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You’ve probably been caught off guard by auto-playing videos on Facebook, Twitter, or just the web in general. They start playing as soon as you load a page or (if implemented more cunningly) when you start scrolling through a page.
Automatic video playback is a feature that, while nice to have when it pops up content related to your interests, can be quite annoying. Videos that auto-play can also be harmful and expose you to violent, offensive, or otherwise unwanted content that you shouldn’t see by default.
Whether you just want to end auto-playing videos on social media platforms or are looking for a more comprehensive solution, we have some tips. Keep in mind that you will need to adjust these settings for each device you use, as your preferences on your phone, for example, don’t automatically push to your PC.
Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge
If you are using Facebook in your browser, you can turn off video autoplay this way:
Facebook has similar options available for its iOS and Android apps:
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Instagram doesn’t allow auto-playing videos to be turned off, so you have to be careful with this. Videos are not automatically played with sound when you use Instagram in your browser. Stopping autoplay on mobile is possible, but small roundabout.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Reddit, like most video hosting sites, plays videos automatically by default. However, it is quite easy to disable it.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
There are several desktop browsers available, some of which you can turn off video autoplay and some you can’t.
If you’re using Google Chrome and want to turn off video auto-play, you can’t. There used to be an experimental flag on the command line that allowed you to disable them (you can find the flags by chrome: // flags / in Chrome’s address field), but it’s gone.
You can turn off the sound (which might help a bit):
Interestingly, Microsoft’s Edge browser, which is also based on Chromium’s open-source design, lets you disable auto-play video – at least, limit it:
You can have audio and video automatically played or limited. According to the instructions, whether or not autoplay works depends on “how you visited the page and whether you worked with media in the past.”
Firefox has a similar feature that allows you to largely turn off autoplay.
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 deviate from your default settings, for example if you block audio and video by default, but you want to allow this for example The edge
Safari makes it easy to turn off autoplay. In fact, it is assumed that you want to disable the feature to begin with. However, if it is not disabled, or if you want to make some exceptions to the rule, do the following:
As with Firefox, you can whitelist any site you want to make an exception from.
Update September 4, 2020 5:11 PM ET: This article was originally published on March 15, 2019. Most submissions have been updated.
Update April 15, 2021 5:30 PM ET: Additional entries have been updated.
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