Google tests new video autoplay feature on YouTube

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 28, 2015
Updated • Apr 6, 2015
Music and Video, Youtube

If you have been to YouTube recently and played a couple of videos on the site you may have noticed that new videos were loaded automatically at the end of the one you were just watching.

While that is similar to how the playlist feature on YouTube works, it is completely different from it as it happens when you are playing individual videos on the site.

If you start to play a playlist, the next video in line is automatically loaded once the current one stopped playback which means that videos are constantly streamed to your computer until the playlist runs its course or you stop the playback.

The new autoplay feature on YouTube works in a different way. After a video ends, again this is an individual video and not a video from a playlist, a new video will be loaded shortly thereafter.

This goes on forever until you stop the playback manually.

Google is testing two different layouts currently on YouTube.

The first hides the autoplay option in the video settings. There you find listed the status of autoplay and an option to turn it off (or on again).

If you don't disable autoplay you get the following screen at the end of the video.

up next youtube

You can click on the play button to cancel playback. If you don't, that video is played on YouTube and once it ends, another video is played and so on and so forth.

It should be possible to disable autoplay using the settings icon underneath the video but that did not work during tests in Firefox. Doing so turned it back on immediately which meant that I could not disable the autoplay feature (there is no preference in the options to disable it).

The second autoplay variant looks like the following.

It features a slider that you can switch between on or off and this one seems to work.

If the autoplay switch is not working for you, you may want to use third-party tools instead to block autoplay on YouTube.

You can use a full blown browser extension like Magic Actions for YouTube for that which can block autoplay on the site.

You find the stop autoplay preference in the options after you have installed the extension in Chrome, Firefox or Opera.

stop autoplay

You need to reload the YouTube page after you make the change for it to take effect. Videos should not autoplay from that moment on anymore. A side effect of this is that videos that you select directly won't autoplay as well anymore.

So why is YouTube testing that option? Google has not commented on the test yet. What is clear is that this increases YouTube video views and advertisement shown on the site.

Update: YouTube started to display an autoplay slider underneath the video you are playing in the recommended video section. You can use it to turn the feature on or off. To do so, simply click on it to toggle its functionality.

Tip: Check out our previous article on how to stop YouTube videos from playing automatically.

Now You: Did you encounter autoplay on YouTube before?

Google tests new video autoplay feature on YouTube
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Google tests new video autoplay feature on YouTube
Google is running tests currently that autoplay videos on YouTube automatically even outside of playlists. Find out how to disable that feature.

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  1. Ruthmarie Hicks said on December 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Sounds easy? Yeah but you have to PAY for it. Nothing wrong with that, I think we should pay for services. Trouble is people don’t want to PAY ME anything resembling reasonable either. In a world where price beats everything and quality is just “good enough” moving over to paid platform like that won’t work. This actually tanked my little startup. I was already footing the bill and swallowing the cost for access to sites like Animoto or ProShowWeb. Once you add in the cost of a vimeo pro-account – its the straw that breaks the camels back. The margins I was forced to work with were just so skinny, there was no place else to go.

    The question is whether Google wants the content or not. They are based on volume. The volume of content and users is the life blood of YouTube. But creating situations that make even semi-professional use impossible, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

    At the time I pulled the plug, I was already being hassled endlessly by third party copyright sites claiming I was violating copyright laws for music that I had bought, paid for and had a license to use. These venders were constantly crawling all over my channel. I’d get rid of one and 10 more would pop up. I spent hours trying to do damage control and retain the rights to use music I had bought and paid for. YouTube did NOTHING about it, even though there boards were filled with people screaming that it was ruining them.

    In short, they are creating a very inhospitable atmosphere for anyone trying to do anything somewhat professional. Mine was shoestring business that I hoped could develop into something substantive. By itself it wasn’t important to anyone but me (and my customers). But collectively it is an issue. If they want the content, they have to be at least marginally hospitable and responsive.

  2. Anonymous said on December 19, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    try vimeo

  3. Chris said on June 1, 2015 at 2:32 am

    google wake up you morons no one likes the auto play idea. Stop changing things!!

  4. Ruthmarie said on April 6, 2015 at 3:33 am

    This is literally RUINING part of my business plan. I’m a real estate photographer and I was offering free slideshows on YouTube as a sweetener to get agents to use me. But when I send them a video from YouTube, it loads my video and then keeps playing videos from COMPETING LISTINGS! So I can no longer use YouTube and I had to stop the freebies because now I have to pay several hundred more for another hosted site. I’m furious! Is there any way to control this on my YouTube page? What idiot ever thought of this? No one in any kind of business is going to give that kind of publicity TO THEIR COMPETITION!

  5. johnny said on March 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    seriously ? you cant watch a playlist anymore because autoplay whisks you away to some other video instead of allowing your playlist to continue … proof that google hires nerds straight out of college that have no practicle life or business experience … if they don’t fix it i wont use youtube again period . the mumber of google services i use is becoming less and less as they continue to ruin them all

  6. grey said on March 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I’m not seeing a way to turn it off. At all. Hell there are ZERO options on autoplay within their Android app, and i’m currently at work using IE and it’s exactly the same on there. The autoplay thing is really irritating me.

  7. Roberto Olivetti said on March 18, 2015 at 2:25 am

    I dislike and hate this annoyance. I am using youtube fewer and fewer the more *new features* they add.
    But I am not a 13 who buys upon advertising, and maybe in the end they at google are getting what they want: less bandwidth for me, more bandwidth for their “customers”. I would like so much to see google in the dust, but this won’t happen unless someone will stop giving money to them. They have reached a really low level, and it’s sad thinking how good their services were some years ago.

  8. dudley said on March 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I can honestly say I thoroughly hate this.

    Youtube has really been raped into a sterile cash-cow. Autoplay is desperation to play more ads. Thank the sweet internet lord for Youtube Center and other add ons.

    DailyMotion is actually worth looking at, it has its problems too but the userbase is growing in response to how absolutely wrecked youtube is becoming.

  9. Stuff McDude said on February 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    There’s currently 2 ways to turn it off. Good thing youtube is so great at remembering that I turned this shit off on the last 27 videos, so obviously I want it on for the 28th video. Disabling it does nothing.

  10. WhatsIn AName said on February 8, 2015 at 1:03 am

    I find it very annoying and feel powerless to do anything about it. I don’t even see a way to turn it off anymore.

  11. Q said on January 31, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have encountered the new autoplay feature and dislike it, especially considering

    A few years ago, Google had also tried an autoplay feature; the feature was later removed or disabled. The new autoplay on YouTube is very much better than than one implemented a few years ago, but it is still an annoyance.

  12. Guest said on January 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Google are you serious? I hope this will be set to “off” by default. Bandwidth isn’t free you know?

    Moreover there are few things more annoying than sound suddenly starting to play in a background tab. Especially if you have 700 tabs open like me and can’t find the culprit.

  13. PhoneyVirus said on January 30, 2015 at 12:47 am

    The slider that you can switch between on or off wasn’t so easily found on a 11″ netbook and the first option didn’t work of me either ee-th er, ahy-th er yeah two words spelled the same way lol there’s many.

    Thanks for the Preview Martin

  14. Jane said on January 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    WTF??? WHY?? WHY?? Which idiot thought of this?? I DO NOT WANT AUTOPLAY! I Want to listen to what I want to listen to not a suggested video from YouTube, Im tired of these STUPID ideas, it took me forever to find that stupid switch button to turn off autoplay, I didnt even watch the following videos, dumb idea.

  15. Ronald said on January 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    “Don’t be evil”
    –Google, Inc.

    Psst Google, I got something I want to whisper in your ear. Come closer please… I am BELLOWING IN OUTRAGE!!!

    How dare you run down my bandwidth without asking me first! Respect my property rights Google… or I will give you tinnitus until the end of your days.

  16. Ray said on January 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I use the YouTube Center userscript.

  17. chesscanoe said on January 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I ran into Autopay the other day on Chrome 40 stable accessed through the Google Apps button. Fortunately for now I got your first option presented, so I don’t need the add-on, as the no-auto-play option works.

  18. Jeff said on January 28, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Youtube is constantly adding annoyances like this. One of my biggest pet peeves there is that i can’t get Annotations to stay turned off, despite being logged in and having it turned off in settings. Occasionally it will turn itself back on.

    I use a combination of Tampermonkey and the Youtube Center script to help control youtube behaviors, including the stopping of autoplaying videos.

    1. dudley said on March 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Hey, I also use Youtube Center and the option to disable annotations works for me.

  19. Razew said on January 28, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I encountered the new autoplay-feature the other day and I can already say that I dislike it.
    There’s several reasons for me disliking it.

    1: It often times ends up playing a video and/or song which is hardly relevant to the “original” video/song.

    2: Makes it inconvenient to listen to music through YouTube unless it’s in a playlist (I don’t want to have to keep checking off AutoPlay everytime I change video).

    3: Somewhat mentioned above, the lack of a setting to “permanentely” have the AutoPlay turned off. Forces the user to either bother with constantly turning it off OR installing an add-on.

    I’ve been spending some time looking through YouTube for options to turn it off AND searching the web for “solutions” (if you so will). Unfortunately it seems like I’ll have to install an add-on to disable it, for now at least. I wanted to avoid taking that action but they don’t leave you much choice.

    1. Jan said on January 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Agreed with your 3 points.
      I would add :

      4: Waste bandwidth

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