Limit Firefox audio playback to one tab - gHacks Tech News

Limit Firefox audio playback to one tab

Smart Tab Mute is a browser add-on for the Firefox web browser that limits audio playback in the browser to a single tab at a time.

If you open five tabs with videos, games and other content that plays audio in your browser of choice, you may notice that audio starts to play out of all five tabs regardless of active tab.

While that may not be such an issue, the fact that audio playback is enabled for all five tabs as well is one.

There are manual ways around this, for instance by never opening more than one tab that plays audio at a time, or by pausing any secondary video or audio stream.

Note: Smart Tab Mute is based on a Google Chrome extension. If you use Chrome, you can download and install the extension to get the same functionality.

Smart Tab Mute

smart tab mute

Smart Tab Mute is one of those browser extensions that you don't interact directly with. It sits silently in the background, and becomes active automatically when a second or more tabs are opened that play video.

It uses a straightforward algorithm to determine what to do then. Any audio playing tab that is in the background gets muted automatically, while the foreground tab continues to play audio.

If the foreground tab does not play audio, the last tab that gets opened is allowed to play audio, while all other tabs are muted automatically.

The audio playing tab that was opened second last is allowed to play audio automatically when you close that last tab, and so on.

This means that audio playback is started automatically in this situation, so that you don't even have to click on the mute icon or even switch to the tab to start playback.

Smart Tab Mute won't interfere with audio elements that you have stopped or paused manually however. It won't start those videos or media streams on its own again if that is the case.

The add-on ships with two options that let you control the behavior somewhat. The first blocks the unmuting of the last tab automatically when the currently playing tab is closed.

smart tab mute blacklist

The second option provides you with a blacklist of sites that you want to exclude from the add-on's functionality. This can be useful if you want to ensure that a service may always play audio, for instance when it uses audio for its notification system.

Closing Words

Smart Tab Mute is a useful Firefox add-on for users of the browser who run sometimes or often into situations where multiple sites start to play audio at the same time.

Now You: Did you ever run into audio playback issues in your browser of choice?

Summary
software image
Author Rating
1star1star1star1star1star
3.5 based on 3 votes
Software Name
Smart Tab Mute
Software Category
Browser
Landing Page




  • We need your help

    Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

    We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.

    If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

    Comments

    1. Adam Dempsey said on January 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm
      Reply

      Anything similar for Safari?

    2. Dongo said on January 31, 2017 at 4:25 pm
      Reply

      I never ran into this problem but maybe that’s due to the way I browse, we’re all different.

      “If the foreground tab does not play audio, the last tab that gets opened is allowed to play audio, while all other tabs are muted automatically.”

      I would have expected the FIRST tab opened to be allowed though. I clicked on it first either because I saw it first or was most interested in it. Either way, I’d expect it to play before others.

      Good tool to have though, even if I’ll pass.

    3. Tom Hawack said on January 31, 2017 at 4:49 pm
      Reply

      Another great tool for the tab-eaters! I never open another tab, surf elsewhere when viewing a video. Concerning an audio track should I encounter a tab auto-starting either a video or a sound track that I’d use Firefox’s built-in per-tab audio on/off.

      For those who have 200 tabs open, 50 audio tracks and 25 videos running simultaneously, the tool is providential of course. Still, I sometimes have the feeling some developers try to find a situation to apply their code and not the other way around, but that’s just a feeling.

      1. _Handsome_Jack said on January 31, 2017 at 4:57 pm
        Reply

        xD

        I wonder how you do research on a topic if you barely open any new tab. Meanwhile, I finally figured out that there has been an extension that allows better tab management all along: Tree Style Tabs! After having taken the time to configure it to my tastes, I realised it’s a decent replacement for Trails.

        1. Tom Hawack said on January 31, 2017 at 5:18 pm
          Reply

          Nice way of bringing up those Tree Style Tabs, _Handsome_Jack! Like “This is the situation – This is your problem – This is the solution”. Brilliant °_°

          Lawyers, commercials and advertisers, common procedures. LOL.

          So you’re a fan of ’em Tree Style Tabs experimental feature, are you? Hmmm.

          I happen to have many tabs open. “Many” here means a dozen or so but whatever, I don’t move around whan a video is playing. The probability to have the use of this add-on is low in my case

        2. Tom Hawack said on January 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm
          Reply

          Concerning search in my Web life, I’d love to say ‘I don’t search, I find’ [“Je ne cherche pas, je trouve”; a famous quote of Picasso, where he criticizes the ‘searching’ artists] (Yeps, Wikipedia) but that would be nonsense. Could be a Windows10 slogan nevertheless, slightly remanufactured : “You don’t search, we find”

          I had to say it. Thought it’d make me look smart. Parentheses closed. 8D

        3. _Handsome_Jack said on January 31, 2017 at 6:44 pm
          Reply

          “Nice way of bringing up those Tree Style Tabs, _Handsome_Jack! Like “This is the situation – This is your problem – This is the solution”. Brilliant °_°

          Lawyers, commercials and advertisers, common procedures. LOL.”

          ♪ Shaaaring is caaaaring ♪

          (TST is an old add-on. The Experiment you could be talking about unless I got it wrong, is Vertical Tabs. It sucks compared to TST which is…just you guess it…a tree style organisation of tabs, yes, you’re spot on, congrats, that also allows very nice UI tweaks to claim back real estate for content as a side effect.)

          Speaking of UI tweaks, you Owner of a Thousand Programs, would you happen to know of a tiny Windows 7 app that can allow me to set a program window (Firefox in my case) as “always below” ? For the life of me I can’t find anything.

          Sorry sorry, let me try to make a comment on topic for once… Well, I think this feature may be useful to a decent amount of people considering so many browsers are starting to implement similar things by default, including Opera, Opera Neon, Firefox, Chrome, and maybe Edge and Vivaldi ? (I at least got a couple of them right in the list, promise.)

        4. Tom Hawack said on January 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm
          Reply

          My mistake, _Handsome_Jack. I had in mind a recent GHacks article, “Trails: Lossless Web Navigation experiment by Mozilla” when reading about your ‘Tree Style Tabs’ … was unaware as I don’t use that add-on, but now I recall it, indeed.

          You write,
          “Speaking of UI tweaks, you Owner of a Thousand Programs, would you happen to know of a tiny Windows 7 app that can allow me to set a program window (Firefox in my case) as “always below” ? For the life of me I can’t find anything.”

          Do you mean “not topmost” as opposed to “topmost”? If so I use a little app called Powerpro ( http://powerpro.cresadu.com/ ) which includes a myriad of features, the ability to set a window topmost or not being one of them. Otherwise, if I do collection Firefox add-ons on the other hand I don’t have that many applications/software in the computer. I had many more years ago when with XP …

          I understand your approach of tabbing. I was joking easily considering that I use few tabs at once as you know. otherwise indeed your concern is pertinent.

        5. _Handsome_Jack said on January 31, 2017 at 7:56 pm
          Reply

          I meant, uh…let’s call it bottommost. Like, lock the window to background (well it’s still above the desktop), so that any small program I interact with when Firefox is maximized will not disappear behind Firefox when I switch focus to it.

          Since it can be any program, I would have to make everything topmost, which would probably kill flexibility in the order of those topmost tabs related to one another, OR I could make just Firefox bottommost.

          Your tool has a “foreground” checkbox, not sure it has what I’d like to try. Thanks either way, I guess I’ll ask Martin if I get a chance :)

          I should stop spamming the article of this nice, nonintrusive add-on, apologies to its developer.

    4. neil said on February 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm
      Reply

      personally i want no tab to ever auto play anything; video or audio but finding ways to stop this is not as easy as personal choice in preferences tab!

      1. neil said on February 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm
        Reply

        seems my request in firefox has been noted as a bug:
        https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1301099

        now to hope and pray that sense will prevail.

        i mean open tab in office and audio starts blearing; how to annoy everyone!

    Leave a Reply