Chrome's Media Control widget gets finally a Mute button

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 24, 2021
Google Chrome

Google Chrome's global media controls feature will get a mute button soon. Google started to roll out the global media controls feature in Chrome 79, released in December 2019. Designed as a way to control media playback from Chrome's toolbar, it improved a user's ability to control playback.

Previously, Google Chrome users had to switch to the tab that was playing media to stop it right on the page. With the new controls widget in place, users can use it top pause and stop media, skip forward or backward, or jump to the previous or next video or track.

Global media controls lacked supported for a mute button or volume slider; this meant that Chrome users needed to activate the tab with the media in the browser to modify the volume or mute/unmute it, even with the media control widget in place.

The latest Google Chrome Canary version introduces support for a mute button to mute/unmute media that plays in Chrome without having to switch to tabs anymore to change the state using the media player element on the page.


chrome mute media

Google Chrome did and does support audio muting capabilities. Previously, Chrome users could use the audio indicator icon in tabs to mute/unmute audio with a single click. The feature was comfortable, but Google changed it in 2018 when it removed the functionality and replaced it with controls to mute the entire site instead.

Chrome users who want tab-based muting back may want to take a look at the Smart Mute extension for the web browser.

The new mute feature brings back the individual tab-based audio muting capabilities, albeit in a different form and a central location.

The new mute option of the media control feature of Chrome is in the state of being rolled out to all Canary users. You may unlock it right away by setting the preference chrome://flags/#global-media-controls-modern-ui to Enabled.

The new mute option should be visible after a restart then.

Chrome displays controls for each audio playback source in the interface; this means, that you get multiple mute options for these, but no global mute option in the controls.

Chrome users who use casting functionality may notice the new volume slider and device selector footer view that is now  available as well. The volume slider is not available for media playback in Chrome, only for cast operations.

Closing Words

The mute option improves the usefulness of the media playback control of Google Chrome significantly, as it is no longer necessary to activate the tab to mute/unmute audio, or to right-click on the tab to mute the entire site. Muting does not stop media playback.

Now You: how do you control media playback in your browser? (thanksLeo)

Chrome's Media Control widget gets finally a Mute button
Article Name
Chrome's Media Control widget gets finally a Mute button
Google Chrome's media control feature is getting a mute button to mute/unmute audio playback in the Chrome browser from the main toolbar.
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  1. Jeff M.S. said on August 24, 2021 at 11:09 am

    What I want from Chrome is the media keys on the keyboard only affecting the active tab, not background tabs. If I accidentally press them while I am on another tab, it shouldn’t affect media paused or playing in another tab unless I switch to the tab playing it.

  2. Leopeva64 said on August 24, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    “Previously, Chrome users could use the audio indicator icon in tabs to mute/unmute audio with a single click. ”

    Speaking of which, Google *could bring back the option to quickly mute or unmute a tab by clicking the speaker icon:


    1. Leopeva64 said on January 27, 2022 at 12:26 pm

      Google has finally restored the option to mute tabs by clicking the speaker icon (in Chrome Canary):


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