Facebook really, really wants you to watch some videos while you’re using the social networking service. Auto-play videos have been popping up in your News Feed for some time. No doubt your eye has been drawn to the action. It’s hard to miss.
The problem here is that you might not appreciate the interruption. Last year, Facebook announced it would enable sound-on as the default mode in the app, so videos would not just catch your eye, they would also catch your ear.
“With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life,” Facebook said when it first announced a wider roll-out of the automatic sound-on feature after testing it with a small audience. The company put a positive spin on the change, saying it would make the video experience “richer, more engaging and more flexible.”
Despite a slow rollout, quite a few people complained about automatic sound when it first arrived. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with noisy Facebook videos. There are steps you can take to control your experience and make sure Facebook keeps it down.
While auto-play videos can be obnoxious, at least the Facebook app respects your phone’s silent mode. You don’t have to worry about the app blasting sound while you’re browsing your News Feed under the conference table during a work meeting. Just make sure your phone is in silent mode. But read on for a more permanent solution to the audio issue and how to stop videos from auto-playing at all.
Turn sound-on off
If you’re experiencing sound-on videos, you just need to make a quick adjustment in your app settings to turn it off. For iPhones, open Settings, tap Account Settings, and choose “Sounds.” Look for a toggle switch to turn “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” to off.
For Android, it’s a little different. Open the menu that looks like three lines stacked up, scroll down, and choose App Settings. This is where you will find the toggle for “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound.”
If you don’t mind having sound-on in most situations, you can just leave the setting alone and opt to hit the mute button that appears in the corner of each video when necessary.
But what if you want to stop auto-play videos altogether? For iPhone, head back to your Account Settings, tap on "Videos and Photos" and open the Autoplay options. Select “Never Autoplay Videos.” For Android, you will find this same option under your App Settings. Now you won’t have videos motioning for your attention as you scroll through your News Feed. You can still click on individual videos to play them.
Stop auto-play in your browser
While Facebook won’t interrupt your browser experience with automatic video soundtracks, auto-play can still be distracting.
Controlling your video preferences through the Facebook website in a browser is pretty straightforward. Head into your settings and look to the bottom of the menu on the left-hand side for video settings. You can leave the auto-play setting on default, or you can choose to turn it off or on. Just keep in mind this only impacts the behavior of Facebook in your browser and won’t change the settings for the Facebook app on your phone.
Auto-play videos have become a normal part of our digital lives. We may be getting more used to seeing them, but that momentary distraction can easily turn into a waste of time. While most people aren’t thrilled about sound-on videos popping up on Facebook, at least it’s easy to turn them off.
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