Google tests autoplaying videos on YouTube for Android

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 12, 2017
Updated • Jun 12, 2018
Companies, Google, Youtube

If you use the official YouTube application on an Android device, you may have noticed that videos start to play automatically when you open the application or browse the video selection on the Home screen.

Android Central reports that Google runs an autoplaying videos test currently in the YouTube application for Android.

Videos play without sound, but they do play to the end if you don't pause them or move on. This can be problematic right now as the default autoplay setting makes no distinction between the Android device's connection type.

In other words, videos will autoplay regardless of whether you are connected to Wi-Fi or not.

Android users who notice this behavior may change this in the settings. Open Account > Settings > General, and locate the new Play as you browse setting there.

You can set it to off or "only on WiFi". Off turns the feature off completely which means that videos won't autoplay anymore on the Home screen. If you select only on Wifi, videos will only autoplay if the device is connected to a WiFi router or access point.

Many popular services and applications play videos automatically. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram do it for instance, and so does Google now, at least for part of the YouTube population on Android.

YouTube played videos automatically before, but only after a video that you watched ends. This new autoplay behavior is different, as it plays video while you scroll the Home screen.

The feature can be quite bothersome. If you are indeed interested in a video that started to play automatically, you end up having to rewind it to the beginning to start watching from the beginning with sound as autoplaying videos play without sound.

Check out:

Closing Words

While I don't mind videos that autoplay when I open them specifically,  I dislike it when services play videos automatically when I don't. Not only is it wasting bandwidth, especially if I don't want to watch the video, it is also making decisions on my behalf without asking me about it first. It may also mean that advertisement is loaded automatically while you scroll (I don't have the feature yet in my YouTube app and cannot verify if that is the case).

The feature is tested in the Android app currently only.

Now You: What is your take on autoplaying videos on YouTube and in general?

Google tests autoplaying videos on YouTube for Android
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Google tests autoplaying videos on YouTube for Android
Google tests autoplaying videos in the official YouTube application for Android currently: videos play automatically (without sound) when you are on the Home screen.
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  1. Finnen said on October 13, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Quick question – which videos are being played automatically? The home screen is very long with all the recommendations and so on. How videos are chosen for autoplay? Does it play every video that you scroll through or only promoted ones?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 13, 2017 at 11:46 am

      From what I understand, the video that is in focus will play.

  2. Jojo said on October 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

    In my case, YT DID play the video with sound on.

    It’s ANNOYING! I turned the option to OFF.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

      As soon as this pops up I’ll disable it. Not that I use the YouTube application anyway on Android.

  3. Robert Ab said on October 13, 2017 at 4:18 am

    No autoplay, please.

  4. Anonymous said on October 13, 2017 at 3:42 am

    “This new autoplay behavior is different, as it plays video while you scroll the Home screen.”
    This would make browsing the Youtube app much more annoying and distracting than it already is and, as you said, waste more bandwidth.
    It’s pretty obnoxious behavior and I don’t see how it’s supposed to benefit users. I’m glad I stopped updating the Youtube app a long time ago.

  5. T J said on October 13, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I watch the news on various sites. A few weeks ago, Microsoft News (MSN) started to download and autoplay videos.
    Thanks to Pants and the user.js settings for Firefox, I was able to stop this stupidity by toggling ‘media.autoplay.enable’ to false in about:config. 20 or more videos playing automatically really ate my data allowance.

    I’m glad I use FF and not Chrome.

    If I really want to watch the video, I can toggle the setting to true.

  6. Norm said on October 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    To autoplay I say No, No, and No. And, just to be clear, No.

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