YouTube Smart Pause pauses YouTube videos when you switch to another tab

Martin Brinkmann
May 29, 2013
Updated • Sep 2, 2022
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

When I'm watching videos on YouTube I'm often switching to other tabs or programs for a short while. I may check my emails in the Thunderbird email client, check out the latest activities on Facebook or Google Plus, or simply open a new tab to research something that was mentioned in the video.

Update: YouTube Smart Pause is no longer available. Firefox users may check out YouTube auto pause and resume instead, which promises to do the same. End

The video continues to play in that time unless I hit the pause button in the player interface first. Most of the time, it is not that of a big deal as I'm more interested in what is being said than the actual footage. But that is mostly because of my viewing preferences, that I watch mostly videos where the important information are presented by audio and not video.

It is also not an issue if you like to watch music videos on YouTube, as it does not really make a lot of difference in this case either.

It does however become an issue if you are watching the latest movie or TV show trailers, or game walkthroughs, or anything else where video is at least as important as audio.

YouTube Smart Pause is a new extension for the Firefox web browser that stops playback of the video that you are watching if the tab becomes inactive.

youtube smart pause

Playback is not stopped if you open new programs or use a second browser window to browse the Internet while the video is playing. It is only stopped if you activate another tab in the browser window the video is playing in.

You can disable the feature temporarily by right-clicking on the page the video is playing on and selecting "disable YouTube smart pause" from the context menu. This can be useful if you want the video to continue playing even if you activate another tab, for instance to listen to music while you are browsing the Internet.

You can modify several preferences in the add-on's setting.

  • Switch the mode from visibility to focus. Visibility is the default behavior. As long as the YouTube tab is active, the video continues to play even if you open other programs that overshadow it. Focus on the other hand pauses the video as soon as the tab loses its focus which is the case if you click on any other window on your system.
  • Videos are paused instantly by default. You can set a delay time to pause videos after a set amount of seconds.
  • The favicon is automatically highlighting the state of the player. You can disable that in the options as well.


YouTube Smart Pause may be useful for some Firefox users. It ensures that you do not miss a single second of YouTube videos that play in the browser. It is a convenient add-on as it eliminates the need to click on the pause button anytime you focus on another window on your system.


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  1. Ethan Wood said on September 1, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    The link is gone

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 2, 2022 at 6:25 am

      Thank you for notifying us. We have removed the link and added a replacement suggestion to the article.

  2. Kyle Lacey said on April 22, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Can the same be done to resume a video that stops playing?
    Say if a Continue message appeared… or auto skip after 5-sec ad… or If error, refresh to current position URL…

  3. that guy said on November 18, 2015 at 12:39 am

    This seems like a feature that is annoying when they try to make it the default, and Google it trying to make it the default on videos. They should instead make it so it needs to be activated by the viewer. I am sure that most people that would want to switch tabs when watching a video would rather still listen to the video while in another tab.

  4. ayobami said on July 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I want to download video on youtube, is unable download what can I do?

  5. Compuitguy said on May 29, 2013 at 10:06 am
    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 29, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Thanks! Have added it to the review.

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