About a week or two ago, I was watching a video on YouTube and I was also hoping to share it with some friends but it annoyingly switched to some other video near the end of it. I looked at the URL to confirm that I was not in a playlist, just a regular stand-alone video. Apparently YouTube has made the decision to turn everything into auto-play by default by playing one of the suggested videos next.
I scoured my account settings looking for a setting to disable autoplay by default but couldn’t find anything. I googled for a solution and searched the YouTube product support forums and I only found complaints similar to mine wishing to disable the new “feature” or explanations for playlists autoplay.
Tonight, I finally found the setting that allows you to disable the default Autoplay of all videos. It’s not exactly hidden (or perhaps it didn’t exist before) but it’s not exactly obvious either.
From the screenshot below:
1. The video you just watched has completed and you are provided a collection of suggested videos for you to watch next. With the recent change, the top-left cell starts counting down from 10 seconds and will then automatically reload to the suggested video.
2. You can click ‘Cancel’ in the bottom-right of that frame and it will stop from automatically playing the next video but it will try to autoplay the next time you watch this video or another video.
3. The account-wide setting is in the top-right, above the column of suggested, related videos. ‘Autoplay’ is in a light font with an ‘i’ next to it and a blue checkmark. If you hover over the ‘i’, it says “When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.” If you click the blue checkmark, it will turn to a gray slider, disabling autoplay. Clicking this checkmark will also cancel the current countdown to autoplay a related video if it is currently running. You can also toggle it back on if you would like autoplay to guide your binge YouTube viewing.
When I was unable to find a setting to disable this new autoplay, it was a very frustrating experience. It was very similar to how the ‘About’ video description would disappear as YouTube automatically switched to the ‘Share’ tab after a video finished. If you were reading the video description on the ‘About’ tab, you were interrupted and would have to manually switch back. Similarly, if you were commenting, reading the description, or sharing the video, this autoplay could interrupt you. Fortunately, now that I have found the setting, this is less frustrating.
The autoplay may only happen when you are logged into your YouTube account and I haven’t been able to determine if this setting will carry over if you log in on a different computer.