Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
Red circle with slash through it over a speaker to represent muted sound.

Mute may refer to any of the following:

1. With computers and other digital devices, mute is a software setting that completely disables a sound file, such as music or the audio accompanying a video. The mute function is useful because it allows users to temporarily turn off sound without disrupting the playback of an audio or video file. Usually, muting or unmuting is performed via a toggle switch or button in the form of an icon on a media player's toolbar.

For example, a YouTube video may start playing an advertisement you cannot skip, but don't want to hear. Enabling mute allows the ad to run its course without the audio. Once the video starts again, you can disable mute and resume your content normally with the sound turned on.


On many laptops and keyboards with an Fn key, the F6 or Fn+F6 shortcut can mute and unmute an audio source. For example, if your audio output comes from speakers, it mutes your speakers. If you're utilizing headphones, it mutes them instead.


Most macOS keyboards have a mute button. Instead, the mute function can be enabled by holding the volume down key until the mute symbol appears on the screen.

2. On social networks, chat, and other forms of communication, mute describes temporarily or permanently hiding communication with or information relating to another person. For example, if someone is annoying or abusive, you can mute them to prevent seeing anything they say. This feature may also be known as hide or ignore.

Sound terms, Toolbar