Have you ever browsed your Facebook News Feed and notice that someone posted a video, but it automatically started playing? It’s really annoying, isn’t it? If you’re like us, you probably manually stopped it and told yourself you would disable that feature later on — most likely during a time when you’re not being so lazy. That time is now.
We’ve already showed you how to disable auto-playing videos on the Facebook mobile app, and we’ll give you a refresher later on about that in this how-to, but we’ll be mainly focusing on how to disable auto-playing videos on the Facebook web interface that you visit on your desktop or laptop computer
It’s not just an annoying feature, but it can also use up precious internet bandwidth and needlessly take up processing resources on your computer, but no longer do you have to deal with it. Here’s how to disable auto-playing videos on Facebook, and it takes less than 30 seconds.
- Go to the Facebook home page and click on the downward-facing arrow all the way in the upper-right corner. This will bring up a drop-down menu.
- From there, click on Settings.
- Next, click on Videos at the very bottom of the left-hand sidebar.
- There will only be one setting that you can change, but it’s the setting we want. Click on the box to the right and select Off.
As the setting notes, turning it off only turns off auto-playing videos on the web interface, so you’ll have to go into the Facebook mobile app separately if you also want to turn off auto-playing videos in the app. Here’s how to do that specifically.
If you use an iPhone, open up the Settings app and navigate to Facebook > Settings. Where it says Auto-play on Wi-Fi only, turn the toggle switch on. This will prevent videos from auto-playing while you’re on a data connection, but they will still auto-play when you’re on WiFi.
If you’re on Android, open up the Facebook app and go to Settings. Where it says Auto-play on Wi-Fi only, put a check in the box. Again, this will prevent videos from auto-playing while you’re on a data connection, but they will still auto-play when you’re on a WiFi connection.
When you’re on a data connection, auto-playing videos are even more of a nuisance since they take up data, which most mobile users don’t have an unlimited amount of. In fact, this can quickly add up to higher data usage by accident and possibly push users to pay $10 to $15 in overages per month, or force them to upgrade to a higher data plan.
That can potentially increase the cost of a plan by $240 over the course of two years, which is more than enough to buy a new iPhone or high-end Android smartphone on-contract. That’s why this auto-playing feature is so important to disable.
If you want to get away from auto-playing videos altogether on your smartphone, you can download and install the relatively new Facebook Paper app, since the videos don’t auto-play when you’re browsing through your Facebook News Feed.
Thankfully, these auto-playing videos have the audio off by default, so that you’re not startled by screaming kids or loud noises (or whatever’s in the video), but they still take up bandwidth and can use up precious resources on your computer, which could be used for other tasks instead of automatically watching a video of a cat chasing a laser beam, as funny as that could be.
If you’re curious if you’re using too much data, you can see how much data your smartphone is using by logging into your account on your carrier’s website. They usually also have mobile apps that you can easily access and manage your account from, and you can get a quick peek at how much data you’re using right from the mobile app.
As for home internet, you can usually log into your account on your provider’s website and see how much bandwidth you’re using, if you have a monthly bandwidth cap. If you log in and there’s no data meter (like me), than you probably don’t have a monthly bandwidth cap (hooray!).
Of course, there are also apps that you can download and install that report how much internet bandwidth you’re using in a given period of time, which can be much more convenient to use. Lifehacker has some good suggestions, including Freemeter for Windows and iStat for Mac.