How to Disable Autoplay Videos on Firefox and Chrome?


Icons of Firefox and Chrome

Nothing screams attention on the web like automatically playing—um… screaming videos! No matter how some publishers and advertisers may justify it, embedded media that plays automatically without users’ consent is a very bad practice and a rude interruption for all types of users. People who use screen readers are the ones who are mostly affected by this. When it comes to sites that not only push resource-hogging stuff to users but also pair it with impossible to close pop-ups, it is a nightmare for all users. Here are some easy ways to block such automatic videos globally.

Without plugins

Chrome and Firefox by default have options to disable automatically playing HTML5 videos. The following are the experimental flags for both the browsers, which are subjected to change in the future.

Disable autoplay on Firefox

  • Go to this page — about:config.
  • Acknowledge the warning prompt.
  • In the search box, type autoplay.
  • Toggle media.autoplay.enabled to false.
  • Restart Firefox.

On Firefox, this might cause some side-effects like a delayed playback where you’ll need to press play twice on some sites. At the time of this writing, enabling this blocked autoplay videos on most sites.

Disable autoplay on Chrome

  • Go to this page — chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy.
  • In the drop-down box, select Document user activation is required.
  • Relaunch Chrome.

On Chrome, thanks to the ridiculous autoplay policy from the Chrome team, these flags try to stop only the unmuted autoplay HTML5 videos. This is done by listening and blocking any automated play() events with unmuted audio. The problem is, you won’t be able to block muted autoplay videos with this modification unless you are willing to install extensions.

Chrome autoplay policies

It’s not simple! It’s stupid! How about block it completely, Chrome?

Perhaps you should consider using a better browser that focuses on users — ⚡ Firefox Quantum!

Plugins and extensions to block autoplay videos

If the built-in flags mentioned above (please note that these are experimental filters and are subject to changes and revisions — which we’ll update here once they change) fail to block videos, especially when it’s a non-HTML5 video, browser plugins and extensions might come in handy.

For websites like CNN, who still use flash videos, you can install any flash blocking plugins of your choice. Flashblock is a nice plugin that replaces all flash content with a neat `click to play` button.

In the extreme cases, where you still couldn’t block autoplay HTML5 and flash videos, you can block JavaScript on those sites (or globally) with an efficient plugin like NoScript. Or if you already have uBlock Origin installed, you could add custom filters to it or pick the video container element manually to block the video.

This post was first published on May 25, 2017.

Geekswipe Team

Geekswipe Team

We're a clique of geeks, nerds, professionals who co-exist peacefully at Geekswipe, writing on science, technology, culture, and answering your curious questions.

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8 Responses

  1. Flashblock is discontinued. Firefox and Chrome blocks flash by default.

  2. Why is autoplaying videos not made illegal with huge fines enforced ?i wish someone would upload a virus into their servers destroying these sites with a warning of why it was done.

  3. Avatar Laura Monteros

    I’m used to having to click on a video twice on my Chromebook, but the second click doesn’t seem to work on FF Quantum on my desktop. On one site, it just made the video completely disappear, on another, it won’t accept the second click. Hopefully, someone will develop a decent plugin for Quantum. This fix didn’t work for me.

  4. Can you suggest a similar option for Safari on Windows?

  5. Funny that Chrome’s own set of rules don’t work on YouTube. I agree with you that Chrome’s policy on this is stupid. Google doesn’t want to miss out on their revenue from all their autoplaying ads.

    • Avatar Joel Star

      How hard is it to flip that Autoplay toggle on YouTube?

      • Read my comment again! I was referring to the autoplaying ads. What you are mentioning is only for videos that autoplay at the end.