How to Stop Annoying Auto-Play Videos

Category: Video

I was surfing the morning news sites recently, sipping coffee in blissful silence. Suddenly, my serenity was shattered by a loud, fast-talking voice urging me to buy... well, I didn’t take note of what he was selling. All I wanted to do was shut him up, fast! If you've experienced unwanted audio or video, read on and learn how to turn if off, for good!

No More Auto-Play, Please

I wanted to silence my blabbering intruder. But I could not find the source of the irritating voice on that Web page. So I clicked the Back button and quickly went to another site. I wonder if that’s the outcome the site’s owners had in mind when they decided to accept invisible, auto-playing ads.

The battle against auto-playing video or audio content has been raging for years. Since at least 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer has had an option to disable the Flash plugin, widely used to implement multimedia, except on sites where the user has specifically allowed it. Apple Safari has never supported Flash at all. I thought we users had won total victory, at last, when Google and Mozilla disabled Flash auto-play by default in their browsers.

But now the scourge of auto-play is back. Where is it coming from, and how can we get rid of it again? Here are the answers.

How to disable autoplay videos

Auto-playing multimedia returned in the latest version of HTML, the HyperText Markup Language that is used to create Web pages. HTML’s fifth version is called HTML5. It was published by the World Wide Web Consortium in October, 2014. HTML5 is a highly advanced scripting language with features built right into it that used to be provided by add-on software. The ability to create and display audio and video natively in HTML5 is a popular new feature. Unfortunately, it also comes with an auto-play option.

As more Webmasters adopt HTML5, more auto-playing nuisances will arise. As of today, only Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox offer any defense against the auto-play demon. Apple Safari and Microsoft’s browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge for Windows 10) do not. (But Facebook does has an option to turn it off -- see below.)

How to Block Auto-Play in Your Browser

Chrome does not have a bulit-in HTML5 auto-play blocker. That capability is provided by third-party extensions that you can add to Chrome free of charge. One of these extensions is called, straightforwardly, Disable HTML5 Autoplay. Just add it to the Chrome browser (or the Chromium operating system) and enjoy the silence.

Mozilla Firefox has a built-in setting to control HTML5 autoplay. Like many Firefox features, this one is buried deeply in Firefox’s about:config file. Here is how to dig it out and set it to block HTML5 auto-play.

  • Type “about:config” in Firefox’s address bar and press Enter.
  • Agree to the warning in order to proceed.
  • Type “autoplay” in the search box.
  • You’ll see a preference called “media.autoplay.enabled”
  • If that preference is set to “True,” double-click on it to toggle to “False.”

If you experience unwanted audio or video on Facebook, here's how to disable that feature. On computers, go to your options drop-down menu in the top right, and click "Settings". Select the "Videos" link on the left, and turn the "Auto-Play Videos" setting from "On" to "Off". To adjust the auto-play settings on your mobile device, open the Facebook app and tap the menu button. Scroll down and tap App Settings. Tap Autoplay, and Choose "Never".

Hopefully, Microsoft and Apple will add autoplay-killers to their browsers. Then we can all go back to sipping our morning coffee in peace, or reading in bed without waking the entire house.

Have you experienced annoying audio or video that plays automatically? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 8 Nov 2016

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
Don't Touch That Dial...

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Google Home vs Amazon Echo

Most recent comments on "How to Stop Annoying Auto-Play Videos"

(See all 51 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Mary Ann
09 Nov 2016

Thank you so much, Bob! Autoplay is one of the most annoying things about surfing the net.

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

and they wonder why people use ad-blockers

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

I'm in the same situation than @David, I'm looking for something that stops videos from 'loading' (not only stop 'playing'). When I was using Flash, that was very easy (it was 'click to play' and load), but with HTML5 is a nightmare, the content loads anyway, you play it or not. If you are on a metered 4G connection, this is an important issue. Any suggestion?...

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

In Firefox, Right Click the Tab for the page with the offending sound, then Click "Mute Tab" (the second option down). This won't stop it from running, but it will silence it.

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

Thanks Bob
for Artikel
"How to Stop Annoying Auto-Play Videos"

I am angry sinsv montsh about F...Audio in Website.
And ich must test all Tabs where tehsounds is coming. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Now silence...
And I say thank you Bob.
(from german)

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

Just turning off your speakers doesn't help if there is one thing you actually want to listen to, and have one or more other things playing along in the background.

I also have a metered connection, and am annoyed by the automatic loading.

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

Good! I just added "Disable HTML5 Autoplay" to Chrome... hope it works :)

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

Thank you, Bob. Not only are unwanted videos annoying, but in the middle of the night they can be downright scary. OK, so maybe I'm a nervous person, but I am grateful for the information on how to shut it off in Firefox.

Posted by:

09 Nov 2016

Thanks or the tip, Bob. This happens every AM in firefox. Now maybe not. The other browser I use is Opera. It works better than FF for many things. You should have quite a few people clicking on your ''Buy Bob a snickers'' link after this tip. I bought you a health bar last week. Owe you more.

Posted by:

10 Nov 2016

I also am on a metered connection so I hope there will soon be a way to stop the loading of these videos. Now if we can get youtube (when I'm not on my metered connection) to quit cranking the ad volume up to 3000dB!

Posted by:

10 Nov 2016

Bob - I have Chrome (up to date) and have not been able to locate 'disable html5 autoplay'
Also, on facebook, I tried performing dropdown,settings, videos and autoplayvideos=off is not found.
Any more help on this, Bob, is very much appreciated.

Posted by:

14 Nov 2016


Posted by:

18 Nov 2016

There is currently no option to adjust "Auto-Play Videos" in the "Video">"Settings" in Facebook for Desktops. Maybe FB advertisers demanded that the option be removed?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I still see it, by going to Settings, then Videos.

Posted by:

Oliver Fleming
20 Nov 2016

When I type "aboutconfig" in the location bar it just goes to google. I cannot get to the window and options shown. How can I do this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Make sure you include the colon, as in "about:config"

Posted by:

20 Nov 2016

Thanks for this timely as I have just been thinking this last week of needing to find a way to stop this happening......also on a news site I use. Just tried it, works perfectly. I hope it also works on as they are the worst offenders of all I have found, so bad, that I stopped clicking on any links on google search that went to them

Posted by:

20 Nov 2016

Great article Bob. I use Adblocker which works great but now they throw up (as in vomit) a popup that nearly covers the entire window saying to turn off Adblocker. I click them off.
The worst sites are news sites with the auto run video's and turning off the sound doesn't help when a bit later you start hearing another video blabbing away further down the page. Some video's don't have a mute sound.
Now Bob if you can find a way to stop pinterest from the dark scrolling cover that demands you log in or sign up. I just don't use pinterest anymore and won't go to a link from them anymore. Please find a way to stop this annoyance. I resent sites demanding I log in or sign up.

Posted by:

07 Jan 2017

Nothing has worked in Chrome for Fox News as an example. I installed AdBlock, FlashControl and "Disable HTML5" as mentioned in this article. Nothing worked

Posted by:

30 Jan 2017

The Firefox's media.autoplay.enabled preference is totally useless because the videos are still downloading. It just prevents the auto play, but it does not prevent the auto downloading of HTML5 media.

Posted by:

17 Apr 2017

Thanks for the link to that extension. I tried it now and it stops videos on Facebook under 30 seconds of duration to stop auto-repeating (while the Facebook setting stops autoplay when the vid appears in your browser port, it still does not stop Facebook's latest annoyance: auto-repeat of videos under 30 seconds you have viewed).

I use Vivaldi browser, it has a little loudspeaker icon on each tab, whenever something is blaring out of sight (or in sight), you can just click on the little loudspeaker icon and that will shut up, whatever was blaring. Works in Firefox too and also in Opera. In Chrome it IS present but appears not to be clickable.

Posted by:

Papa Copper
25 Jul 2017

I would just like to say that you ROCK sir. I have searched for this answer for the last 15-20 minutes, trying every solution offered. I use Firefox (currently 54.0.1), and here are a few of the things I tried. I tightened up my settings in Ad Blocker Plus, changed Shockwave Flash to "Ask to Activate", and a couple of even more outlandish suggestions just trying to find something that would work. Then I finally stumble onto this page, tweak one config setting, and voila, no more autoplay on CNET Downloads. Your site is now bookmarked for my inevitable future searches. Thank you very much.

There's more reader feedback... See all 51 comments for this article.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
About Us     Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- How to Stop Annoying Auto-Play Videos (Posted: 8 Nov 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved