Enable A Native Mute Button For Chrome Tabs

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A few months back, a Chrome update added a speaker icon that would appear on all tabs that were playing audio. The new addition is great since a lot of sites run ads that are in fact videos, with sound. The ads are sometimes hidden very well at the bottom of the page and you would end up searching forever without that helpful indicator to guide you. It makes life pretty easy but it’s more than just a useful badge added to your tab; it actually has a function, albeit an experimental one. The speaker icon can work as a mute button if you enable a flag on Chrome. Here’s how.

Open a new tab,  type chrome://flags, and hit Enter. Search for the ‘Enable tab audio muting UI control’ and restart Chrome. Whenever you make a change to a flag, a handy Relaunch button appears at the bottom of the Chrome://flags page to let you restart your browser with your browsing session intact.

mute UI chrome

Open a YouTube video to try the new mute button out. This button works for both when the tab is selected, and when it’s in the background. Once the speaker icon appears, hover your mouse cursor over it. It will transform into a speaker with a slashed line over it to indicate the mute state. Click the icon when it changes and the tab will be muted.

chrome_mute_button

As mentioned before this is an experimental feature so enable it at your own risk. It’s really useful and I hope it makes it to a stable version soon. Depending on how much trouble it might potentially cause, I’d risk it. Usually if I have music playing in one tab and I’m working in a different one, I use my keyboard’s mute button to silence music when I need to. It calls for a little fumbling over which is the right key and it’s more convenient than switching tabs. The audio indicator acting as a mute button should help speeds things up nicely.

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  • CybercoMs

    I wonder (haven’t checked, just read article) if the speaker icon is bound to s keyboard shortcut?

    • David Margolin

      tested it and nope

  • Dixe Helton

    Worked fine for me