Universally speaking, autoplay videos are annoying. On social media, they can suck you in, and the next thing you know, you’ve spent an hour scrolling through videos. On websites, they get in the way, following you around the page and covering up the text of an article.
Thankfully, there are ways to disable autoplaying videos everywhere. Social media apps offer methods to disable them, and you’ll also find the options built into many popular browsers (and if not, there’s always an extension to help you out).
How to disable autoplaying videos on social media
If you spend hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day, you can probably reclaim some lost time by disabling autoplay videos.
Disable autoplaying videos on Facebook
Open the Facebook app on your iPhone or Android smartphone and tap the Menu tab (on iOS, that’s in the bottom-right corner, and on Android, it’s on the top-right). Navigate to Settings & Privacy > Settings, and in the “Media and Controls” section, choose the “Videos and Photos” option.
Here, choose the “Never Autoplay Videos” option to block all autoplay videos.
You can also disable these on the Facebook website itself. Click the drop-down in the top-right corner and go to Settings & Privacy > Settings. Go to the “Videos” section in the sidebar, and from the “Auto-play videos” section, choose the “Off” option.
Disable autoplaying videos on Twitter
Twitter also has different options for disabling autoplay videos on the website and in its mobile apps. On your iPhone or Android smartphone, tap the three-lined Menu button to open the sidebar and go to the “Settings and Privacy” option. Then go to Data Usage > Video Autoplay and switch to the “Never” option.
On the website, click the three-dotted More button in the sidebar and choose the “Settings and Privacy” option. Here go to Accessibility, display, and languages > Data usage > Autoplay and set it to “Never.”
Disable autoplaying videos on Instagram
Instagram is really out to get your attention, and there’s no way to directly disable autoplaying videos in the app. Your best bet is it use the website, where Instagram won’t autoplay videos by default.
However, on mobile apps, you can effectively disable autoplay videos by enabling low data mode. Go to your Profile and tap the three-lined Menu button in the top-right corner. Go to Settings > Account > Cellular Data Use.
If you’re using an iPhone, enable the “Use Less Data” option. If you’re using an Android smartphone, enable the “Data Saver” feature and then choose the “High Resolution Media” option.
How to disable autoplaying videos in a desktop browser
Want to stop autoplay videos for all of the websites you visit? You can try browser-level features that disable autoplaying media. But when it comes to effectiveness, your mileage may vary based on your browser of your choice (Chrome, for instance, offers no such feature),which means you may have to resort to using an extension (more of that in a minute).
Disable autoplaying videos in Microsoft Edge
In Microsoft Edge, click the three-dotted Menu button in the toolbar and choose the “Settings” option. In the left sidebar, go to “Cookies & Site Permissions,” and from the “Media Autoplay” section, switch to the “Limit” option.
This is not a kill switch for all videos, unfortunately, but the browser will limit autoplay videos in the future based on your past interactions with autoplaying media on a given site.
Disable autoplaying videos in Firefox
Firefox has a really good feature that allows you to block autoplay videos on all websites (and you can whitelist some sites, like Lifehacker, if you choose to).
Click the three-lined Menu button in the toolbar and go to “Settings.” In the “Privacy & Security” section, click the “Settings” button next to the “Autoplay” option. From the popup, click the drop-down next to the “Default for all websites” option, and switch to “Block audio and video.”
Disable autoplaying videos in Safari
Safari is really good about blocking autoplay videos (and about privacy features in general). In fact, it blocks autoplay videos by default, so you don’t need to do anything at all.
If for some reason the feature is disabled for you, reenable it by going to Safari > Preferences from the menu bar. Switch to the “Websites” tab and choose “Auto-Play” in the sidebar. In the bottom-right drop-down, choose the “Never Auto-Play” option.
How to disable Autoplay videos using a browser extension
Built-in autoplay blockers don’t always work, and if you’re using Chrome, you don’t even get the option. In times like these, you can try a third-party extension like AutoplayStopper. It works on both Chrome and Edge, and it will block autoplaying videos on all websites (including news websites).