One of the most irritating aspect of modern day browsing is that when you open a new site and suddenly audio starts playing. It takes you almost a minute to find where on the page it is playing. And sometimes it starts playing in a different tab while you are on a different one and then you need to figure out which tab it is and then mute the tab.

Earlier all the tabs used to look same but then browsers added an audio icon to the tab that's playing the audio. And then Google decided to give more control to the user by adding the option to mute tabs as a flag setting. That option allowed you to mute tabs with one click on the audio icon in the tab. But Google being the dick it is, removed the option last year with Chrome 71. So now, you have to rely on extensions again for it. But there is one more method you can employ and which doesn't need an extension.

What we can do is to disable audio globally for all the websites by default. And then we can start adding the sites where we want the audio to play.

To do this, go to Settings > Advanced > Content Settings > Sound and toggle the switch against "Allow sites to play sound (recommended)" so that it changes to "Mute sites that play sound".

Sound Settings in Google Chrome

And now start adding sites under Allow section in the following format

[*.]youtube.com

The star will also add sub domains for that site. Add all the usual sites like Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook etc.

Option to enable sound for a website.

Next time you open a site which starts playing video/audio automatically, you won't hear anything unless you go the address bar and click on the lock(or i) icon and enable sound from there.

Change Mute Site to Mute Tab

When Chrome was dropping the whole Mute tab flag setting, it also made another change. Earlier you could mute individual tabs but now the setting has been replaced by Mute site. That means if you have a bunch of tabs from the same site and all of them are playing audio, they will all be muted with one click. It can be good in some cases but maybe you need a finer control.

Option to restore Mute Tab

To restore the earlier Mute tab functionality, open chrome://flags/#sound-content-setting in your address bar and disable the setting and relaunch the browser. It will replace the Mute site functionality with Mute tab again.