Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Auto-playing videos can be obnoxious. Imagine settling down in a café or library with your laptop and starting a browsing session. After searching a couple of items on Google, you open up a few tabs and return to the search results page as you wait for the tabbed pages to load. Suddenly and without warning, a video begins to play in the background. You curse under your breath as it dawns on you that the speakers are set at maximum volume. As you frantically click on the tabs looking for the offending auto-playing video, everyone casts disapproving glances your way. If this was also a video you wouldn’t want to play in public because it may be considered objectionable, you end up thoroughly embarrassed.

Have you found yourself in such a situation lately? If you have, avoid a recurrence by making use of a couple of Chrome browser extensions to prevent videos from auto-playing. In addition to saving you the embarrassment, some of these browser extensions will help save your bandwidth and ensure that you enjoy your browsing experience by preventing annoying interruptions.

So, let’s get down to it.

Flash

Flash is still the main way that online videos are rendered.

You can disable flash without using a Chrome extension. In the Chrome menu, go to settings and scroll down to Show Advanced Settings. Click this and under the Privacy heading, click Content Settings. In the pop-up window, scroll down to Plug-ins and select the Click to play radio button.

google-chrome-click-to-play

Ads by Google

This disables the flash player plugin. Videos using flash can only play when you click on the blocked plug-in area as shown below.

clic-to-run-adobe

Alternatively, you  can use a Chrome flash blocker extension. This isn’t the first time we have covered flash blockers. Saikat previously did an excellent review of FlashControl How to Stop Flash From Loading Automatically With FlashControl [Chrome] How to Stop Flash From Loading Automatically With FlashControl [Chrome] You can easily disable Flash in Chrome. But FlashControl gives you more hands-on control. FlashControl is a Chrome extension that uses blacklists and whitelists for selectively blocking and unblocking Flash content. As the extensions defines... Read More , a chrome extension that stops flash from loading automatically. A similar extension that does much the same thing is Flash Block Use Flash Block To Selectively Block Flash Elements [Chrome] Use Flash Block To Selectively Block Flash Elements [Chrome] While Flash is on its way out and about to be replaced by HTML5, it is still used abundantly for web content, predominantly for displaying annoying ads. Not only are a lot of flash elements... Read More .

The advantage of using a Chrome extension over the default method is that you have control over what plays and what doesn’t. For example, you may want to enable auto play by default on some sites and stop it on all other sites.

HTML 5

While flash is still the main way that many websites play video content, YouTube now uses HTML5. HTML5 does not utilize flash, so you cannot prevent videos from auto-playing by using a flash blocker.

The only reliable way I have found to prevent YouTube videos from auto-playing is a free Chrome extension known as Magic Actions for YouTube™. Download the extension from the Chrome web store.

magic-actions-for-youtube

To stop videos from auto-playing and to configure other preferences, you need to open the Options page. There are two ways to do this. After the initial set-up click on on the purple “Options” button. Alternatively,  go the  Chrome menu, scroll down to Tools and select Extensions. Scroll down and look for the Magic Actions extension. Click on Options. In the new page, click the Options button again. This will take you to the developer’s website where you can choose your settings.

magic-acions-options

Scroll down and look for the Stop Autoplay option. Tick the check box as shown below and that’s it!

magic-actions-options-page

Test out the app by firing up YouTube or checking the YouTube video below. Click any video and wait to see if it plays automatically. The video shouldn’t play or even start buffering. If the extension doesn’t work at first, restart your browser and try again.

As an added bonus, Magic Actions allows you to customize just about every aspect of your YouTube experience. In addition to stopping videos from automatically playing and downloading, you can also:

  • Control video volume with various options
  • Automatically select the highest resolution available or choose your resolution
  • Automatically use a wide player
  • Pick and choose customizations via a simple interface consisting mainly of checkboxes.
  • Hide some page sections, for example, you can make comment threads disappear

You can access all these advanced settings easily via a bar that appears under all videos on YouTube.

A Word On Stopping Auto-Play Video

A few other apps I tested stopped the auto-play but the video still started loading automatically. This may be a good or bad thing depending on your own preferences. If you want to conserve your bandwidth, then preventing automatic loading is a good thing because we all know that sometimes you get distracted and end up not even watching the video. For more great Chrome extensions, please check out out our best Chrome extensions page.

What’s your take on auto-playing videos? Do you like the fact that YouTube videos load automatically by default? Please share your comments below.

  1. Tymatt
    November 29, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    It's infuriating when I go to a website expecting to READ something and I get both an article and a video that starts playing even though I don't want to see it. We're on a satellite connection that only gives us 20 GB of "anytime" data per month and these websites that just start streaming videos are highly inconsiderate. And then once that video is through streaming, they start auto-playing another one that has nothing to do with the reason I went to the page, such as a stupid sports report after I try to read about fires in Tennessee. It makes me want to, first, scream, then second, block their entire domain in the router.

  2. Dean Karr
    November 17, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Not just no, but HELL NO! I pay by the Gb for my data and don't want anything using it without permission.

  3. Rurik
    November 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Chrome changed their settings menu a while back. Thee are tons of articles like these that tell you to go into ssettings and under plugins there's a radiobox to kill autoplay, but that radio box hasn't been there for more than a year.

  4. Bea
    October 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you for letting me share my view.

    I really do not like being forced to watch any videos not of my own choosing. Images are bad enough but meanwhile I can ignore them. However videos just make me furious, and I consciously refuse to buy or do whatever the video wants to inspire me to do.

  5. Andrew
    September 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Your last link is brocken.

  6. Michel
    May 30, 2016 at 7:26 am

    It’s now 30 May 2016 and the article needs a serious update about Chrome settings, for they've seriously changed. But for stopping auto-play, I learned over the past few hours about two extensions for Chrome that stop-autoplay. There's Flashcontrol which stops Flash though not HTML5 videos, and then there's Magic Actions for YouTube, which stops (if the user sets the option) both Flash and HTML5 videos.

    I installed Flashcontol before Magic Actions, but the information about the former extension doesn't say that it works for HTML5 videos. So, I subsequently learned of Magic Actions and that it works for both types of videos, though apparently only at YouTube. Based on what I read about the features of the latter extension though, I now have both installed and enabled.

    They hopefully won't conflict with each other when I'm watching videos at YouTube using Chrome, but if they do, then I'll seek if it's possible to have Flashcontrol ignore YouTube. Otoh, I loaded a YouTube video in a tab in Chrome after both extensions were installed and while both were enabled. Magic Actions worked for Cinema mode and other features, but I'm not sure which of the two extensions made the video auto-play feature stop. Maybe both did and without conflicting with each other (?),

  7. eNdEmiOn
    February 5, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Magic Actions for Youtube

    Someone suggested this add-on but it isn't doing what I want it to do. Which seems like a stupid oversight to me. The Stop Autoplay feature hits two birds with one stone but the second bird was my pet, now dead.

    The Stop Autoplay indeed stops that annoying YT feature where it continues to the next video automatically but it also stops the video from playing in the first place which I don't need stopped. For an extended YT features add-on it's a fail to link those two aspects together without an option to chose how you want it to behave.

  8. Cal
    February 4, 2016 at 6:42 am

    It really sucks because I only tether my internet connection most of the time. Internet service is unaccessible in my area and not even dsl is offerec only dial-up so for high speed you have to use the cell towers....this can get quite expensive and sometimes you only have a few MB left on your plan before the billing restarts, with surfing and automatic videos it has cost me $15 to $30 several times for this fact that they automatically load. Sucks, the major cell companies really need to stop limiting data usage so much I hope soon. Too expensive!

  9. Gunnar Djurberg
    August 27, 2015 at 7:45 am

    autoplay is up there with popups, trackers, captive portals etc. I take comfort knowing the offenders will burn for eternity. Thanks for this!

  10. -i
    May 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    How come it didn't stop this site? http://www.pasadenadanceclasses.com/
    The rest of the vid's were blocked, but not the first opening vid.

    Similar to this post:Jack
    November 1, 2014
    I’ve updated my Chrome settings but some videos still auto play. See:
    http://www.today.com/food/savor-chuck-hughes-braised-pork-shoulder-coffee-glaze-1D80249287
    Help??

    Pls comment and advice. Thank you.
    -i

  11. Sensie
    February 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Amazing Many Many Thankssss

  12. Jan Saysette Wood
    February 2, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks. We live in a rural area in Canada. Our Internet costs via 4G have risen dramatically over the last couple of years. Last month's bill was $237. We are retired and cannot afford this. Auto play videos are at least some of the problem. We never stream movies or anything else. Even if this saves a few dollars, I am grateful for the info.

  13. anonymous
    January 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you so much. My computer is older and I would dread using certain pages due to the inevitable freezing of the pages due to unwanted videos. I can read people! And my co-workers and spouse appreciate it too!

  14. scott baron
    January 6, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Can someone please tell me how to enable youtube autoplay in Firefox?

  15. Daniel
    December 28, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Thank you for also having auto-playing ads on your site. I can see you're extremely concerned annoyed them.

  16. Brenda T
    December 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Use you computers MUTE button, it sure works with my TV as well

  17. jennieB
    December 23, 2014 at 3:16 am

    i'm not sure if it matters for what version you are trying to disable but can you tell me if this will work with the latest flash on windows? http://draalin.com/disable-prevent-flash-player-update-prompts-forever/

    I would appreciate the help, thanks

  18. Bob
    November 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for posting this. Very helpful!

  19. Jack
    November 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I've updated my Chrome settings but some videos still auto play. See:

    http://www.today.com/food/savor-chuck-hughes-braised-pork-shoulder-coffee-glaze-1D80249287

    Help??

  20. The Mogul
    October 24, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Thanks. I read a lot of news and far too many sites now auto play whatever is on their front page.

    I despair are the increasing number of video stories where a good editor could summarise in a few lines and am hoping auto-transcription of them will become more widely adopted.

  21. Talyda
    July 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Is there a way to stop the short videos on wikihow from playing automatically?

    This page for example - http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Microwave - as I scroll down the little videos all start

    The page actually has made my PC crash out to blue screen 4 times so far this morning, but I have managed to fix that thanks to google but now would like to not have the videos autoplay at all - neither magic actions, nor flash are helpful in this case =)

  22. Bud
    June 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Is Magic Actions compatible with Safari ?

    • Bukton
      June 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Bud, you only need to ask Google. It took 45 secs to get you an answer.
      1. No Magic Actions for Safari (not surprising).
      2. An alternative exists. Search for "YouTube Options for Apple Safari" ...on Google.

  23. Kelalole
    June 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I've been using Magic Actions for YouTube for a long time. Great extension! Its mouse wheel volume control is also very handy. Setting "click to play" is useful, too. I never realized how much unnecessary stuff loaded automatically until I changed that.

  24. Gary Mugford
    June 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Kihara,

    Funny you should run this article ... I spent Sunday trying desperately to find a away to block auto-playing videos on the http://www.sportsnet.ca site. I know Brightcove is involved and I know there IS an autostart parameter in the page source. The video that ends up playing is, according to the right-click menu in Pale Moon, Chrome and IE, a Flash video. Yet Flash Block, FlashDisable and every other Pale Moon Add-in I tried failed to succeed in stopping this harassment. I even installed GreaseMonkey and looked in that direction for help. The complexity of the potential solution drove me to StackExchange to seek an answer to the question, "Was it possible?" I was assured it was. But a day's attempts proved that that was out of my skillset to implement. I was minutes away from using AdBlock to stop ALL videos from the site when I ran into today's MUO article. I'm going to give this a try. And if it works, well, I have my answer. Not my preferred answer, but a solution.

    And for that I thank you (and if you were to discover a fool-proof way to proof ourselves against these auto-starting fools in the Firefox world of add-ins, I would be ever so grateful).

    Thanks.

    • kihara
      June 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Glad you love the article Gary, incidentally, i'm working on a piece about auto-playing stuff in Firefox.

  25. Davey126
    June 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I have used Magic Actions for YouTube™ on various machines for quite some time. It reliably stops obnoxious autoplay while adding additional (optional) functionality. Good stuff.

  26. Hal Crompton
    May 31, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you Kihara. I hate auto-playing ads and Facebook entries. I believe they contributed to ever-increasing data bills over the last few months.

    • Kihara
      June 2, 2014 at 5:44 am

      You're welcome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *