flip off autoplay movies on Fb, Twitter, Reddit, and extra

You’ve probably been caught off guard by videos that play automatically on Facebook, Twitter, and other services; in fact, just across the internet in general. They begin playing as soon as you load a page or (if they’re more deviously implemented) when you start scrolling through a page to catch your attention.

Automatic video play is a feature that, while nice to have when it’s surfacing content that’s related to your interests, can be pretty annoying. Autoplay videos can be harmful, too, exposing you to violent, offensive, or otherwise unwanted content that you shouldn’t have to see by default. Several browsers, like Google Chrome and Firefox, now have built-in measures to curb autoplay videos, but for the most part, turning them off is still a very manual process.

Whether you just want to put an end to autoplay videos on social media platforms, or are looking for a more comprehensive fix, we’ve got some tips. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust these settings for every device that you use, since your preferences on, say, your phone do not automatically push to your PC.

If you’re using Facebook on your browser, you can turn off autoplay videos by navigating to the Settings menu found within the drop-down menu at the top right of the page. Look for the Videos listing on the left-hand menu. Inside of that option is a toggle where you can turn off autoplaying videos.

Facebook has similar options available for its iOS and Android apps, but it’s much harder to find than on a browser.

The steps to turn off autoplay videos on your browser differ if you’ve opted in for the newer design.

The process involves a similar amount of steps on the iOS and Android apps.

The Instagram app doesn’t allow for autoplay videos to be turned off, so you’ll have to tread carefully here. Videos don’t autoplay if you use Instagram on your browser, but since almost all of the service’s users are using it on mobile devices, there’s currently no way around it.

Reddit, like most sites that host video, autoplays videos by default. However it’s pretty easy to turn it off.

On the mobile app, tap the icon next to the search bar, then hit “Settings.” Once you’re here, you’ll see “Autoplay” near the top of the page, and you can easily choose to turn it off.

If you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, recent updates have allowed (or will soon allow) you to disable videos from playing automatically, though there are some caveats.

For Chrome users, ensure that you have at least version 66 (version 73 is the latest stable release at the time of publication). There’s no toggle to make sure that videos don’t play automatically, but instead Google should remember your preferences based on your activity, as well as that of other visitors to the site. It’s by no means a perfect solution to the problem, but here’s how it currently works, according to this article from Tom Warren:

If you’ve just started using Chrome and have no browsing history, the browser will autoplay videos on more than 1,000 popular sites where visitors typically play sound on videos. “As you browse the web, that list changes as Chrome learns and enables autoplay on sites where you play media with sound during most of your visits, and disables it on sites where you don’t,” explains Google product manager John Pallett. “As you teach Chrome, you may find that you need to click ‘play’ every now and then, but overall the new policy blocks about half of unwanted autoplays, so you will have fewer surprises and less unwanted noise when you first arrive at a website.”

Chrome may not have a switch that turns off all autoplay videos, but you can manually turn off sound, images, and other settings on a per-site basis to achieve something that’s close enough.

As of March 19th, 2019, Mozilla Firefox will have publicly rolled out its update (version 66) that mutes autoplaying videos. Compared to Chrome’s approach, Firefox is taking a harder stance on autoplay videos by muting them all, unless, as Chaim Gartenberg wrote, “explicitly allowed by a user. Users will also be able to manually allow sites to autoplay, allowing sites like YouTube (where most people tend to want the video they’ve selected to automatically play upon loading) to continue to work as normal.”

Unfortunately, this means that you still may see something that you wish you hadn’t seen on Firefox, but it’s a step in the right direction toward eliminating autoplay videos altogether.

loading...