Last updated: October 9, 2017
The Google Chrome web browser conveniently displays a speaker icon in a browser tab as an audio indicator when audio is playing in that tab. If the sound is unwanted, there is no need to mute your entire system sound by tapping the Mute button on your keyboard, or by clicking the Speakers icon in your system tray. Users may simply mute the sound originating from that particular tab — if you know how to mute tabs in Google Chrome.
In older versions of Chrome, users were required to first enable tab audio muting UI control under Flags, then click the speaker icon to mute audio in that tab. A browser restart was needed to activate the feature. With the arrival of Chrome 46, however, that is no longer how to mute tabs in Google Chrome. Flags features are essentially beta features. Although the Enable tab audio muting UI control feature is still present under chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting, enabling or disabling it does not have an apparent effect on the tab-muting functionality in the latest Chrome version.
When the audio indicator is present in a Chrome tab, users are no longer able to simply click the speaker icon to mute tab audio. Instead, users must right-click on the tab, and select Mute tab from the right-click menu.
With the tab muted, the audio indicator is modified with a diagonal strike-through. To unmute audio in the tab, right-click on the tab and choose Unmute tab from the right-click menu.
The option to Mute and Unmute tabs is present in the right-click menu regardless if there is audio playing or not. If a user selects to mute a tab where no audio is playing, and no audio indicator is present, the mute icon still displays in the tab. This is handy to preemptively mute the audio in a tab. It is important to note that a tab remains muted even when you change locations within that tab. Keep an eye on the audio indicator if you expect to hear audio, but don’t. It may be that a tab you muted has remained muted as you navigate to another site.
It was faster and easier to single-click on the tab audio indicator to mute and unmute tabs. We love the option to mute tabs on a per-tab basis, as well as no longer needing to manually enable this feature. But needing to now do so from a right-click menu is more cumbersome. Thank you for visiting Tech Help Knowledgebase to learn how to mute tabs in Google Chrome.