Internet, Networking, & Security Browsers How to Disable WebRTC Prevent privacy leaks by controlling what your browser is allowed to do By Andy Wolber Freelance Contributor Andy Wolber is a former Lifewire writer who has been writing about technology for 15+ years. His focus is G Suite, iOS, and nonprofit sector apps. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Andy Wolber Updated August 02, 2019 Browsers Chrome Safari Firefox Microsoft Tweet Share Email 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. After you make any settings changes listed below, return to the https://browserleaks.com/webrtc page to verify the impact of the change. How to Disable WebRTC in Firefox Of all modern browsers, Firefox is the only one that allows you to entirely disable WebRTC. Open Firefox, then type about:config where you would normally type a web address, and press Enter (or, on some systems, Return). Click the button to indicate I accept the risk! This gives you access to many Firefox configuration settings. In the search box at the top, type peer and press Enter. 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. In the search box at the top, type media.navigator and press Enter. 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. 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. Open your browser and go to https://mybrowseraddon.com/webrtc-control.html. Click on the icon for your browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, or Opera). You will now be on the WebRTC Control extension page for your browser. Click Add to Chrome, Add to Firefox, or Add to Opera, to add the extension in Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, respectively. 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. If you use Firefox or Opera, you also may need to select an additional OK after the extension has been installed. The extension’s icon displays in the upper right portion of your browser. When the circle is blue, WebRTC leak protection is enabled. Click on the extension to toggle the status. How to Block WebRTC in the New Version of Microsoft Edge 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. Open the new version of Microsoft Edge and go to https://mybrowseraddon.com/webrtc-control.html. Click on the icon for Chrome, even though you are using the new version of Microsoft Edge. The prompt “You can now add extensions from the Chrome Web Store to Microsoft Edge” should display. Click Allow extensions from other stores. The system will display a notice that extensions from other stores are unverified. Click Allow. Click Add to Chrome. 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. 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.