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How to Stop Auto-Play in Safari on a Mac

How many times have you loaded a web page only to have a video start to autoplay? If you’re like me, plenty of times.

If you’re lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the concept, autoplay video is audiovisual content that starts automatically when a user goes to the host web page. The videos usually contain advertisements or promoted content, which can be very annoying because they interrupt you when you’re trying to access a website’s content — especially if sound starts blaring the minute the video starts.

If you’re in bed, such an instance may wake and aggravate your wife. If you’re in a business meeting, it can be VERY embarrassing. Thankfully, macOS’s Safari web browser lets you stop auto-play for video with sound, so you can browse the web without annoying audio “pop-ups.”

Block Auto-Play in Safari

To block video autoplay for a currently displayed website, with Safari open, at the upper left side of your display choose “Safari > Settings for This Website…” and this window will pop up:

Hold the pointer to the right of Auto-Play, then click the pop-up menu and choose an option:

  • Stop Media with Sound: Blocks autoplay for videos that contain audio, but allows other videos to play.
  • Never Auto-Play: Blocks autoplay for all videos on this website.

You can always go back and change the option to Allow All Auto-Play, which allows videos on the website to play automatically.

Block All Video Auto-Play in Safari

To block video autoplay content for all websites, with Safari open, at the upper left side of your display, choose “Safari > Preferences…” and select the “Websites” tab.

Click “Auto-Play” in the list on the left and do one of the following:

  • Choose settings for a website in the list: Select the website on the right, then choose the option you want for it.
  • Choose settings for all websites that aren’t currently customized: Click the “When visiting other websites” pop-up menu, then choose an option.
  • You can see websites you’ve customized under Configured Websites, which are shown along with the list of Currently Open Websites. If you don’t see Configured Websites, either you haven’t customized a website yet, or you’ve cleared the list.
  • Choose settings for all websites: Make sure no websites are listed under Configured Websites (to clear the list quickly, select the websites, then click Remove). Click the “When visiting other websites” pop-up menu, then choose an option.

You can customize your settings for specific websites — so articles always open in Reader, pages are zoomed in, and more. Control-click the URL in the location bar, then choose “Settings for This Website…”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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