How to disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop

Jan 2, 2020
Tutorials, Windows software

Autoplaying videos are one of the biggest annoyances on the Internet. Nobody likes a loud, blaring, noisy video to play unexpectedly.

Telegram desktop autoplay videos in chats

Sadly, many websites think it's cool to have them. I have seen them on Steam too, during sale events or a new game launch or award ceremonies, or on Netflix, with its dreaded auto-play on hover.

The Telegram Desktop application was updated to version 1.9.3 today and it adds a few features (Telegram app was updated as well). I like the new spell checker and the resume playback option for videos is nice too. But the update also brings autoplay videos in chats. I don't really see why they enabled this by default for the desktop version.


Initially, I didn't notice it. But when I switched to another program and back, I noticed that I had received a couple of video messages which were autoplaying in-line. This was odd because, I always manually downloaded videos and they played in the full-screen mode. The in-line autoplay media's audio was muted while the video kept playing.

disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop

What really annoyed me was that there was no way to pause this in-line video, so it just kept playing (which in turn should be using some memory in the background). I thought sending a new message would stop the video but it did not. Multiple videos were playing at the same time too. Clicking on the video switches it to the full screen view and right-clicking on it just shows the regular options.

Then I remembered that the service had introduced this autoplay feature in their mobile app last year and that it was optional. Fortunately, the update message from Telegram does mention where to find the setting to disable autoplay videos.

But look at the screenshot and you will probably agree that it is a bit confusing.

How to disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop

1. Click on the menu button and then on Settings.

2. Select "Advanced".

3. This screen has a section named "Automatic Media Download" that has 3 options "In Private Chats, In Groups, In channels".

How to disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop app

4. Click on the first one (Private chats) and in the next screen, disable the toggles next to Videos and Round Video Messages.

disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop program

5. Hit the Save button.

Once you do this, videos will no longer automatically be downloaded or autoplay. Depending on your requirements, i.e., whether you want to disable autoplay videos completely, repeat Step 4 and 5 for Groups and Channels.

Personally I would have liked one setting named "Autoplay videos" and a toggle for it, instead of having to switch to three screens and repeat the steps. Disabling autoplay videos also disables the in-line video player. So, even if you've downloaded a video manually, the only way to view it is in the full-screen mode. The in-line player for desktop would actually be nice if it had an option to pause the video. In its current state you literally can't use it at all.

For those who don't know, Telegram's Round Videos were formerly called Telescope videos, and that's just a fancy term for "video messages" that are sent in a round format instead of a rectangle. And I thought Xbox nailed it with their naming schemes.

How to disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop
Article Name
How to disable autoplay videos in Telegram Desktop
Annoyed by videos that are autoplaying in Telegram? We show you how to disable the option.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Dwight Stegall said on January 2, 2020 at 10:12 am

    I love auto-playing videos. It saves me a thousand clicks a day.

    1. Claymore said on January 2, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      And probably costs your a good amount of data, if you don’t have a good plan. Better would be an opt-in than opt-out.

  2. cobalt said on January 2, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    I hate auto-playing videos. Never click on them. Never watch them. Just one more manic marketing/advertising ploy that is rampant on the internet, to grab your attention intrusively, greedily, and glaringly obnoxiously. Second worst is those stupid timed pop-ups to get you to sign-up for something. No wonder so many people have screwed up attention spans.

  3. ULBoom said on January 2, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Telegram is introducing Telepathic Videos, they play in your head and can’t be stopped unless you turn off the app, put the device in your freezer (no signal, batteries die quickly) then go outside into reality. Scary proposition but definitely worth trying.

  4. Peterc said on January 4, 2020 at 4:03 am

    I appreciate the tip, Ashwin — thanks!

  5. Anonymous said on January 7, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    i fucking hate autoplaying videos

    1. fiighi said on May 14, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      YESSSS! :))))

  6. Anonymous said on March 16, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Quick, concise and effective instructions!

  7. fhjhj said on May 14, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you so much!

  8. 01101001b said on August 30, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    You saved my life. Thank you! =)

  9. Daniel Gonzalez said on October 9, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks a lot for the tip!

  10. stuzzngton botulism said on March 3, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Unfortunately there’s still no way to stop an autoplaying video once you’ve started it. So you get to choose; either don’t watch it at all… or watch it looping for all eternity.

    More great UI design from your friendly neighbourhood Telegram devs. The people who brought you “no scrollbars on OSX” and “allowing other people to remotely delete data on your devices”

    1. Space Lord said on December 3, 2022 at 1:42 am

      Not true, at least not on my Telegram desktop PC setup; I started playing a video that I couldn’t find a way to stop playing in a loop over and over again, which led me to find this article.

      I followed the article’s instructions and toggled off the autoplay for videos and GIFs for all three categories, Private, Group and Channel, and once I did that and saved the settings the previously perma-looping video stopped and the UI was replaced with a blank window and a ‘Play’ symbol.

  11. Sashka said on December 11, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks a lot!

  12. Jo said on January 16, 2023 at 12:51 am

    Thank you, someone posting some disturbing surgery stuff in a group and I’m not keen on having it replay over and over.

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