How to Stop Autoplay Video in Chrome

Nov 20, 2017 - 18 Comments

Stop Autoplay in Chrome

Have you ever wondered how to stop autoplay video in Chrome? You’re not alone, since most users consider autoplaying video and autoplaying audio on the web to be annoying. The good news is that with a little secret settings adjustment you can easily disable autoplay video and autoplay audio on Chrome for Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android.

The walkthrough below will show you exactly how to disable autoplay video and audio in the Google Chrome web browser. This goes beyond muting a tab or browser window in Chrome that is playing audio or video, as it actively prevents any Chrome browser tab or window from starting the media playing in the first place. Once activated, you must manually start playing audio or video in Google Chrome, all autoplay events will end.

How to Stop All Autoplay Video & Audio in Chrome

This works the same to end autoplay video and audio with Google Chrome for every operating system the browser works on, and perhaps the best thing about it is you won’t need to install a plugin or extension because the capability is native in Chrome. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Open Chrome or Chrome Canary if you have not done so already
  2. Go to “chrome://flags” in the URL bar and hit Return/Enter
  3. In the search box at the top, type in “autoplay”
  4. Look for “Autoplay policy” and pull down the submenu, then choose “Document user activation is required”
  5. Stopping autoplay video and audio in Chrome

  6. Relaunch Chrome for the setting to take effect
  7. How to stop Autoplay video and audio in Chrome

You can immediately test it out by going to any webpage that autoplays video or audio, like a Bloomberg video article or Youtube.

All video or audio now requires you to click on it before it will play (hence, user activation being required), nothing will autoplay without you allowing it to play in the first place.

Speaking of YouTube, you can also simply disable autoplay on Youtube videos if you’d prefer to do that exclusively, rather than turning off all autoplay in the entire web browser.

How do I re-enable Chrome Autoplay Video and Audio?

If you decide you miss those autoplaying sounds and videos, and now want autoplay video and autoplay audio back again in Chrome, that’s just as simple:

  • Back in the Chrome browser, go to chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy
  • Choose “Default” as the option from the submenu pulldown
  • Relaunch Chrome

Once the app relaunches, autoplay will be back again for web video and web audio.

This obviously applies to only the Chrome web browser, though not just on the Mac or Windows PC, but on all Chrome platforms. It’s worth remembering that you can also disable autoplay in Safari on Mac or stop autoplay video in earlier Safari builds on the Mac if you’re a Safari user as well.

Autoplay video and audio is often maligned and rarely appreciated, we have covered this topic many times for many different apps, including how to stop autoplaying music over car Bluetooth from an iPhone, stop autoplay in the App Store, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Another approach for iOS Safari users is to use a content ad blocker on iPhone and iPad which will stop autoplaying media as well as advertisements if you use an extra aggressive blocker, but if you go that route then please remember to whitelist sites that you like and want to support, like ours.

One perk of blocking autoplay video on Chrome is that you’ll find the web browser may use less system resources, and you won’t have to hunt down tabs making noise and mute background tabs or windows that are making sounds from a video or sound embed.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Tips & Tricks

18 Comments

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  1. Steve says:

    I made the change, made sure it was there, and Bloomberg still autoplays.

  2. Howie Isaacks says:

    Why not just switch to Safari? It has an auto-play block built in as of Safari 11. Chrome is a good browser, but I like Safari better. I like using Hand Off, and I like that my history, and bookmarks sync over to every device logged in with my iCloud account.

    • INWDC says:

      I’ve had problems with Safari not properly loading a website. While I would prefer to have it as my goto browser, it simply isn’t as reliable as Chrome in my experience.

  3. Paul Gewirtz says:

    The first uncertain thing is that you don’t say “Type in chrome://flags” in URL window; you say “Go to”………

    After typing it in, Enter brings me to ‘Careful, these experiments may bite’ page with maybe 200 items listed which may be enabled or disabled….. and where I think I already accidentally hit a button.
    In WHAT search box on top do I type in ‘autoplay’? I do have an excessively wide URL box and over a dozen damned icons, the purpose of which, for most of them, I do not remember. Is my search box squeezed out?? There’s only a URL window here, and when ‘autoplay’ is typed in and Entered, I get a regular Google search page with ‘autoplay’ written in its search window, (separate from the top URL window, this time).

    Anyway, I do not know how I’m screwing up….so any observations will be really appreciated!

    Thanks so much,
    Paul

  4. Paul says:

    I went to “chrome://flags” but did not see a search box to type “autoplay” into. At the top, I did see some vague warning about this & that but nothing you said in the article.

  5. Ari says:

    Using the URL chrome://flags on my iPad iOS 11.2 does not work – there is no search panel there and neither an autoplay function in the list that appears

    • Cameron says:

      Hi Ari,
      Type cmd-F to bring up the search box on a Mac and go from there. On a PC it’s ctrl-F to get the search box.
      Good luck

    • Poodle says:

      I also can’t stop Chrome Autoplay on my vintage 1966 coffee grinder. Also I am trying to type chrome://flags onto my bagel this morning but it does not appear to accept the input, how do I do that? Any tips for that?

      Some of the commenters here, I have to wonder… it is like people do not read the articles?

  6. Neil says:

    I cut and pasted in the url chrome://flags but no search box at the top?

    • Dale Mackie says:

      You’re right, there is no search box.
      But the item is there. Scroll down about half the page and you will find it as listed.

      • Torben says:

        Just hit command+F (for find) – then search for autoplay.

        And btw this I find to be one of the best hints written on this site :-)

  7. INWDC says:

    Unfortunately this does not prevent autoplay. I went to Reuters and started reading an article only to have a small popout video start playing without any click or input from me. My understanding is that browsers have not been updated to address the control of HTML5 video autoplay. Chrome is my go-to browser because it’s more stable than Safari and more widely recognized. However, you can actually stop HTML5 autoplay in Safari’s debug menu (debug>media flags>video needs user action + audio needs user action).

  8. Robert says:

    Videos still seem to autoplay but without sound. I guess that is an improvement. :-(

  9. Kim Kristensen says:

    hope this will work, because autoplay of videos is so annoying, I’m not using Chrome regular until I have fixed it ;-)

  10. Bob says:

    CNN still autoplays with sound. :(

  11. Dr Curt Nicol D.D. Ph.D. says:

    Sadly doesn’t work here, YouTube still autoplays (and I’m talking about playlists where there is no built-in option to turn autoplay off)

  12. Sarah says:

    I tried this but it does not stop autoplay videos on sfgate.com which are the most intrusive and irritating of any site I know. I am very sad! :-(

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