How to fix YouTube on Chrome continuing to play audio

For the past week or so, I have experienced a strange thing on the popular video hosting website YouTube. Video playback works just fine, but when I leave the page a video is playing on, for instance by clicking on the YouTube video to go back to the homepage of the service, then the audio of that video continues to play.

This happens when Adobe Flash is being used to play back videos, but also when you join the HTML5 beta on YouTube to use the HTML5 video player instead.

As you can imagine, this is very annoying, especially since it can mean that multiple videos start to play at the very same time (if you happen to launch some in new tabs instead of the old).

I have spend some time trying to figure out why this is happening, and while I was not able to do so, I came up with several options to resolve the issue on YouTube.

youtube audio continues to play

So what can you do to stop the audio from playing on YouTube when you leave a page a video is playing on? Here are your options:

  • Close the tab. Yes, this may not be the best of options if you want to watch more videos on YouTube, but it is an option nevertheless.
  • Reload the page. Note that you either need to use Ctrl-F5, F5, or right-click and reload from the context menu to do so. Clicking on YouTube's homepage icon or another page on the site won't fix the issue, unless it is a video page.
  • Install the Google Chrome extension YouTube Options. That's all there is to it. You do not need to make any configuration change as it will prevent the audio issue automatically. You can however make changes to the options so that they work for you, considering that the extension modifies the video page significantly when it is enabled.
  • Switch to Firefox or another browser that does not have the issue, and watch YouTube videos using it.

While nothing has been confirmed by Google, it is likely that this is a bug that will get fixed in upcoming versions of the Chrome browser. For now, use the reload option or the Chrome extension to resolve it on your end.

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Responses to How to fix YouTube on Chrome continuing to play audio

  1. Johnny1 February 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Thanks for the solution ::)

  2. Classic February 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    I am experiencing it too, but i i'm using Firefox. It's YouTube's issue, not Chrome's.

    • Martin Brinkmann February 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Strange, never experienced that on Firefox.

      • Classic February 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

        I was experiencing this few month ago (in Firefox), it started and ended without me doing anything. Yesterday it has started again :( Looks like YouTube's problem and we just need to wait a few days...

  3. Lew February 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Happens in Firefox too.

  4. Q February 20, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    The problem describes seems to be at least a browser (including its extensions/add-ons) issue.

    I would guess that the browser continues to uses resources after they no longer should be used.

    Using my usual browser settings, I could neither get the problem to manifest for Chromium 30.0.1599.0 (217165) nor Firefox 10.0.12.

  5. Classic February 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Had this for two days, but now i can't reproduce it even intentionally; looks like the issue has been resolved :)

  6. Blue February 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Thankfully it's not just me... thought I was going insane lol... kept thinking wtf is wrong with my machine now... so while I wait for a fix/patch, I'll do more searching on why Google keeps logging me off each time I close the browser/tab even though I have auto login turned ON... (re-installing Chrome didn't help) *sigh*

  7. adfbaadfbad February 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    soundcloud has the same problem. once you reach the end of a track, the next track plays, even though the graphic is that of the first track. this means there are no controls; you can't pause or stop it without leaving the page.
    very annoying.
    i have always hated flash. the latest annoyance with it is not being able to alter the zoom level of pages. there's a site where people share photos, and i wanted to shrink the images to fit more of them into the screen area. as the ctrl - minus zoom indicator went down to 25%, the damned viewbug page stayed the same.
    there is also a new generation of blocker-resistant popups.

    i still hate flash, evidently

  8. Robert Brown February 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    The problem I'm having with Youtube videos on Chrome is not the audio, that works just fine. It is the visual portion that doesn't initialize. Not the video, and not the UI. The audio part initializes and plays just as it should but there is no visual component to go with it, just a blank rectangle. Reloading the page doesn't help either. The only way I've found that will get the video to start running is to right-click the box and select Inspect Element.

  9. Dave February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Same problem in Firefox ... i have it on my Work PC only though.

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