How to disable autoplay video in Chrome

How to disable autoplay video in Chrome

Last updated: April 23, 2019 

For a long time, automatic pop-up windows were the scourge of internet users. Today, most web browsers block useless pop-ups by default before they have a chance to interrupt your day. Apart from being an annoyance, pop-up windows often carried misleading content that led to malicious websites. There is a new bane in town — autoplay audio and video.

As the world’s most popular web browser, you would think Google Chrome would offer some recourse in Settings to thwart autoplay video. The Chrome Web Store offers a few extensions that perform this function. To natively disable autoplay video in Chrome, however, users must dive into the browser’s experimental features.

Disable autoplay video in Chrome

Flags are Chrome’s hidden experimental features. As Google warns, “by enabling these features, you could lose browser data or compromise your security or privacy.” So now you’re living on the edge because you don’t want to autoplay videos. Follow the steps below to disable autoplay video in Chrome by default.

Step 1. Launch Chrome and copy/paste this address into the address bar: chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy

disable autoplay video in Chrome

Step 2. Next, under Autoplay policy, click the Default drop-down menu. Choose Document user activation is required from the list.

disable autoplay video in Chrome

Step 3. Finally, click the Relaunch Now button at the base of the page so your Autoplay policy change takes effect.

disable autoplay video in Chrome

This effort stops autoplay videos in Chrome forever, right? Not so fast. Chrome uses a Media Engagement Index (MEI) as a signal to determine desktop user media interaction on a site. A site’s MEI score may allow it to bypass Chrome’s autoplay policy as it learns a user’s preferences.

Further, according to a blog post by John Pallett, Chrome’s Product Manager and Media Muter, “If you don’t have browsing history, Chrome allows autoplay for over 1,000 sites where we see that the highest percentage of visitors play media with sound.” This built-in “whitelist” of 1000+ sites may also bypass the autoplay policy.

If all else fails, use an extension

As stated earlier, the Chrome Web Store offers a few extensions that disable autoplay video in Chrome. Video Autoplay Blocker blocks the <video> tag used by native HTML5 videos. The extension automatically whitelists both YouTube and Vimeo. Disable HTML5 Autoplay (Reloaded) works in a similar way but also hooks into the media’s JavaScript API. It also includes a whitelist feature and automatically buffers media when necessary.

Thank you for visiting Tech Help Knowledgebase to learn how to disable autoplay video in Chrome.