Firefox gets option to control sites with autoplay sound - gHacks Tech News

Firefox gets option to control sites with autoplay sound

One of the most annoying things on the web for many Internet users is autoplaying content and here in particular autoplaying content with sound.

While autoplay is expected in some situations, for instance when you click on a video link, it sometimes comes in unexpected forms, for instance as video ads with autoplay sound or unrelated videos on pages with articles that you are interested in.

Browser makers have started to do something about autoplaying content; Microsoft's Edge web browser includes an option to disable media autoplay in the next feature release later this year, and Google Chrome supports automatic autoplay blocking as of Chrome 66.

You may consult our guides on controlling audio and video autoplay in Chrome, and using the audio mute functionality of the browser.

Mozilla added HTML5 video autoplay blocking to Firefox in 2015. Firefox users who run the Nightly version of the web browser get access to a new feature to control sound autoplay in the Firefox browser as of today.

firefox sound autoplay

You need to make sure that Firefox Nightly is up to date. Select Menu > Help > About Nightly to make sure that this is the case.

Load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar afterward and scroll down to the permissions section on the page to configure the new option.

Activate the menu next to "for websites that autoplay sound" and select one of the available options. The default is set to "always ask" and you may switch the preference to "always" or "block autoplay".

If you select the block option, any video with sound that would autoplay on any website gets blocked. A quick test confirmed that this works on YouTube and other video streaming websites. Firefox displays a play button in the video area that you need to interact with to start playback.

The browser comes with options to add exceptions. If you want your favorite music site to always play music or your favorite video site to play videos, you can add their URLs to the list of exceptions to make sure that this is the case.

The autoplay sound blocking option landed in Firefox 63 Nightly. It will make it into Firefox 63 Stable at the earliest but that depends on bug reports and issues that may come up.

Now You: Do you block media autoplay?

Related articles:

Summary
Firefox gets option to control sites with autoplay sound
Article Name
Firefox gets option to control sites with autoplay sound
Description
Mozilla Firefox 63 gets an option to control autoplay sound in the web browser; options include blocking any autoplay with sound or allowing it.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Franck said on July 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm
    Reply

    Very useful, that’s great !

  2. Yuliya said on July 21, 2018 at 4:32 pm
    Reply

    All these changes are fine and dandy, but Mozilla removed the option to disable auto updates: imgur.com/TKcZyd9
    WTF MOZILLA??!! This isn’t Windows 10!!

    1. Nightly Builds Are Your Friend said on July 21, 2018 at 7:40 pm
      Reply

      WTF MOZULIYA??!!! YOUR’S is a Nightly … stup*d!

      What is Firefox Nightly?

      Every day, Mozilla developers write code that is merged into a common code repository (mozilla-central) and every day that code is compiled so as to create a pre-release version of Firefox based on this code for testing purposes, this is what we call a Nightly build.

      How does it update?

      Nightly gets an update twice a day (or night, depending on your timezone), building starts at 10:00 and 22:00 UTC, usually builds are available one hour or two later. That means that there is an update in the morning for The Americas and another one for EMEA/Asia

      The update is downloaded in the background, when this is done, there is a small green badge that appears on the hamburger menu which indicates that if your restart your Nightly, an update will be applied.

      If you don’t apply this update within 12 hours, a dialog box will pop up asking you to do so. If you want this dialog to show up later than 12h, in about:config change the “app.update.promptWaitTime” value from 43200 to a higher value, 86400 for 24 hours for example.

      Sometimes, we will issue more than two updates per day, typically this is because we found out we introduced a major regression (a spike in crashes for example) and we don’t want our users to have a broken browser for 24h.

      Source: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Nightly

    2. Sören Hentzschel said on July 21, 2018 at 8:13 pm
      Reply

      No need for a” WTF”, updates can still be disabled, only the way to disable these has been changed. But disabling browser updates, this really deserves a “WTF”. Security should not be optional for a browser. And add-on compatiblity can’t be a reason for disabling updates since Firefox Quantum.

      1. Yuliya said on July 22, 2018 at 12:39 am
        Reply

        Spare me with your wise remarks please. I don’t need auto update to kick in and pester me with all sorts of notifications. I can do them by myself manually too.

      2. Dear sweet Yulia said on July 22, 2018 at 8:15 pm
        Reply

        I must admire your brave skills in literally derailing any FireFox topic.
        Let’s have a competition. What about this topic?

        “Kangaroos never jump backwards, that’s why Aussies didn’t win the World Cup in Russia”

        I am pretty sure, every frenchman in this forum can proof, that is pure nonsens. It’s up to you now to convince this audience, it was Mozillas fault.

        C’mon Sweetheart!

      3. user78134 said on July 22, 2018 at 12:50 am
        Reply

        Updates were always automatic, but could be manually turned off. Thus it can be said that Mozilla reduced the functionality.

        People have their reasons, and surprisingly not everyone conforms to the reasons of Sören Hentzschel.

        Lots of Firefox Users like the control they have over the software, which is slowly being taken away.

        Mozilla is losing power users by the millions.

      4. Sören Hentzschel said on July 22, 2018 at 8:28 am
        Reply

        @user78134:

        > Thus it can be said that Mozilla reduced the functionality.

        Nope, this can’t be said because it’s still possible in Firefox 63 and higher. As I already said: only the way to do this has changed. There is no reduced functionality at all.

        > Lots of Firefox Users like the control they have over the software, which is slowly being taken away.

        Since it’s still possible how exactly the control over the software is being taken away?

      5. user78134 said on July 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm
        Reply

        This is what happens outside of the Mozilla filter bubble: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3243010/web-browsers/mozillas-claims-of-firefox-quantum-success-arent-confirmed-by-user-stats.html

        Desktop market share is at all time low in relative terms, and the mobile market is lost.

        There has been a loss of around 35 Million unique users between 2014 and 2017. (https://andreasgal.com/2017/07/19/firefox-marketshare-revisited/)

        The decline of Add-On users in the Add-On usage statistics shows that the trend continues in 2018.

        Users are not happy with Firefox.

        @Sören: Putting the options out of the UI is a pretty big change.

        This is about UX design and user behavior. If you take something out of the UI it disappears for 99% of the user base. The other 1% will need to invest time to research how to get the old behavior.

        Mozilla also took the detailed Cookie control out of the options. These things matter to lots of people.

        @Calling a Heron a Crow: The option will probably come to regular Firefox eventually. It is legitimate to critize changes, that’s what the community is for, it is valuable feedback.

        @Pants: There is a significant part of the power user base that is leaving Firefox. When Firefox just wants to be a Chrome copy, they will lose their user base in the next years. There’s a reason Mozilla isn’t publishing the changes in absolute user numbers for Quantum, I am pretty sure it’s a disaster.

      6. Pants said on July 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm
        Reply

        @user78134

        “Mozilla is losing power users by the millions.”

        lulz .. keep it up man, I mean if you’re a “power user” (I hate that term) then you would know that this change makes no difference. You’re spouting utter nonsense and I suspect you’re not even a “power user”

      7. John Fenderson said on July 23, 2018 at 8:30 pm
        Reply

        “And add-on compatiblity can’t be a reason for disabling updates since Firefox Quantum.”

        If that’s not a valid reason to avoid updating, then the only option left would be to avoid using Firefox entirely.

      8. Sören Hentzschel said on July 24, 2018 at 8:21 am
        Reply

        @John Fenderson:

        > If that’s not a valid reason to avoid updating, then the only option left would be to avoid using Firefox entirely.

        If you don’t understand a comment, maybe you should ask before making such comments. *facepalm*

        Why should someone disable browser updates because of add-ons if there are only new APIs for more and better add-ons with newer versions of Firefox and *no* incompatibilites? As everyone should know, this is one of the biggest advantages of WebExtensions that add-on incompatibilites are an exception and the situation is a different compared to Pre-Quantum.

      9. John Fenderson said on July 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm
        Reply

        “Why should someone disable browser updates because of add-ons if there are only new APIs for more and better add-ons”

        Because the new API is inferior, and there are many useful add-ons that cannot be implemented in it. That may change in the future, of course (although Mozilla says that for a number of things, it won’t), but it is the case right now.

    3. Cornelis said on July 21, 2018 at 9:30 pm
      Reply

      Just open about:config on your browser

      Then you look for the value named browser.search.update.interval

      Then you change the default value from 21600 to 9999999

      Now instead of checking for a new version of Firefox every 21600 minutes (15 days) it will check for a new version every 9999999 minutes (6944.44 days)

      No more worries about automatic updates

      1. Yuliya said on July 22, 2018 at 11:29 am
        Reply

        Cornelis, the problem with this is that the “About Firefox” windows still does an update check every time is opened. Once that checks and finds an update I get a constant badge in the menu to update.

        “app.update.url” does not seem to do anything regardless of its value in this case. So what I’ve done to stop it from checking for updates is redirect “aus5.mozilla.org” to localhost. Now Firefox always reports as if it’s up to date. Far from ideal but better than multiple update windows stacked on top of each other and taskbar orange flashing buttons.

      2. Dear Mademoiselle Yulia said on July 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm
        Reply

        If you don’t get the idea why and what Nightly Builds are for, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL Firefox Nightly and complain that it updates twice a day! Stick to the Release channel.

        BTW, the option “Not to search for Updates” has never been in FF Nightly!

      3. Yuliya said on July 22, 2018 at 8:59 pm
        Reply

        I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Here is Mozilla Firefox Nightly 63.0a1 (2018-07-07) (64-bit) with updates disabled: imgur.com/ocLACJn
        This is a very recent change.

      4. Yulias fake said on July 23, 2018 at 9:41 am
        Reply

        Easily done with devtools

        https://imgur.com/a/k3ryK78

        C’mon sugar … ♥♥♥

      5. Cigologic said on August 2, 2018 at 12:51 am
        Reply

        @ Cornelis: “browser.search.update.interval – Then you change the default value from 21600 to 9999999. Now instead of checking for a new version of Firefox every 21600 minutes (15 days) it will check for a new version every 9999999 minutes (6944.44 days)”

        The about:config pref “browser.search.update.interval” has nothing to do with Firefox checking for browser version updates. Instead, this pref specifies the time interval (in hours) between update checks for the browser’s installed SEARCH PLUGINS.

        See: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Browser.search.updateinterval

        The above pref requires that “browser.search.update = true” — ie. automatic update checks for the browser’s SEARCH PLUGINS is enabled. If this pref is set to false, it doesn’t matter what value is set for “browser.search.update.interval”, because you already told Firefox not to automatically check for SEARCH PLUGINS updates.

        http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config_entries#Browser.
        → Look for “browser. search. update”

    4. Calling a Heron a Crow said on July 22, 2018 at 3:31 am
      Reply

      WTF YULIYA! You have a Firefox Nightly!

      Nightly gets an update twice a day (or night, depending on your timezone) at 10:00 and 22:00 UTC to create a pre-release version of Firefox for testing purposes.

      It’s utterly nonsense to skip any of these updates, so it doesn’t make any sense to disable auto updates.

      Nothing is removed!

    5. Pants said on July 22, 2018 at 6:07 am
      Reply

      Sheesh, talk about an over-reaction.

      First of all, this is not forcing updates, it is only the update check. In nightly, they are testing how annoying the prompts become. @Cornelis – I don’t think its every 15 days default IMO, at least on my browser (I haven’t applied the latest dot release) it prompts me every few hours. There’s something else going on, but I can’t be bothered digging into the exact settings/causes. But I am sure it can be done – I may add instructions on how to do it properly when 63 hits stable.

      Consider that Opera auto updates, and chrome does as well (by default and they’re A-holes with their windows task scheduling etc). Other browsers I’m not sure.

      So FF is not FORCING an update, just reminding you, and the timing of reminders is still being tweaked. Consider also that as a DEFAULT, this is a good policy (I do not run installed FF, only portable, so I am not sure if the actual default for installed versions is to auto-update) – it’s important that end users have up-to-date software. For the small percentage of users such as yourself, then you can easily bypass it. You can still set a Enterprise policy (you don’t need to be on ESR to do this). “power users” will not be upset by this, just those that don’t understand the reasons why it was done, and that it really makes no difference.

      Every time Mozilla add a feature to FF, there’s always those who goes off-topic and complain. I can see it now… news headlines splashed across the world – “MOZILLA CURES CANCER” and the tiny plethora of users spouting “but they took away my hamster wheel animation” and “my spacebar no longer makes my laptop warm and toasty, I was using it as a heater”

      1. Ban me said on July 22, 2018 at 11:56 am
        Reply

        Fanboy tears best tears.

    6. Anonymous said on July 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm
      Reply

      The change is only for Nightly. It’s a browser intended for testing so there’s no reason to disable updates. If you want to completely disable updates use the normal version.

  3. Weilan said on July 21, 2018 at 7:25 pm
    Reply

    One thing I particularly hate is YouTube auto playing videos. I had to install a Chrome extension that paused the video on each page load. And it still doesn’t work perfectly as you can sometimes see the video auto playing and only a second later the feature to pause the video kicking in… Really annoying.

    This feature on Firefox is nice, but it should extend to entirely blocking any content that tries to play automatically. Also the fact that most such content nowadays uses HTML5 first and Flash only as a fallback, it should be easier to achieve.

    1. klaas said on July 22, 2018 at 5:12 am
      Reply

      @Weilan: regarding your YouTube autoplay issue, there is a perfect add-on for that called Iridium, it’s specifically for YouTube – Martin recently discussed it. It has lots of options, one of which is to stop video to autoplay.
      There is a also a script version in case you don’t want an extension. I use the script version and it works fine.

      1. Weilan said on July 22, 2018 at 11:13 am
        Reply

        Neato, I gotta check it out.

      2. Anonymous said on July 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm
        Reply

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/particle-iridium/
        From the dev: “Due to the degrading direction AMO has taken all reviews will be ignored.”

        A company does a stupid thing, all people who have nothing to do with its bad decision but at the contrary trying to help are punished.

        “Due to the degrading direction AMO has taken”, I will never install your add-on.

      3. Anonymous said on July 30, 2018 at 1:51 am
        Reply

        I don’t blame the developer or developers, the review sections are an absolute jungle since the mozilla team stopped controlling them – probably don’t have enough people for that. I actually found myself no longer reading the reviews whenever I install an add-on because of it, why are there lots of one star reviews with nothing written at all from lots of Anonymous-###?
        He could still care for the legitimate reviews, but I don’t blame him for his decision.

    2. zahra said on August 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm
      Reply

      hello.
      if you want to disable autoplay of video files in firefox,
      in about:config
      just write
      media.autoplay.enabled
      in about:config’s search and press enter on it to make it false.

  4. Chris said on July 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm
    Reply

    Can this be configured on a per-site basis? THAT would be very useful.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 21, 2018 at 9:03 pm
      Reply

      You can add exceptions, so yes, this should work.

      1. Chirs said on July 21, 2018 at 10:37 pm
        Reply

        Thanks Martin. That’s certainly better than nothing. Per-site configurability would be ideal, but an exception list is a good start.

  5. John Doe 101 said on July 21, 2018 at 10:15 pm
    Reply

    Do NOT really know what’s so wrong with the new FF,

    but compared to Opera or Chrome itself, FF needs 9.76 Secs to load a page which the other two do in 2-3 Secs???

    Mystic.

    1. Richard Allen said on July 22, 2018 at 10:07 am
      Reply

      I for one would be curious to see some examples. Do you have any URLs?

      I’m guessing that you do because 9.76 seconds is pretty specific.

      I have noticed that sometimes cached elements in Firefox expire immediately but they don’t in Chrome. I haven’t looked to see if they are getting different headers or what the deal is.

      For uncached pages I’m seeing differences in page load times that are measured in milliseconds.

      1. John Doe 101 said on July 22, 2018 at 9:22 pm
        Reply

        URLs, its the loading of per example Dailymail.co.uk, that takes so long,

        Opera and Chrome are fine, only FF had Dom loadingtime to 9 secs, do NOT know why!

      2. Richard Allen said on July 23, 2018 at 12:58 am
        Reply

        Sorry, I have no idea what your browser configurations look like but on my end Firefox loaded the dailymail.co.uk faster and I then went ahead and looked at the BBC home page and Chrome was faster. In both cases the difference was less than a second and that’s generally what I see when looking at page load times. Firefox will be faster on one site and Chrome on another with the difference most often measured in tenths of a second. At least that’s what I’m seeing. Also, the Daily Mail had a bunch of errors and warnings in both FF and Chrome, someone needs to work on their optimization.

        I have Chrome and Firefox optimized as best I can with Chrome using a handful of command line switches and a few dozen flags. And FF has dozens of about:config changes. Browsers are using a lot of the same extensions that are setup exactly the same, most importantly uBlock Origin, No-Script Suite Lite and Privacy Possum. I actually disabled the FF Tracking Protection on Daily Mail otherwise FF would have been 1-2 tenths of a second faster. Big whoop right? :)
        Screenshots:
        “https://s22.postimg.cc/mjogwr4oh/Daily_Mail_page_load_time.png”
        “https://s22.postimg.cc/ribzba0rl/BBC_page_load_time.png”

      3. Richard Allen said on July 23, 2018 at 1:42 am
        Reply

        I just looked at the DailyMail using Chrome Dev and my 2nd Firefox profile that has mostly default settings and the results are the same. The new UI in Chrome Dev is… a mess!
        “https://s22.postimg.cc/rm5srubhd/Daily_Mail_Chrome_Dev_FF_2nd_profile.png”

      4. John Doe 101 said on July 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm
        Reply

        Thanks for Reply, the new Chrome UI is a mess? So change it back under chrome://flags, then

        UI Layout for the browser’s top chrome and change it there back to normal, restart, done.

      5. Richard Allen said on July 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm
        Reply

        I’ve actually been changing the UI in Chrome Dev back and forth for a few weeks trying to keep up with the changes. I’ll get sick of it and change it back to “Normal” since I use Dev more than Stable. I’ll likely change it back next time I open it. Okay Okay… I just went and changed it back, are you happy now? I am. Phew! It was killing me, the horror. LoL

        I’ve always typed the two letters md into the search box to see the UI related flags.

      6. John Doe 101 said on July 23, 2018 at 3:14 pm
        Reply

        Uuups, i found the mistake in my FF. The network settings were on use System Proxy, so i changed to No Proxy, FF behaves as expected again. Mea Culpa.

      7. Richard Allen said on July 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm
        Reply

        Excellent, I’m glad you figured it out!

        I’m always experimenting and sometimes forget aka procrastinate in making a note then wonder later what for and how come. :)

  6. Paul(us) said on July 21, 2018 at 11:58 pm
    Reply

    Totaly loving this new possibility.
    It would be even more awesome (and effective) twist when there will be created a new function with the possibility where you yourself can program the hight of the volume standard after you turn the sound back on. This so you never going from no sound at all to mostly an unpleasant level of sound volume.

  7. linuxmint_user said on July 22, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    Reply

    Hi,
    EU/DE Im FF lässt sich dies relativ leicht in der config wie folgt abstellen:
    about:config -> media.autoplay.enabled-> von “true” auf “false” ändern.

    ^EU-brexit/UK^ In FF, this can be set relatively easily in the config as follows:
    about:config -> media.autoplay.enabled->change from “true” to “false”

  8. jasray said on July 22, 2018 at 8:42 pm
    Reply

    1. Edit the file prefs.js, located in %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xyz.default\ which usually translates to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xyz.default\ (Note: username and xyz will vary)

    2. Make sure the line user_pref(“app.update.enabled”, false); is present in the file; if it isn’t, add it or modify it. Ignore the warning that this file should not be edited

    3. Save and close the file

    4. Start and use Firefox without having to worry about automatic updates

    5. Optional: Note the button “Check for updates” in the “About Firefox” dialog box. Of course, DO NOT click it until you are prepared and ready to receive the update

    @linux mint user–it works for me as well:

    about:config -> media.autoplay.enabled->change from “true” to “false”

    1. Richard Allen said on July 23, 2018 at 1:04 am
      Reply

      I had tried “app.update.enabled” in Nightly earlier and still got the evening update. That was just a one day test on my part to see if it would work, I actually want Nightly to update.

  9. common sense computing said on July 23, 2018 at 2:11 am
    Reply

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashstopper/
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/mute-sites-by-default/

    For complete control of audio and video autoplay. Requires a non-Gimped version of Firefox a.k.a. waterfox.

  10. John Fenderson said on July 23, 2018 at 8:28 pm
    Reply

    “Do you block media autoplay?”

    Yes, always and forever. More than that, I block the media itself as a side effect to not allowing scripts to run without my express permission.

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