute site’.
    You can now mute a specific tab and as many tabs as you like.

Muting a Tab vs Muting a Website

The key difference here between the two is very obvious, the word site and tab explain it all. Muting a website means limiting yourself. You won’t hear any notification sounds from that site whatsoever because you muted the ‘site’. However, if you mute a single ‘tab’, you will still receive notifications from the same website if it is open in another tab on your computer. You are not limited here, which is why you must enable this option on your chrome. Make the most out of it now till this flag lasts. Flags usually are not there to stay as Google keeps updating their system often. Just how previously a different flag was used to mute a tab, you can expect changes in the flags in the coming future as well.


Nishant Kauntia

Nishant is a tech-enthusiast, and keeps experimenting with new apps and tweaks on his Chromebook and Android smartphone. Innovative user-experience developments fascinate him. Apart from keeping a keen eye out for updates in the tech industry, Nishant is interested in Philosophy and Creative Writing.