Google Chrome: tab muting is making a return

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 28, 2022
Google Chrome

Google is working on a reintroduction of tab muting functionality in the company's Chrome web browser. Chrome did support tab muting previously, but Google removed the functionality and replaced it with a side-wide muting option instead in 2017.

google chrome mute tab

Audio muting in Chrome was introduced in 2014 by Google. It is a handy option to toggle audio playback in the web browser. Current versions of the web browser support muting audio on sites only. Users may install extensions such as Tab Muter to restore the functionality in Chrome.

The most recent versions of Google Chrome Canary, the development version of Chrome, has an experimental flag that restores tab muting in the browser. Not all experimental flags make it to a browser feature, but the majority do. Reddit user Leopeva64 found additional information about the feature. It appears that Google plans to run an experiment to compare the tab muting feature with the global media controls audio muting feature.

It is possible that Google is going to remove the flag and drop its plans to reintroduce tab muting in Chrome, so keep that in mind.


Here is what you need to do to enable tab muting in Chrome Canary:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of Chrome Canary installed. Select Help > Menu > About Google Chrome to run a check for updates. Updates found will be installed automatically.
  2. Load chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting in the browser's address bar.
    • Tab audio muting UI control -- When enabled, the audio indicators in the tab strip double as tab audio mute controls. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Fuchsia
  3. Set the experimental flag to Enabled.
  4. Restart the Google Chrome web browser.

Chrome's audio indicator, which it displays next to tabs that play audio, acts as a toggle for audio playback after the restart. Left-click on the audio playback icon to mute or unmute audio of that tab.

The feature is available in all desktop versions of Google Chrome, but not the mobile versions.

Closing Words

I found individual tab muting to be the better feature, as it gives me direct control over audio playback of individual tabs in the browser. The global media control feature requires an extra click, and it displays all media playback in its interface, which may mean a bit of searching until you find the media that you want to mute.

Now You: what is your preference? Tab muting or global controls?

Google Chrome: tab muting is making a return
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Google Chrome: tab muting is making a return
Google is working on a reintroduction of tab muting functionality in the company's Chrome web browser.
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  1. Leopeva64 said on February 3, 2022 at 10:25 am

    Google has added a new dialog that will inform users that they can mute tabs by clicking the speaker icon, without this dialog users would never know this option is available and no one would use it, so the experiment to measure the use of this feature would not work:


  2. Mr Stank said on January 30, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    Experimentations like this, adding and removing useful (to me) features, made me tired and lost my interest on GChrome browser. I rely on extensions to do my job on another browser and keep my sanity intact. I am too old for chasing google’s changes, I withdraw myself from those products that compromise user friendliness.

  3. ULBoom said on January 28, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    They need Google Muting.

    1. Yash said on January 28, 2022 at 8:29 pm


  4. ridiculous_all-mighty-G said on January 28, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Ridiculous pull & push for such basic small features on all-mighty-G web browser.

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