Skip to main content

Firefox 66 Will Silence AutoPlay Audio and Video (Updated)


Updated, 3/19/19, 7:30am PT: Mozilla has released Firefox 66 to the public. In addition to blocking auto-play content, the release introduces support for web authentication using Windows Hello, scroll anchoring to prevent web pages from jumping around when additional content loads, and various improvements to search. More information about Firefox 66 can be found in the release notes on Mozilla's website.

Original article, 2/5/19, 7:54am PT:


Many of us can hardly remember a time when visiting a website didn’t result in a pop-up requesting permission to send notifications, a fly-over snidely prompting us to sign up for a newsletter and at least one video that starts playing as soon as the page loads. Mozilla announced today that it wants to address one of those problems by preventing videos from automatically playing in its upcoming Firefox 66 browser. 

Firefox 66 is expected to debut on March 19, and when it does, it will stop any source of audio from playing until you ask it to. Muted videos will continue to play automatically—much to the chagrin of people who don’t have the RAM to spare.

There are some exceptions. The most important one is for sites that Firefox users “whitelist” themselves.

“There are some sites on which users want audible autoplay audio and video to be allowed. When Firefox for Desktop blocks autoplay audio or video, an icon appears in the URL bar. Users can click on the icon to access the site information panel, where they can change the ‘Autoplay sound’ permission for that site from the default setting of ‘Block’ to ‘Allow’. Firefox will then allow that site to autoplay audibly. This allows users to easily curate their own whitelist of sites that they trust to autoplay audibly," Mozilla explained. 

Firefox 66 will also let sites that people have allowed to access their camera or microphone to automatically play audible content. This is supposed to ensure “that sites which have explicit user permission to run WebRTC should continue to work as they do today.” 

The initial version of this tool will only block audio played via HTMLMediaElement. Audio served via the Web Audio API won’t be blocked via the initial version of this tool because Mozilla hasn’t finalized its implementation for that feature. However, Mozilla said  “we expect to ship with autoplay Web Audio content blocking enabled by default sometime in 2019.” Until that happens, Firefox 66 will only block a portion of the annoying noises emanating from web pages, (and yes, we understand that Tom’s Hardware is throwing a stone inside a glass house).

  • TheScrubofNick
    When do we get to block the "fly-over snidely prompting us to sign up for a newsletter?"
    Reply
  • salgado18
    Speaking of which, could you guys forward to the web designers that the bottom banner doesn't play well with zoom or something like that? Sometimes that banner is so big, the close button disappears, and I have to inspect > display:none just to use the site.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    The video shouldn't be played at all if the user doesn't manually plays it.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    21744271 said:
    Speaking of which, could you guys forward to the web designers that the bottom banner doesn't play well with zoom or something like that? Sometimes that banner is so big, the close button disappears, and I have to inspect > display:none just to use the site.

    Web designers don't understand that everybody has his own zoom preferences, because everybody has a different size monitor, at different distances, at different resolutions, and a page with text to read is better at one resolution meanwhile YouTube is better at other resolution.

    The first thing I do when I enter a new webpage is to click <control>+<mouse wheel> to make the text readable, and then I need to manually "Inspect" and delete all the stuff that gets over the text, or static stuff that takes half of the screen.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    21744300 said:
    The video shouldn't be played at all if the user doesn't manually plays it.

    There is a preference for that. Set media.autoplay.default=1 in about:config. It is not exposed in the UI because it's probably not considered ready yet.
    Reply
  • tirdfurguson
    I appreciate the irony of the video that is autoplaying directly in the middle of this article
    Reply
  • magnus909
    Videos shouldn't autoplay at all.
    Period.
    Muting them (but still having them play) is the absolute worst thing you can do.

    On a metered connection where you pay for every d-mn byte streamed you may not notice the streaming going on in a Video that isn't visible to you and since it is muted it can continue to consume your precious bandwidth, making it seem like you should pay for higher data plans, when in practice they have gulped that data in the background.
    It seems almost like a conspiracy that none of the big three web browsers supports turning off autoplay of videos anymore.
    They did do it in the past, so that makes me wonder if ISP:s, ad-networks etc has put a pressure on them not to have this feature available anymore.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I also can't stand autoplay videos on any site. Firefox used to block all autoplay all the time. Sad to see them going in the same direction Google is.
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    The only place for autoplaying videos (with audio) is on landing pages dedicated to that purpose. Like a YouTube or Vimeo page for a specific video. Even then they shouldn't play if they're in a background tab until that tab is selected. Looping videos that have no audio track should definitely be an exception as they are often used as gif replacements or as moving page backgrounds.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    Hope it works here
    Reply