You have probably been surprised by videos that play automatically on Facebook, Twitter, or the web in general. They play as soon as you load a page, or (if they’re more difficult to implement) when you start scrolling through a page.
Auto-video playback is a feature that, while useful when showing content that suits your interests, can be quite annoying. Autoplay videos can also be harmful, exposing you to violent, offensive, or otherwise undesirable content that you don’t need to see by default.
Whether you just want to stop autoplaying videos on social media platforms or you̵
If you’re using Facebook in your browser, you can turn off autoplaying videos as follows:
- Go to the drop-down menu at the top right of the page.
- Go to Settings & Privacy> Preferences.
- Find the Videos list in the menu on the left. Within this option there is a toggle switch that you can use to disable the automatic playback of videos.
Facebook offers similar options for its iOS and Android apps:
Use the iOS app
- Click the menu button at the bottom of the screen.
- Once there, tap “Settings & Privacy” and then “Settings”.
- Scroll down until you find Media and Contacts, then tap Videos and Photos.
- Once you have found “Autoplay”, you can deactivate the function.
Use the Android app
- Click the menu button in the top right of the screen.
- Scroll down there and tap “Settings & Privacy” and then “Settings”.
- Scroll down until you find Media and Contacts and tap on it.
- Tap on “Autoplay” and set it to “Never Autoplay Videos”.
- Click on “More” in the left menu and then on “Settings and privacy”.
- Select “Data Usage”.
- Click on the “Autoplay” setting. You can then turn off autoplay for videos in your feed.
Use the iOS and Android apps
- At the top of the phone screen, click their profile picture.
- Select “Settings and privacy” in the menu.
- Navigate to “Data Usage”, tap “Video Autoplay” and set it to “Never”.
Autoplay videos cannot be disabled in the Instagram app. So you need to be careful here. Videos don’t play automatically when you use Instagram on your browser. However, with almost all users of the service using it on mobile devices, there is currently no getting around it.
Reddit, like most websites that host videos, automatically plays videos by default. It’s pretty easy to turn it off, however.
With the latest design
- Click on your username in the top right corner and select “User Settings” from the menu.
- Select the “Feed Settings” tab at the top of the page and turn off the “Autoplay Media” switch.
Use the legacy version
- At the top right of the window, next to your username, click Settings.
- Under Media, find Autoplay Reddit Videos on Desktop Comments Page and turn it off.
- You must click “Save Options” at the bottom of the screen for the changes to take effect.
Use the mobile app
- Tap the icon next to the search bar, then click Settings.
- It says “Autoplay” at the top of the page and you can just turn it off.
There are a variety of desktop browsers out there, some of which turn off video autoplay and some don’t.
Using Google Chrome
If you’re using Google Chrome and want to turn off video autoplay, you can’t. There used to be an experimental command line flag that you could use to turn them off (you can find the flags by typing chrome: // flags / Chrome’s address field), but it’s gone.
Use Microsoft Edge
Interestingly, with Microsoft’s Edge browser, which is also based on Chromium’s open source design, you can disable – or at least restrict – the automatic playback of videos:
- Click on the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Settings”.
- Click on Site Permissions in the left column, scroll down and select Media Autoplay.
You can either allow or restrict the audio and video from playing automatically. According to the instructions, it depends on how you visited the page and whether you have interacted with media in the past, whether or not autoplay works.
Firefox has a similar feature that lets you turn off autoplay for the most part.
- Click on the three lines in the upper right corner of the browser and select “Settings”.
- Click on “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 websites that should differ from your default settings. For example, if you want to block audio and video by default but want to allow it, e.g. The edge.
Safari makes it easy to turn off autoplay. In fact, it is assumed that the function should be deactivated first. However, if it hasn’t been disabled, or if you want to make some exceptions to the rule, do the following:
- In the app, go to Safari> Preferences in the top menu.
- In the top menu, click Websites.
- Find Auto-Play in the side menu and select it.
- Find the drop-down menu in the lower right of the window and select Never Auto-Play.
As with Firefox, you can whitelist any website that you want to be an exception to the rule.
Update September 4, 2020, 5:11 p.m. ET: This article was originally published on March 15, 2019. Most of the entries have been updated.