Autoplay is maybe not as grating as auto tune, but it sure is annoying. Social networks have been quick to add the “feature” to their offerings; Facebook and Instagram recently turned up the volume, too.
On Twitter, videos and GIFs automatically play in your Twitter timeline as you scroll, just as they do on Facebook and Instagram, though you still need to tap for sound on Twitter and Instagram.
It’s the price you pay for a free service, but there are other drawbacks. On mobile, the constant looping can eat into your data and drain your battery. Not to mention the embarrassment of an ill-timed video that springs to life on your phone. But you can turn off auto-play on major services; here’s how.
You can turn off autoplay videos on Twitter.com or on mobile.
On Twitter.com, click your profile photo on the top right and select Settings and privacy > Video Tweets, and uncheck Video autoplay. As Twitter notes, animations and videos will still play in Twitter Moments, the collection of tweets Twitter compiles for trending stories.
On iOS and Android, go to Settings and privacy > Data Usage > Video autoplay and select Never Play Videos Automatically, or choose to only feature autoplay when you’re on Wi-Fi to save data.
Autoplay in Facebook means views views views, so the company is unlikely to turn it off. In fact, Facebook enhanced autoplay this week by un-muting the audio as you scroll, so that BuzzFeed video or home movie might suddenly come alive during your commute or another inopportune time.
“As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on,” according to Facebook.
If you disagree and would prefer your videos remain silent until you tap, navigate on Facebook.com to Settings > Videos and disable the option “Videos in News Feed Start with Sound.” You might not see this option yet; “we’re slowly bringing it to more people,” Facebook says.
On that same menu, you can also turn off autoplay videos entirely under Auto-Play Videos > Off.
On iOS, select the hamburger/More button, scroll to Settings > Account Settings > Videos and Photos > Autoplay and select whether you want videos to play while using cellular and Wi-Fi, on Wi-Fi only, or never. On Android, select the hamburger/three lines icon in the Facebook app, choose App Settings > Video Auto-Play and pick your desired setting.
Instagram does not provide the option to completely disable auto-play. But you can opt to use less data, which is helpful for those with limited bandwidth each month. On mobile, go to your profile, select the Gear (iOS) or hamburger (Android) icon on the top right, select Cellular Data Use, and choose Use Less Data.
When you open Instagram, the sound on autoplay videos is off. But if you tap the sound on for one video, every other video in your feed will also play sound until you tap your screen again. Once you close out of an Instagram session, the app is reset to silent for the next time you open the app.
You’ve watched a YouTube video and you move on to another tab but what is that sound you hear? It’s another video. Google is not one to give up any sweet, sweet video views, so it too has enabled autoplay on YouTube.com. To disable it, look at the top right of your screen near Up Next. You’ll see a slider. If it’s blue and has a check mark, that means autoplay is on. Slide it to the left to turn it off. On mobile, look for the same prompt underneath your video in vertical view.
Sometimes bingeing is not your fault. You’re just going to watch that one episode of the new season of Orange is the New Black and get on with the rest of your day, you tell yourself. But as the credits roll, a countdown to the next episode starts and autoplays after a few seconds.
If you want to curb your viewing, go to Your Account > Playback settings and uncheck the option to Play next episode automatically. On mobile, select the hamburger menu at the top right > Account, which will redirect you to Safari, where you can select Playback settings.
Hulu is now streaming the Golden Girls, but if you’d rather not binge the adventures of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia, navigate to Hulu.com and click the gear icon on the video and click “off” under auto play. On mobile, select the hamburger menu > Settings > Autoplay and toggle off.