Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.
Click-to-play plug-ins allowed you to prevent video plug-ins from starting as soon as you load a web page, but more and more websites are moving to HTML5 video. Thankfully, it’s still possible to prevent autoplay in many browsers.
The tricks below will also prevent HTML5 audio from automatically playing. Any websites that use the
The Videos Will Still Buffer
Disabling automatic playback just pauses the video; it doesn’t prevent it from loading. Depending on how the video is set to load on the page, your browser may automatically download the entire video or just begin buffering part of it, even if you haven’t loaded it yet. This won’t prevent media from downloading entirely, as click-to-play did for Flash content.
In other words, if you’d like to use this trick to save bandwidth, it won’t help much.
Chrome doesn’t have this feature built-in. It’s possible to prevent many HTML5 videos on the web from automatically playing by installing the Stop YouTube HTML5 AutoPlay browser extension from the Chrome Web Store. Despite its name, this should work with all websites — not just YouTube. Here’s the developer’s website.
If this extension doesn’t seem to work for some reason, you may want to try the Disable HTML5 Autoplay extension. This one doesn’t have as many users, but promises to disable autoplay in all situations — including blocking scripts from automatically playing videos and parsing new HTML5 videos as they’re dynamically loaded on web pages. Of course, this same add-on will also work in Chromium.
To Mozilla’s credit, Firefox actually contains a preference that allows you to control whether HTML5 videos on web pages automatically play or not. However, like many Firefox preferences, this one is buried deep in about:config where you’d otherwise never find it.
Mozilla improved this preference in Firefox 41, making it more powerful. When you disable autoplay of HTML5 media, scripts running on the current web page won’t be able to start media unless you’re interacting with it. A script running in the background can’t just instruct the video to play without your permission.
To change this setting, plug about:config into Firefox’s address bar and press Enter. Agree to the warning and then type “autoplay” into the search box. You’ll see a preference named “media.autoplay.enabled”, which will be set to True. Double-click that preference and it will change to False.
Opera is a Chromium-based browser, just like Google Chrome, and supports the same browser extensions. The same Disable HTML5 Autoplay extension you can use on Chrome is also available for Opera.
It doesn’t seem possible to do this on Apple’s Safari web browser. Safari has no built-in preference for controlling this, and there are no browser extensions like the ones available for Chrome and Chromium-based web browsers to prevent this from happening. A browser extension could theoretically add this feature to Safari, if someone were to create one.
This isn’t built into Microsoft Edge, so it’s just not possible — not even in theory. Microsoft’s new Edge browser doesn’t yet support add-ons, so there’s no way to install a third-party extension to get this feature. It will probably be possible with a similar browser extension to the one Chrome uses after Edge gains support for these.
This doesn’t seem possible in Internet Explorer, either. Internet Explorer doesn’t have this option built in, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any browser add-on that does this. This isn’t surprising, as browser extensions have always been the big way Microsoft’s web browser is behind its competitors.
Hopefully, browsers will gain more support for controlling this as HTML5 video and audio become increasingly widespread.
Mozilla has already built actual controls for this into Firefox and has improved them. This could be an option on Firefox’s normal options page in the future.
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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »
For obvious reasons, PCWorld readers in particular hate videos that start playing automatically when a webpage opens. I covered this topic at the beginning of last year, but things change, and it’s time for me to revisit it again.
And no, it’s not hypocritical for a site that uses autoloading videos to publish an article on stopping them. It’s a sign of a healthy separation between editorial and advertising.
[Have a tech question? As Answer Line transitions from Lincoln Spector to Josh Norem, you can still send your query to [email protected].]
My previous instructions still work for Firefox and Internet Explorer. So I’ll just cover Chrome and Edge.
I’m also sticking here to Adobe Flash videos. I’ve discussed HTML5 videos elsewhere.
- Click the three-line menu icon in the upper-right corner and select Settings.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Show advanced settings link.
- Scroll down a little further to the Privacy section and click the Content settings button right below the word Privacy.
- In the resulting “Content settings” dialog box, scroll down to the Plugins section and select Let me choose when to run plugin content.
- Click the Manage individual plugins link.
- On the resulting Plugins page, find Adobe Flash Player and uncheck Always allowed to run.
The next time you encounter an auto-running Flash video, you’ll get a gray box with a jigsaw piece icon. To play the video, right-click and select Run this plugin.
But this isn’t a perfect solution. Sometimes Run this plugin isn’t on the menu. Other times, only the audio plays.
Microsoft’s newest browser has an option to turn off Adobe Flash. You’ll find it if you click the menu icon, and select Settings > View advanced settings. Turn Use Adobe Flash Player off.
The bad news is that it doesn’t work—at least not for these videos. But there’s hope. A future version of Edge promises to have ad-blocking support.
The Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) ships with an improved version of Microsoft Edge that bundles new features and a slew of tweaks. Among these new improvements, perhaps the most exciting addition is the ability to control media playback on websites.
One of the most annoying things while browsing the internet are websites that start playing videos automatically. If you’re a Microsoft Edge user, starting with version 1809, you can use the new media playback controls to moderate or disable videos from auto-playing entirely for one or all sites.
In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to prevent (or at least limit) websites from playing audio and video automatically without your consent using the new settings available with the new version of Microsoft Edge.
How to disable video autoplay globally on Microsoft Edge
To completely disable websites from playing videos automatically on Microsoft Edge, use these steps:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Click the Settings and more button (Alt + X).
Click the Settings option.
Under “Media autoplay,” select the option that best suits your situation:
- Allow — Keeps media autoplay enabled, letting sites control video playback in the foreground.
- Limit — Disables media autoplay when videos are muted, but when clicking anywhere on the website will enable autoplay again.
- Block — Prevents videos from playing automatically until you interact with the video. (The only drawback with this option is that it may not work with all websites as a result of design enforcements.)
Once you complete these steps, websites should no longer play videos automatically depending on the option you selected.
How to disable video autoplay per site on Microsoft Edge
If you’re looking to only stop media autoplay on specific sites, use these steps:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Browse to the website you want to restrict playback.
- Click the Lock button at the left side of the address bar.
Under “Website permissions,” click the Media autoplay settings link.
Use the “Media autoplay” drop-down menu, and select the option that best suits your situation:
After completing the steps, refresh the page to load the content again, but this time around you’ll control how the site plays videos.
How to allow video autoplay per site on Microsoft Edge
If you’re blocking one or every site from playing content automatically, you can use these two ways to change their settings.
Using address bar settings
To quickly allow a website to play videos automatically, use these steps:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Browse to the site you want to control content autoplay.
Click the Clear permissions button.
Using Advanced settings
Alternatively, if you’re restricting media playback in multiple websites, you can use the Microsoft Edge advanced settings to manage their media autoplay settings using these steps:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Click the Settings and more button (Alt + X).
Click the Settings option.
Under “Website permissions,” click the Manage permissions button.
Click the X button for the website you want to stop restricting media autoplay.
Quick Tip: If you want to change its permissions, select the website from the list, and then use the drop-down menu to update the settings.
Once you complete these steps, those websites you allowed will now play audio and video without restrictions.
More Windows 10 resources
For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:
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I sympathize. We all deal with this annoyance. In fact, I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this article who hasn’t already solved this problem knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Most of these videos run on Shockwave Flash, so I’m going to concentrate on that technology. The trick isn’t to block Flash entirely, but to make it work only with your permission.
How you do this varies with each browser. So I’ll offer instructions for the three most popular ones. Christopher Breen of Macworld offered these alternative fixes as well. An article focusing on Chrome and Edge users may also be helpful.
[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to [email protected].]
Click the menu icon on the upper-right corner and select Settings.
From then on, a Flash window will appear as a gray box with a jigsaw piece icon in the center. If you want to watch the video, click in that box.
- Press Ctrl-L to go to the address bar, and type in the local URL about:addons .
- Click Plugins in the left pane.
- Find Shockwave Flash in the list of plug-ins.
- Click the Always Activate pop-up menu on the right, and select Ask to Activate.
When you visit a page with an embedded Flash video, the video window will again be a box, but this time it will be white with Adobe’s Flash logo (a stylized letter ‘f’) in the center. A gray bar at the top of the page will give you options to continue blocking or allow the flash.
If you click Allow, you’ll get options to Allow Now or Allow and Remember. If you want to allow it at all, I recommend Allow Now.
- From the menus at the top of the window, select Tools>Manage add-ons.
- In the resulting Manage Add-ons dialog box, make sure that Toolbars and Extensions is selected on the left. Wait for the list to appear.
- Find and double-click Shockwave Flash Object on the right (it’s listed under Adobe and will likely be near or at the top).
- In the resulting More Information dialog box, click the Remove all sites button. Then close the dialog boxes.
The Flash windows may not appear at all, or they may appear blank. A bar at the bottom of the window will offer options to allow Flash to play. Click the x on the right to say “No.”
One of the most annoying experiences while surfing the web must be when a video automatically plays out of the blue. These videos can pop up on Facebook, Twitter or any other site in particular. They either start playing once a page is loaded or in some cases, as the page is scrolled through a bit.
Although this feature can be helpful in some cases, it’s best to have it disabled and not surprise the users. The biggest con of this feature can be that the automatically played content might be something that shouldn’t be seen by the user (for example, video or pictures featuring violence or other unacceptable content).
Taking note of the troubles it has been causing, several browsers and services have now started implementing ways to stop such videos from playing automatically. While some of these have offered permanent fix to this issue, many involve a manual approach to turn such videos off.
Mentioned here are how to turnoff autoplay videos in commonly used browsers and social media services.
For Browser, you will have to proceed to Settings, after which you will have to locate the Videos listings (on the left-hand menu). In that option, you will spot the toggle which will let you turn off autoplaying videos.
For iOS Devices, go to Menu -> Settings & Privacy -> Settings -> Media and Contacts -> Videos and Photos -> Autoplay -> turn off.
For Android Devices, go to Menu -> Settings & Privacy -> Settings -> Media and Contacts -> Autoplay -> Never Autoplay Videos.
For Browser with new design, go to Profile -> Settings and Privacy -> Data Usage -> Video Autoplay -> switch off
For Browser with the outdated design, go to Profile -> Settings and Privacy -> Account -> Video Autoplay -> unselect
For Android and iOS, you will have to proceed by selecting Profile -> Settings and privacy -> Data Usage -> Video Autoplay -> never.
Unfortunately, Instagram hasn’t introduced a mechanism to stop the autoplaying videos, yet. There’s currently no way to turn off such videos from popping up.
So, it’s important for you to be careful while using the app. On the browser version, videos don’t autoplay at all. However, majority of the users access Instagram through its mobile app and there’s no way to turn this annoying and (potentially) harmful feature, as of now.
Google has a nifty guide on its support page to make “it easier to decide what to watch next” on computers, android and iOS devices.
Chrome has no toggle dedicated entirely to turning off such videos. However, starting from version 66, for almost every site, Google autoplays videos based on yours and others’ preferences, which it figures out through your activities.
Although it is not a permanent fix and doesn’t cover every site there is, but it is a plausible solution, considering the fact there is no separate switch to turn the feature off.
Firefox, unlike Chrome, is tackling this issue in a much better way. Its latest version 66 introduces an option to mute the autoplaying videos. All such videos will remain muted, unless they are clearly allowed by a user to be played for a specific site.
Even on Firefox, there might be times when you can see an unwanted video start playing automatically, but its approach is the best one, when it comes to browsers and it will definitely work on introducing an even credible option as time goes by.
HTML5 features include native audio and video support without the need for Flash.
Here is the simplest form of embedding a video file in your webpage −
The current HTML5 draft specification does not specify which video formats browsers should support in the video tag. But most commonly used video formats are −
Ogg − Ogg files with Thedora video codec and Vorbis audio codec.
mpeg4 − MPEG4 files with H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec.
You can use
This will produce the following result −
Video Attribute Specification
The HTML5 video tag can have a number of attributes to control the look and feel and various functionalities of the control −
This Boolean attribute if specified, the video will automatically begin to play back as soon as it can do so without stopping to finish loading the data.
This Boolean attribute if specified, the video will automatically begin buffering even if it’s not set to automatically play.
If this attribute is present, it will allow the user to control video playback, including volume, seeking, and pause/resume playback.
This attribute specifies the height of the video’s display area, in CSS pixels.
This Boolean attribute if specified, will allow video automatically seek back to the start after reaching at the end.
This attribute specifies that the video will be loaded at page load, and ready to run. Ignored if autoplay is present.
This is a URL of an image to show until the user plays or seeks.
The URL of the video to embed. This is optional; you may instead use the
This attribute specifies the width of the video’s display area, in CSS pixels.
The current HTML5 draft specification does not specify which audio formats browsers should support in the audio tag. But most commonly used audio formats are ogg, mp3 and wav.
You can use