How to mute multiple noisy Chrome tabs at once

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Sometimes you run across a tip that's just so awesome you must share it with the world as soon as possible. The other day, I came across a Chrome extension (via Ghacks) that lets you use a keyboard shortcut to mute all browser tabs at once. A combination of Chrome audio controls and keyboard shortcuts? Sign. Me. Up.

One of the great things about Chrome is that it allows you to mute any tab with a single click—Firefox is working on this too. This is an especially handy feature for those times when you hit a site with auto-play audio or video. Instead of searching the page for the offending media, you just click the audio icon on the tab and you’re done.

Things get annoying, however, when you have multiple tabs blasting audio at once. It’s easy enough to click all the audio tabs one after the other, but one blanket keyboard shortcut to mute all of noisy tabs in a single blow is even better.

First, download the extension Mute Tab Shortcuts in the Chrome Web Store. Now, let’s make sure you’ve got tab audio muting enabled on your copy of Chrome. Type or copy chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting into Chrome’s address bar and click Enable. If it says Disable, just leave it alone—you’re already active.

For those of you who had to enable audio muting, you will see an alert at the bottom of the page asking you to restart the browser. Click the Relaunch Now button.

Once that’s done you are ready to mute some tabs. Here are the shortcuts:

  • Mute current tab: Alt + Shift + M
  • Mute all tabs: Alt + Shift + Comma (,)
  • Unmute all tabs: Alt + Shift + Period (.)

These are the default shortcuts, but if you’d like to change them you can do so by typing chrome://extensions in the address bar. Then scroll down to the bottom and click Keyboard shortcuts. In the window that opens, find the section under “Mute Tab Shortcuts”, edit away, and click OK when you’re done.

The extension works very well and doesn’t really do anything unexpected. You can, for example, mute all tabs with the shortcut and then click on one muted tab to re-enable the audio.

The only odd behavior is that if you use the shortcut to mute all tabs at once, you’ll see a mute icon across all open tab—even the tabs without audio playing. 

Another issue to be aware of is that muting all tabs only affects the tabs you had open when you typed the shortcut. If you open a new tab with auto-play audio or video it will not be silenced like the others. However, you can easily mute it by clicking the audio icon on the tab or typing Alt + Shift + Comma again to mute all tabs.

Happy batch muting!

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