Perhaps it’s just me but I have been seeing more and more websites, really popular ones at that, hosting auto-play content. It’s times like this that I’m thankful Chrome indicates which tab is playing the media so I can turn it off but some ads are tricky. They mute volume and play video and it’s up to you to find them. So, what’s a user to do? The answer is stop the auto-play and you stop the madness. Auto-playing content is something that your browser ‘allows’ by default and if you think a little about the sentence you just read, you realize that the browser is controlling this and you can tell it to stop auto-playing content.
Possibly the best of all browsers when it comes to easily disabling auto-play is Chrome. Head over to the Settings page, that’s chrome://settings/ and scroll down to view advanced settings. Under Privacy and Content, click Content Settings and scroll down to the plugins section. Here select the ‘click to play’ option. You might want auto-play to run on some sites like YouTube so use the Manage Exceptions area to add domains that are exempt from this setting.
Open Firefox and go to the about:config page. Look for the ‘plugins.click_to_play’ preference and set its value to ‘False’. You won’t be able to enter exceptions to this preference’s value like you could for Chrome until you visit a website and you’re prompted to allow the plugin for all future visits. There might be an add-on though that offers better customization options.
Open Settings in Opera (Ctrl+F12) and in the Advanced tab, select the Enable Plugin On Demand option. Like Chrome, you can enter exceptions for the settings.
Safari, if you’re on Mavericks, has a built-in feature called Power Saver under Preferences>Advanced. Enable the ‘stop plug-ins to saver power’ option. If you’re running an older version of OS X, then you can try one of two extensions; ClickToPlugin or ClickToFlash. The reason you’d want to go with the extension over the default option is that they offer more customization options i.e. you can set exceptions.
If you’re using Internet Explorer, you’re going to have to disable the Flash plugin. Open settings (the cog wheel button at the top right) and select ‘Manage Add-ons’. In the Window that opens, select Toolbars & Extensions and use the drop down to view all add-ons installed. Search for the Shockwave plugin, right click it, and select ‘More Information’
In the new window, click the ‘remove all sites’ button and you’re done. The next time you visit a a website with auto-playable content, the browser will ask if you want to enable it for that site. It is enabled permanently for that site and not just for that one session.