Welcome to a guide on how to stop video and audio autoplay in Google Chrome. The Internet is rich with multimedia these days with a ton of videos and audio, but as much as they add some interest to websites… They are sometimes pretty annoying with sudden autoplay and alarming sounds.
Even though several rules are imposed on when autoplay is allowed, it still remains a bugbear… Thankfully, there are a couple of additional steps that we can take to prevent it from happening – Read on to find out how!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHANGE AUTOPLAY POLICY
All right, for this first method, we will change the autoplay policy in Google Chrome to disallow videos and audio from autostarting.
COMMAND LINE DISABLE
For you guys who are on Windows, here is how we can change the autoplay policy from the command prompt. Mac and Linux users, the steps should be pretty much similar too.
Hit Start + R, enter
chrome --autoplay-policy=user-gesture-required into the run dialog box, then just hit OK. Chrome should fire up and look “normal as usual”, but all HTML video and audio now requires the user to manually play.
Sadly, the above setting will not “stick”. The moment Chrome is closed and reopened, it will revert back to the “selective autoplay”. So as an alternative for Windows users, you can create a shortcut and add the flag behind:
Start > Search for Chrome > Drag-and-drop the Chrome icon onto the desktop > Right-click on the Chrome desktop icon > Properties > Append
--autoplay-policy=user-gesture-required to the end of the target. That’s it, starting Chrome with this shortcut will now require the user to play media manually.
WHERE’S THE FLAG?
chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy. But sadly, as at the time of writing, that flag has been removed for some reason… But the command line will still work.
This method is not necessarily the most reliable. I have personally tried it with YouTube, and the videos still autoplay as usual. Guess there are other options, policies, maybe personal settings, or even technical limitations that will override this flag…
CHANGE SITE PERMISSIONS
For this next method, we will be changing the permissions of the individual websites to disallow playing sounds and videos.
For you guys who have do not know, we can actually control the permissions that websites have in Google Chrome – If they can access the GPS coordinates, show images, auto-download, play sounds, etc… Here’s how we change it in the desktop version of Google Chrome (Windows, Mac, or Linux):
Hit the ⁝ button at the top-right corner > Settings > Advanced > Site Settings.
What we interested in is to disable Flash and probably sound here. Simply tap on “Flash” or “Sound” then disable it.
INDIVIDUAL WEBSITE PERMISSIONS
Please take note that the above will disable Flash playback and sounds on all websites. If you only want to disable it on certain websites, just navigate to the website first, click on the icon beside the URL, then site settings.
ON MOBILE DEVICES
Mobile Chrome is slightly different, and a lot more straightforward. Hit the ⁝ button at the top-right corner > Settings > Advanced > Site settings > Media > Autoplay > Disallow.
Yep, the desktop version of Chrome seems to be slightly dumber here, no idea why there is no option to control the autoplay like in the mobile. Disabling sound playback will literally mean muting everything effectively, and not just stopping autoplay.
EXTENSIONS TO BLOCK AUTOPLAY
For this final method, we will be going through some Chrome Extensions that can help with stopping the autoplay.
WHAT ARE EXTENSIONS?
For you guys who have not heard of Chrome Extensions, they are simply “plugins” to add functionality to the web browser… Which are otherwise not available “by default”. Don’t worry, these extensions are illegal hacks, but officially supported – All the extensions recommended in this guide is hosted on the Chrome Web Store, run by Google themselves.
P.S. If you want to remove or manage your browser extensions, hit the ⁝ button at the top-right corner > More tools > Extensions.
Well, there is nothing much to the extensions, except to install and test them out. Here are a few of the “stop autoplay” extensions that I have found:
Just do a search for “block autoplay” on the Chrome Web Store and you will find a ton more.
The extensions work to a varying degree of success… It is pretty much a manner of finding the one works the best.
That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.
WHICH IS THE BEST METHOD?
Sadly, autoplay still seems to be quite a grey area at the time of writing with complex rules and regulations. Even as we manually set the autoplay to not go forward, slips still happen. So I will say that all of the above methods will only work to a certain degree… There is no best method.
EXTRA – MANUALLY MUTE
As a small extra, we can actually quickly mute a tab (temporarily) by right-clicking on it, mute site. Good for silencing the noisy sites quickly.
LINKS & REFERENCES
- How to Run Chromium with flags – Chromium Project
- Chromium Command Line Switches – Peter Beverloo
- How to Disable Autoplay Videos on Sites in Google Chrome – GroovyPost
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and working on DIY projects.