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Does auto-play video drive you mad? We’ll talk you through the best ways to stop auto-playing videos in your Firefox browser.

There are two ways that videos auto-play in browsers. The first is through flash which, despite being phased out, is still the main method used by most websites to display videos and adverts. Blocking flash content in Firefox is fairly easy, as you will soon see. The second method makes use of HTML5. YouTube and other big video sites now exclusively render videos in HTML5.

I recently detailed how to stop auto-playing flash and HTML5 videos in Chrome How to Stop Auto-Playing Flash and HTML5 Videos in Chrome How to Stop Auto-Playing Flash and HTML5 Videos in Chrome Auto-playing videos can be obnoxious. Here are a couple of Chrome browser tips and extensions to prevent videos from auto-playing. Read More . From the comments, it was clear that many MUO users find auto-playing videos irritating. This article is inspired by one such reader who requested information on foolproof ways of preventing videos from auto-playing in the Firefox browser. Preventing auto-playing HTML5 videos in Firefox is a much more complex affair and not as easy as we saw in Chrome.

Before I begin, it is important to note that I tested these methods using Firefox version 29.0.1 on Windows 7.

Disable Adobe Flash

shockwave-flash-ask-to-activate

This is the fastest and easiest way to stop auto-playing flash videos. Open a new Firefox tab and in the address bar type in “about:addons“. This takes you to your list of installed Firefox Add-ons. You can also open the Firefox add-ons manager by clicking the add-ons icon in the Firefox menu or using the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut. Look for the Flash player add-on and set it to Ask to Activate.

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This prevents all flash content from loading unless you allow it. A message appears at the top of your browser just below your toolbars any time a website tries to load flash.

adobe-flash-blocked

To confirm that the setting works as it should, open a flash video. You should get a blank screen with a message prompting you to activate Adobe flash.

flash-video-disabled-firefox

Flashblock

flashblock-firefox-addon

Flashblock is a Firefox add-on that prevents flash and HTML5 videos from auto-playing. Search for the add-on, click Install and wait for the download to complete. Restart Firefox to complete the installation and try loading a flash video.

Take note that HTML5 videos will still buffer though they won’t start playing until you click the flash icon at the center of the video screen. Flashblock also allows you to whitelist websites which can load flash content. This is a good idea because otherwise you may end up preventing auto-play for sites you use on a daily basis.  A word of caution with Flashblock; it doesn’t work with Javascript disabled or in conjunction with the Noscripts add-on.

flashblock-whitelist

StopTube HTML5

stop-tube-html5

Stop Tube effectively prevents HTML5 videos from buffering and auto-playing. The ability to halt buffering is the main difference between this add-on and Flashblock with regard to HTML5 videos.  This is an important feature and it comes in handy for conserving your bandwidth. Also, the add-on does not require you to restart Firefox, simply install it and you are good to go.

This method only works for HTML5 videos, so you still have to disable flash totally using the instructions in the first part of this article to prevent websites from serving you with auto-playing flash content. StopTube replaces the HTML5 video with a Click to run link. Clicking on this link triggers video loading.

stop-tube-html5-block

Notes On Blocking Auto-Play Videos

In some rare cases, you may find that an add-on does not block videos from auto-playing. If you encounter this, restart your computer and try again. Also take note that I tested out the add-ons above on YouTube, Yahoo and Vimeo, the sites with the largest video audience. For more great Firefox extensions and to learn how to learn how to become a Firefox super user, please check out our best Best Firefox add-ons page and our User’s Guide To Firefox.

Please let us know in the comments below if these solutions work well for you. We would also love to know if you have any additional ideas or add-ons in mind to stop auto-playing videos in Firefox.

  1. AJ
    November 16, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you, much appreciated!!!

  2. indnajns
    April 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Flashblock is causing a HIDEOUS memory leak with Firefox. I mean a slow-the-whole-machine-to-a-crawl type leak.

    So, I turned my beloved Flashblock off because of the leak. Now, the problem is I'm watching a video on one part of the page (the video I came to watch) and at random intervals this stupid ad at the bottom of the page starts playing! Its audio overplays the audio of the video I'm already watching, even though I have that video at full screen! So, a single button for the page wouldn't work. :( Ugh. No fan of HTML5 Video nor JW Player.

  3. Bill
    January 20, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Blocking all Flash just creates another hassle of activating each and every Flash object on the sites that you want to see the content.

    The solution we need is to block all audio from playing automatically on each webpage until we click 'ok' on a button that appears in the corner indicating that media is currently playing. 99% of people who don't want videos playing automatically are actually complaining because of the sudden burst of sound that blasts through the speakers when you least expect it. Browser vendors should be stepping up with this solution to make a button appear on the toolbar to unmute audio currently playing, with an option to remember settings for certain websites. Adobe should offer this with Flash, but that still leaves HTML audio, so the browser vendors need to supply the feature.

  4. Jim
    May 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    StopTube is broken. Properly stops HTML5 video buffering, but then won't let it start when you click on 'Play Video'. This is dumb - I have limited bandwidth, and can't prevent the buffering of HTML5 videos? WTF? We're moving backwards, people.

  5. Cadar
    April 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    StopTube HTML 5 doesn't exist any longer on the Firefox addons server. I can't believe the damn cheek of the developers who insist on using Flash - which is a misbegotten idea in the first place - and on insisting on it playing. I've tried to change the Ask to Activate option on the Flash plugin, and so now it nags me every time I go onto VK or Facebook, and if I allow it, then it still plays the damn videos. What the hell is wrong with these people?

  6. likeitmatters
    January 10, 2015 at 12:35 am

    You don't and have not explained how to stop HTML5 videos playing. You do explain how to stop HTML5 player on youtube. The two notions are not even close.

  7. Wm D
    January 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Oh man! I love you...but more importantly, everyone else in my house loves you! This tips helped me prevent CNN from blasting out of my desktop speakers at 3 a.m. and making me jump out of my skin almost ever time. I don't think enough sites take into account that not every user agrees that their content is the most important thing in the world and must be played instantly when the page opens!

  8. John Nicholson
    December 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Just ran into the JWPlayer video ad used by Meijer.com. Meijer says no way to stop it. It apparently is an HTML5 video and I was going to try Flashblock until I read that it won't work with Javascript disabled---which is my case. Thus, until someone develops a tool to stop these irritating videos, the only recourse is to stay away from Meijer.com.

    • rjriley5000
      April 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      When my wife and I were married we went to a Meijers store for most everything, that was over 35 years ago. Their prices were the best in town. Unfortunately, over time their prices have been jacked up to the point that they are now rarely competitive.

      I now go months at a time without patronizing Meijers.

      • bocarol
        January 19, 2016 at 12:38 am

        It's not Meijers. No plural. Jeezus you Michigan people. "I work at Fords. I shop at Meijers. Or used to until Walmarts came to town." You can't drive, either.

  9. JOHN ALBRIGHT
    December 8, 2014 at 1:24 am

    FLASHBLOCK doesn't work on the latest install of Firefox 34.

  10. Mary
    November 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you, really helpful information :)

  11. superfan
    November 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Great, super -> nice to shut up that stupid videos I dont want to see

  12. David
    July 6, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Flashblock is malware

    • kihara
      July 8, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Really? Please elaborate ...

  13. kihara
    June 15, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Glad to help, Jim

  14. Jim
    June 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you. A seemingly small matter, but one that has driven me bonkers of late. I HATE, HATE, HATE it when a damned advert pops up when I am just trying to read a story.
    Again, Thank You!

    • Angela A
      June 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Doesn't everyone? :)

  15. Dev
    June 14, 2014 at 6:21 am

    If you stop the Flash with Firefox the creativity lost, but using HTML5 same creativity is restored as it doesn't require the to stop the HTML5.
    Ref - http://www.technocrab.com/web-design.html

  16. Omar A
    June 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    goooood idea

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