If there’s one feature I love about Chrome it’s the volume indicator that lets you know which tab is pumping out auto-playing audio or video. Without it I’d never be able to track down which of my gazillion open tabs is screaming at me.
But the noise indicator is so 2014. For 2015, Google is playing around with the ability to mute noisy tabs with one click. Instead of switching to the tab and scrolling around the page to find the offending video or audio, a new hidden feature lets you silence the noise by clicking on a tab’s speaker icon.
Here’s how it works.
The new feature is currently experimental, which means you have to enable a Chrome flag to get it working.
Start by entering chrome://flags in Chrome’s address bar. Hit Ctrl + f to open the search function, then type Enable tab audio muting UI control in the text entry box in the upper-right corner.
The search will bring you straight to the hidden feature. Next, click the Enable link and close the tab.
You need to reboot Chrome before the feature will work.
Click the upward-facing arrow in the system tray, which is on the far-right side of the taskbar, then right-click the Chrome icon and select Exit.
After the Chrome window disappears, start up the browser again. Now you can test the mute feature by opening YouTube and selecting a video. Next, open another tab such as email, a news site, Facebook…whatever. Once the YouTube video starts playing you’ll see the volume icon in the tab. Now just click the icon (you don’t have to switch to the tab first), the sound will be muted, and a red circle with a line will appear on top of the volume icon.
To re-enable sound in a particular tab, just click the volume icon again.
That’s it. Enjoy one-click access to the sounds of silence.