You have probably been monitored by videos that are played automatically on Facebook, Twitter or all over the internet in general. They start playing as soon as you load a page or (if they are more nicely implemented) when you start scrolling through a page.
Automatic video playback is a feature that, although nice to have when it comes to content related to your interests, can be quite annoying. Autoplay videos can also be harmful and expose you to violent, offensive or otherwise unwanted content that you do not need to watch by default.
Whether you just want to put a stop to autoplay videos on social media platforms or are looking for a more comprehensive fix, we have some tips. Keep in mind that you will need to adjust these settings for each device you use, as your settings on, for example, your phone will not automatically slide to your computer.
If you use Facebook in your browser, you can turn off autoplay videos like this:
- Go to the drop-down menu at the top right of the page.
- Select “Settings & Privacy”> “Settings.”
- Look for the “Videos” list in the menu on the left. Inside that option is a switch where you can turn off autoplaying videos.
Facebook has similar options available for its iOS and Android apps:
Use the iOS app
- Click the menu button at the bottom of the screen.
- Once there, tap “Settings and privacy” and then “Settings”.
- Scroll down until you find “Media & Contacts”, then tap “Videos & Photos”.
- Finally, you can turn off the function when you find “Autoplay”.
With the Android app
- Click the menu button at the top right of the screen.
- Once there, scroll down and tap “Settings and privacy” and then “Settings”.
- Scroll down until you find “Media and Contacts” and press it.
- Press “Autoplay” and set it to “Never Autoplay Videos.”
- Click “More” in the menu on the left and then “Settings and Privacy.”
- Select “Data usage”.
- Click on the “Autoplay” setting. You can then turn off autoplay of videos in your feed.
Use the iOS and Android apps
- Click on the profile picture at the top of the phone screen.
- Select “Settings and privacy” in the menu.
- Navigate to “Data usage”, press “Video autoplay” and set it to “Never”.
The Instagram app does not allow autoplay videos to be turned off, so you need to tread carefully here. Videos are not played automatically if you use Instagram in your browser, but since almost all users of the service use it on mobile devices, there is currently no way around it.
Reddit, like most video hosting sites, automatically plays videos by default. However, it is quite easy to turn it off.
With the latest design
- Click on your username in the upper right corner and select “User settings” in the menu.
- Select the “Feed Settings” tab at the top of the page and turn off the “Autoplay media” switch.
With the older version
- Click “Settings” next to your username at the top right of the window.
- Under “Media”, look for and uncheck “Automatically play Reddit videos on the printer page for comments.”
- You must tap “save option” at the bottom of the screen to make the changes.
Use the mobile app
- Tap the icon next to the search bar, then tap “Settings”.
- You will see “Autoplay” at the top of the page and you can easily choose to turn it off.
There are a number of desktop browsers out there – some of which let you turn off autoplay for video and others do not.
Use Google Chrome
If you use Google Chrome and want to turn off autoplay for video – you can not. There was an experimental command line flag that allowed you to turn them off (you can find the flags by typing chrome: // flags / in Chrome’s address bar), but it’s gone.
Using Microsoft Edge
Interestingly, Microsoft’s Edge browser, which is also based on the Chromium source code design, lets you turn off – yes, at least, restrict – video autoplay:
- Click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Settings”.
- In the left column, click “Site Permissions”, then scroll down to and select “Media autoplay.”
You can either let audio and video play automatically or restrict it. According to the instructions, depending on whether or not autoplay works depends on “how you visited the site and whether you interacted with the media before.”
Firefox has a similar feature that allows you to turn off autoplay, for the most part.
- Click on the three rows in the upper right corner of the browser and select “Settings”.
- Click “Privacy and Security” in the left column.
- Scroll down to the “Permissions” section and look for “Autoplay”. Click the “Settings” button.
A drop-down menu allows you to allow audio and video, block audio or block audio and video. You can also specify sites that you want to differentiate from your default values - for example, if you block audio and video by default but you want to allow it for, say, The border.
Safari makes it easy to disable autoplay. In fact, it assumes that you want the feature to be disabled to begin with. But if it has not been disabled – or if you want to make some exceptions to the rule – here’s how:
- In the app, go to Safari> Settings in the top menu.
- Click on “Websites” in the top menu.
- Search and select “Auto-Play” in the side menu.
- Look for the drop-down menu at the bottom right of the window and select “Never AutoPlay.”
As with Firefox, you can whitelist all websites that you want to be an exception to the rule.
Update 4 September 2020 17:11 ET: This article was originally published on March 15, 2019. Most contributions have been updated.