How to Disable WebRTC

Prevent privacy leaks by controlling what your browser is allowed to do

WebRTC logo in an abstract browser, with three water drops falling from it

WebRTC helps make it easier for people to communicate between browsers, without the need to install additional software. WebRTC lets you talk, video conference, or share files with other people.

But WebRTC also may expose a device’s local and public internet addresses, even if you choose to obscure your device's location by using a virtual private network (VPN). This is widely referred to as a WebRTC leak, since it "leaks" otherwise private information. Once an advertiser or website host knows the public internet address of a device, they may be able to identify the region, city, and internet service provider linked to that address.

If you don’t need WebRTC, you may want to disable or restrict it in your browser. You can prevent a WebRTC leak in many, but unfortunately not all, modern browsers.

Check Your Browser for a WebRTC Leak

Open whatever browser you use and go to https://browserleaks.com/webrtc. This page tests your browser for WebRTC leaks, and displays three categories of information. First, if the site displays “True” next to RTCPeerConnection and RTC DataChannel, your browser supports WebRTC. Second, if the system displays any numbers next to “Public IP Address” or “IPv6” address, those numbers are your device’s internet addresses. Third, the WebRTC Media Devices section may display information about your device’s microphone and/or camera.

Screenshot of BrowserLeaks.com/WebRTC test that shows five items "True" and reveals the device IP address. Yikes!

After you make any settings changes listed below, return to the https://browserleaks.com/webrtc page to verify the impact of the change.

Screenshot from Firefox (Windows) that shows WebRTC Leak Test, with all items either "False" or "n/a"

How to Disable WebRTC in Firefox

Of all modern browsers, Firefox is the only one that allows you to entirely disable WebRTC. 

  1. Open Firefox, then type about:config where you would normally type a web address, and press Enter (or, on some systems, Return).

  2. Click the button to indicate I accept the risk! This gives you access to many Firefox configuration settings.

  3. In the search box at the top, type peer and press Enter.

  4. Double-click on the media.peerconnection.enabled row. The row should display in bold, and the value should change to false, which indicates peer connections are now disabled.

    Screenshot of Firefox (Windows) about:config with media.peerconnection.enabled setting to "false"
  5. In the search box at the top, type media.navigator and press Enter.

  6. Double-click on the media.navigator.enabled row. The row should display in bold, and the value should change to false, which indicates device navigation is now disabled.

    Screenshot of Firefox (Windows) about:config setting media.navigator.enabled set to "false"
  7. WebRTC will no longer work in Firefox on your device.

How to Block WebRTC in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

You may block WebRTC with a browser extension, WebRTC Control. The extension is available to install in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

  1. Open your browser and go to https://mybrowseraddon.com/webrtc-control.html.

  2. Select the icon for your browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, or Opera).

    Screenshot of MyBrowserAddOn.com/WebRTC page, with icons (and links) for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox on the page
  3. You will now be on the WebRTC Control extension page for your browser. Press Add to Chrome, Add to Firefox, or Add to Opera, to add the extension in Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, respectively.

  4. A prompt will display for your permission to allow the extension to access your data for all websites, as well as to read and modify privacy settings. Select Add (or Add extension) if you agree.

  5. If you use Firefox or Opera, you also may need to select an additional OK after the extension has been installed.

  6. The extension’s icon displays in the upper right portion of your browser.

    Screenshot that shows the WebRTC Control extension installed and active (upper right), indicated by a blue circle around the extension
  7. When the circle is blue, WebRTC leak protection is enabled. Select the extension to toggle the status.

How to Block WebRTC in the New Version of Microsoft Edge

Newer versions of Edge include a privacy feature which blocks your local IP address over WebRTC. It's simple to enable and protects against most leaks, without the need for an extension.

  1. Open Edge.

  2. Type about:flags into your address bar, and press Enter.

  3. Scroll down to find Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections.

    Microsoft Edge about flags
  4. Place a check mark in the box beside it.

  5. A notice will appear telling you to restart your browser. Close Edge and open it again. Rerun your browser leak test to ensure WebRTC is no longer leaking your IP.

    Block WebRTC on Microsoft Edge

Block WebRTC on Edge With an Extension

The new version of Microsoft Edge also supports Chrome extensions. Much like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, the new version of Microsoft Edge relies on the open source Chromium core code, which is why the extension works with all of them. 

  1. Open the new version of Microsoft Edge and go to https://mybrowseraddon.com/webrtc-control.html.

  2. Choose the icon for Chrome, even though you are using the new version of Microsoft Edge.

  3. The prompt “You can now add extensions from the Chrome Web Store to Microsoft Edge” should display. Press Allow extensions from other stores.

    Screenshot in Microsoft Edge, showing blue bar with "Allow extensions from other stores" prompt
  4. The system will display a notice that extensions from other stores are unverified. Press Allow.

  5. Select Add to Chrome.

  6. A prompt will display for your permission to allow the extension to access your data for all websites, as well as to read and modify privacy settings. Select Add extension, if you agree.

  7. The extension’s icon displays in the upper right portion of your browser. By default, the extension will be enabled and active after you install it.

Prevent WebRTC Leaks in Any Browser With a VPN

Some browsers don’t offer any way to disable WebRTC. For example, as of June 2019, there’s no built-in way to disable WebRTC in current versions of Safari on laptops or desktops. You also can’t disable WebRTC on mobile devices in either Safari on iOS or in Chrome on Android. Microsoft doesn’t let you disable ORTC, their alternative to WebRTC in versions of Microsoft Edge (e.g., those not based on Chromium). Internet Explorer doesn’t support WebRTC, so there’s no need to disable it or worry about WebRTC leaks! 

You might consider a virtual private network (VPN) to protect against WebRTC leaks. A VPN won’t disable WebRTC, but it can hide your location. For example, you might be Chicago and choose to enable a VPN connection routed through Los Angeles. The IP address reported in WebRTC would appear as an address in Los Angeles, not Chicago. Most, but not all, VPN services safeguard your location via WebRTC this way when enabled. (Check with your VPN provider or see “The 8 Best VPN Service Providers of 2019” for help selecting a VPN service.) Additionally, the WebRTC Network Limiter Chrome extension can work in conjunction with a VPN to protect your internet address privacy.