AutoPause for Firefox pauses all non-active tab audio

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 4, 2020
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Most web browsers do not limit media playback to the active tab. In other words, if multiple audio sources are loaded at the same time, you will get audio from all of these; this is often not desired, especially if a background site may play video ads with sounds or something similar while you try to listen to Internet radio, watch a video, or play a game with audio in the active tab.

AutoPause is a brand new extension for the Firefox web browser that serves only one purpose: to pause any audio source in the browser if audio is playing in the active tab.

The extension is open source, and you may check out its code on GitHub. It requests access to data on all websites and browser tabs; both of these are required for its functionality. The source files do not contain anything problematic and focus solely on the core functionality.

autopause pause audio for firefox

All you need to do is install the extension from Mozilla's add-ons store. You need to accept the installation prompt that displays the required permissions. After that, everything works out automatically and without any need to configure the extension. In fact, there are not any options provided. You may enable private windows support in the options, but that is a standard option.

Once installed, all audio playback, including playback of videos with audio, will stop if audio starts to play in the active tab in the browser. Media playback in background tabs resumes when the audio activity stops in the active tab.

The extension is quite useful for users who don't want multiple audio streams playing in the Firefox browser at the same time. Say, you like to play Internet Radio in a background tab all the time, but want it to stop when you stumble upon an interesting YouTube video that you would like to play, another song on a site, or any other service that includes audio playback.

An option to whitelist sites would be useful to allow them to continue playing audio. May be useful to keep background music running even while audio is playing in the active tab.

Closing Words

AutoPause is a handy niche extensions for the Firefox web browser. It is mostly useful to Firefox users who run into multiple-audio-streams-playing-at-the-same-time issues regularly in the browser. Prime candidates are users who like to play background audio or video streams all the time while using the browser.

Now You: how often do you run into multiple-tabs playing audio issues in your browser?

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  1. Jeff said on December 5, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Is there an extension to make hardware media keys only for the current/focused/active tab and not have global behavior?

  2. VioletMoon said on December 4, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Guess I don’t get it; I’ve never had the issue. FF has the native setting to block or ask video and audio, yes?

    And another article says to use the about:config settings–more than one, but they all start with or are like “media.autoplay.blocking_policy.”

    So, I don’t understand why I would need an add-on.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 5, 2020 at 6:56 am

      The extension is not for blocking content outright, it is designed to block media playback temporarily while audio plays in the active tab.

    2. Anonymous said on December 5, 2020 at 6:53 am

      Pause other audio and video sources if audio is playing on the active tab with automatic resume.

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