How to Mute and Disable Other Participant Mics in Google Hangouts Meet Calls

As an IT professional with over 10 years of experience managing video conferencing solutions for businesses, I often get asked how to control audio settings for other participants in Google Hangouts Meet calls. With more companies relying on Hangouts Meet for meetings and virtual events, hosts and co-hosts need options to mute or disable mics if there is background noise or interruptions.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain multiple methods for muting and disabling mics for individuals or all participants as the meeting host or co-host. Whether you are new to Hangouts Meet or an experienced user, these tips will help you run calls smoothly by minimizing unwanted background sounds.

Prerequisites for Muting Participants as Host/Co-Host

Before getting into the step-by-step instructions, you need to understand the role of hosts and co-hosts. Only designated hosts and co-hosts of Hangouts Meet calls can control the mic settings for other participants.

Here are some key prerequisites:

  • Assigned Host or Co-Host Role: You must be the host who scheduled the meeting or a co-host who was given privileges by the main host. Participants cannot mute others unless made co-host.
  • Accessing Call Controls: As host or co-host, you can mute participants directly from the web browser or mobile app during a call. You cannot pre-configure this before a call.
  • Presenting and Muting: If you mute all as host, your mic will also be muted if currently presenting. You will need to unmute yourself manually if still presenting.

Individual Mute by Participant Name

The easiest way to mute someone’s disruptive background noise or typing sounds is to mute them directly by name. Here are the steps:

  1. While in a Hangouts Meet call, locate the participant’s name in the sidebar or under the main video window.
  2. Hover over the name and click on the Mute icon that appears.
  3. The mute icon will switch to a mic icon with a strikethrough line, indicating they are now muted.
  4. To unmute them, simply click the icon again and select Unmute.
  • This option mutes the individual locally on your side only. Other participants will still hear them.
  • You can follow the same process to disable an individual participant’s video feed. Look for the Stop video icon.

Mute All Participants at Once

As the meeting host or co-host, you can mute the audio for all participants at the same time:

  1. While in the Hangouts Meet call, locate the People icon (it looks like a human silhouette) at the bottom of your call window.
  2. Click on the icon to open the participants panel so you can Mute all or unmute all as needed.
  3. A pop-up prompt will confirm you want to mute or unmute everyone before applying the change.
  • Use this when you need to quickly mute the crowd for announcements or transitions in the event agenda.
  • It will simultaneously mute or unmute all participants except the host and any co-hosts.

Lock Mute All Setting for All Participants

For situations when you know you want all attendees to stay muted for the duration of the call, there is a setting to lock mute all:

  1. Follow the same steps to access the participant panel and select Mute all.
  2. Once muted, look for the switch to toggle on Lock mute all.
  3. This grays out the main mute all button, ensuring it stays on lockdown even if you toggle it on and off.
  4. To undo this, simply turn off the Lock mute all switch.

This is handy for large webinars or presentations when you want attendees to remain silent listeners without distracting noise. Just remember to communicate that expectation at the start that mics are muted.

Troubleshooting Audio Issues

Despite best efforts to control mics as the host, you may still run into issues with unwanted background noise or echoes:

  • Ask participants to mute themselves when not speaking, especially if there is typing, kids, or pets making noise.
  • Ensure participants are not using both computer and phone audio simultaneously, creating an echo effect.
  • Disable computer/device microphone access if the hardware is causing echoes and switch to phone call audio only.
  • As a last resort, individually mute participants causing issues or mute all to resolve it.

Additional Tips for Managing Google Hangouts Meet Audio

Here are some additional tips for hosts and co-hosts to run smooth calls:

  • Use headset microphones whenever possible, especially hosts, to maximize audio quality. Avoid using computer speakers and mics simultaneously.
  • Close unneeded apps and browser tabs to avoid notification sounds and typing echoes caught by mics during the call.
  • Ask participants to join from quiet locations without loud background noise that may distract others even when muted.
  • Plan breaks to allow participants to step away without missing discussion. This avoids the sound of participants joining/leaving.
  • Set guidelines around mobile device usage if the sound of typing is still audible when participants are muted. Ask they switch to airplane mode.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts for muting all, muting individuals, and other call controls to act quickly as host.