How to turn off autoplay videos in Chrome and Firefox

One of the annoying things that correlate with an increasingly faster internet is an increase in the number of websites that see fit to play autoplay videos (often with sound!) As soon as you land on their homepage. Sometimes the videos quietly scroll around the corner of the screen, other times they are obnoxious to the face, but the point is, you should be able to control whether or not you see them. Chrome and Firefox are both fairly liberal with their default Autoplay policies. So you may need to make some adjustments to turn them off.

We’ll show you how in the following guide.

Chrome’s autoplay rules have undergone a lot of changes recently, and now it’s a little confusing to know exactly where they are. They had spoken earlier this year about implementing stricter autoplay rules, but they rescinded that policy after indie HTML5 game developers complained that the rules were having a terrible impact on their earnings.

So, at the moment, Chrome isn’t too strict on autoplaying videos. Videos play automatically as long as their sound is muted if you click anywhere on the page or have often played media on this site before. If you still want to block autorun even when these criteria are met, you need to do the following:

1. In your Chrome address bar, type chrome: // flags / # autoplay-policy

2. Click the drop-down menu next to Autoplay Strategy. Four options are displayed:

  • Default – Auto play is enabled
  • No user gesture is required – automatic play is activated
  • User gesture is required for cross-origin iframes – Autoplay is enabled for videos that are not hosted on other sites (links to YouTube, for example).
  • Document user activation is required – Video starts autoplaying as soon as you click or interact with the web page.

Select the last option to block autoplay, at least until you interact with the web page.

Controlling Flash Video Playback in Chrome

Flash videos are disabled by default in Chrome (the browser will ask you if you want to play the video first). However, you can adjust which sites to block and allow Flash video playback by clicking the padlock in the address bar when you are on a site containing Flash video.

Once you have clicked on the padlock, click on “Site Settings”, then click on the drop-down menu next to Flash and select “Request”, “Allow” or “Block” as needed. This allows you to set absolute rules per website. So the videos can be automatically played on those you trust or blocked on those who are not. While you’re at it, you can block and allow different things on websites like that pesky sound.

Use the Data Saver extension

It may not have been updated for a few years, but the official Data Saver extension for Google Chrome remains one of the best ways to block video autoplaying in your browser. Install it, launch it and off you go!

Firefox Quantum has incorporated the changes made when it launched last year. These changes include a slightly different way of preventing videos from automatically playing in the browser.

The best thing to do is go to about: config in the Firefox address bar and type media.autoplay in its search box.

The preference media.autoplay.defaultshould appear and its value should be “0”, which will allow videos to automatically play. Double-click the value and change it to one of the following:

  • 1: Block all videos from autoplaying
  • 2: we ask by domain if videos are played automatically

Autoplaying online videos is a tough time, with Chrome and Firefox looking for the best ways to ensure an uninterrupted web viewing experience. The balance is not quite there yet, as we still have to dig under their hoods to block intrusive video content, but at least the option is there and, in the long run, the browser giants are working on it.