How to control audio and video autoplay in Google Chrome - gHacks Tech News

How to control audio and video autoplay in Google Chrome

While there are plenty of things online that can break your concentration or focus on a task, autoplaying video or audio surely is at the top of "don't like" list for many Internet users.

One has to distinguish between autoplaying media with and without sound, as that makes a difference. While you can ignore videos that play automatically if they are silent for the most part, it is impossible to do so if sound is enabled by default.

Autoplay is beneficial on some sites. Say, you are on YouTube and click on a video. Chance is very high that you want to play the video so that configuring the site to play videos automatically may make sense.

My main objections to autoplaying content on the Internet are that this is distracting, that it may slow down the loading of a service or page, and that you have to interact with these elements to stop them.

Google Chrome: control audio and video playback

chrome autoplay policy

Google introduced a new flag in Chrome 61 which gives users of the web browser control over the browser's autoplay behavior.

Flags are experimental features of Chrome that may be pulled or integrated natively in the browser at any time.

Autoplay policy is "used when deciding if audio or video is allowed to autoplay". It is available for Chrome on the desktop, Chrome OS and also Android.

Here is how you configure the setting:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy in the Chrome browser. Note that you do need Chrome 61 or newer on any of the supported operating systems to access the flag.
  2. Click on the menu next to it, and select one of the available options:
    1. Default -- autoplay is enabled.
    2. No user gesture is required -- Users don't need to interact with the document for video or audio sources to start playing automatically.
    3. User gesture is required for cross-origin iFrames -- Same as "no user gesture is required" but only for same-origin media content. Audio or video content loaded from other sites require user interaction.
    4. Document user activation is required -- Users need to interact with the document before audio or video content is played automatically.
  3. Restart the Chrome browser.

If you want to limit autoplay, select "Document user activation is required".  Note that this won't block autoplaying media completely, as media starts to play as soon as you interact with the page. It helps with opening pages in the background that play audio or video content automatically though.

Now You: What's your take on autoplaying media on the Internet?

Related articles

Summary
How to control audio and video autoplay in Google Chrome
Article Name
How to control audio and video autoplay in Google Chrome
Description
While there are plenty of things online that can break your concentration or focus on a task, autoplaying video or audio surely is at the top of "don't like" list for many Internet users.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

Comments

  1. Yuliya said on February 6, 2018 at 12:08 pm
    Reply

    I have Chromium 66.0.3326.0 here, and the last few builds (I think starting somewhere near the end of December) autoplay is disabled by default. On YouTube, if I open a tab with a video, I have to manually start the playback, but it will remember that if I have “play next” feature enabled on YT, so upon loading the next video the playback will start automatically.

    I think this is good. There are sill sites that do this nonsense, where they have an autoplaying video on the sidebar and have obscured the play/pause button.

  2. Charlie said on February 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    Reply

    I have “Disable” selected in Chrome 64.0.3282.10 PC running W10 64bit, and the little video starts playing very shortly after the page loads and me not even touching the mouse or keyboard as and after after the CNET page loads. I see that the audio is silent but the video plays automatically.
    This url: https://www.cnet.com/news/sony-i-shrunk-the-4k-blu-ray-player/?ftag=CAD-04-10aai6f&bhid=20645370454130283494487635478142

    On a different topic… On my Android 7 smartphone, when I view a Ghacks topic from your daily email, I don’t see the way to view the comments for that topic. I see “Comments” in blue right below that topic’s title area, but when I click on “Comments” it merely loads the full topic page rather than the comments for that topic. And, when I page down thru a given topic, it seems like the entire topic posting is repeated at least once, and there are not comments at the end of the topic the way they appear on my PC. I assume I’m missing something – but what?

    1. Charlie said on February 6, 2018 at 8:17 pm
      Reply

      I did follow the How-to Geek instructions on how to disable the video autoplay in Firefox and it worked just fine.

      1. Charlie said on February 6, 2018 at 8:39 pm
        Reply

        OK. Firefox not just fine, so I had to change about:config’s autoplay
        media.autoplay.enabled back to “default”

        On this website (launched by clicking the link in an email) the web page loaded fine but I was not able to get the video to play even by clicking on the video’s PLAY arrow:
        https://topspeedgolf.com/vault/how-to-hit-10-yards-farther-now/?lp=yes&__s=9dzp5esaij248re8hcen&utm_source=drip&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=D048.+How+to+Hit+10+Yards+Further+Now%21&utm_content=how+to+hit+10+yards+farther

  3. ak said on February 6, 2018 at 5:41 pm
    Reply

    Firefox Nightly also has a similar pref. In about:config set “media.autoplay.enabled.user-gestures-needed” to true.

  4. ilev said on February 7, 2018 at 8:51 am
    Reply

    I use the AutoPlay Stopper add-on in Chrome. No auto audio or video.

  5. Shawross said on April 21, 2018 at 2:41 am
    Reply

    Thanks for this Martin because autoplay of media is a pet hate of mine as it probably is with many people.

  6. Chris Rainey said on May 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    Reply

    FYI: this feature is killing “Google Voice” & “Google Hangouts” ringer in Gmail and Inbox by Gmail apps on desktop!

    SEE: https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/chrome/mhgMSpX-sEs/x0hZXbL7AgAJ

Leave a Reply