Almost everyone who uses the internet is familiar with the frustration of auto-playing videos. When you visit a site, they start, using your bandwidth and potentially interrupting your music or other media. Google Chrome used to have a disable autoplay videos setting to address this, but Alphabet Inc. is primarily an advertiser and owns the world’s largest video site, so it soon went back on that decision.
As well as removing the stop autoplay videos setting, Google removed the developer flags, meaning many older guides no longer work. Though Chrome still disables some autoplay videos by default, it’s far from all of them and is dependent on its autoplay policies.
First, the browser enables autoplay without sound at all times, even if you’re on a metered connection. It also allows autoplay with sound if the user has interacted with the domain, with a simple click on the webpage being enough. Any site that has been added to the home screen or installed as a PWA also has permission.
On desktop, the video’s Media Engagement Index (MEI) also comes into play. Google Chrome measures how often a user interacts with media on any given site. It counts a ‘significant media playback’ as a time when a user watches an audio and video stream for more than 7 seconds in their active tab at a resolution of more than 200×140 pixels. If the score is high enough, it enables autoplay. You can check your own MEI navigating to the address
As you can imagine, all of this leads to plenty of instances where Chrome still autoplays when you don’t want it to. Thankfully, there’s still a way to stop HTML5 autoplay on a lot of videos, and you can easily mute them automatically for the ones that slip through. Here’s how to turn off autoplay in the browser:
How to Mute All Autoplay Videos in Google Chrome
As mentioned, Chrome no longer has block video ads or stop autoplay settings, but you can mute every webpage, then enable audio for the ones you use regularly. For many users, this is enough.
- Open Chrome settings
- Open Site Settings
- Click “Additional content settings”
- Toggle “Mute sites that play sound”
- Unmute the sites you enjoy
How to disable Autoplay for Videos with a Special Shortcut
If you have reason to be more aggressive, such as a data cap, there are no Chrome flags autoplay settings anymore, but you can halt them via a desktop shortcut.
- Create a new shortcut
- Browse to Chrome’s .exe-file
- Add the “disable autoplay”-argument
- Name the shortcut
Call the shortcut whatever works for you, but make sure you can differentiate it from the normal Chrome. We’ve chosen Chrome (no autoplay), but you could also name it ‘Chrome disable autoplay’, ‘video blocker Chrome’, or anything else. Once you’re done, press “Finish”.
- Check an autoplay site
Go to whatever site you’ve been having issues with and make sure the changes have worked. CNN’s autoplay is notoriously annoying, so we recommend that as a starting point. Note that these changes may not squash every video, but it should work on a lot more than webpages than Chrome’s default setting.
How to Disable Autoplay with Chrome Extensions
The final option is to use a Chrome autoplay extension, but it’s last for a reason. Extensions can be hit and miss, with some working well, some only working on a handful of sites, and some not at all. As a result, it’s best to combine them with the shortcut-solution above.
- Download and install an extension from the Chrome Web Store
Visit the Chrome Web Store and search for “autoplay”, or follow the link to one of our recommended plugins: