Monthly Archives: March 2019

How to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Turn off this annoying and potentially harmful feature

By Cameron Faulkner, Writer, The Verge  @camfaulkner  Mar 15, 2019  3:39pm EDT

 

You’ve probably been caught off guard by videos that play automatically on Facebook, Twitter, and other services; in fact, just across the internet in general. They begin playing as soon as you load a page or (if they’re more deviously implemented) when you start scrolling through a page to catch your attention.

Automatic video play is a feature that, while nice to have when it’s surfacing content that’s related to your interests, can be pretty annoying. Autoplay videos can be harmful, too, exposing you to violent, offensive, or otherwise unwanted content that you shouldn’t have to see by default. Several browsers, like Google Chrome and Firefox, now have built-in measures to curb autoplay videos, but for the most part, turning them off is still a very manual process.

Whether you just want to put an end to autoplay videos on social media platforms, or are looking for a more comprehensive fix, we’ve got some tips. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust these settings for every device that you use, since your preferences on, say, your phone do not automatically push to your PC.

 

Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook

If you’re using Facebook on your browser, you can turn off autoplay videos by navigating to the Settings menu found within the drop-down menu at the top right of the page. Look for the Videos listing on the left-hand menu. Inside of that option is a toggle where you can turn off autoplaying videos.

Facebook has similar options available for its iOS and Android apps, but it’s much harder to find than on a browser.

If you use an iPhone or iPad

  • Click the menu button on the bottom of your screen.
  • Once you’re there, tap “Settings & Privacy,” then “Settings.”
  • From there, scroll down until you find “Media and Contacts,” then tap “Videos and Photos.”
  • Finally, once you find “Autoplay,” you can turn off the feature.

If you use an Android phone or tablet

  • Click the menu button at the top right of your screen.
  • Once you’re there, scroll down and tap “Settings & Privacy,” then “Settings.”
  • From there, scroll down until you find “Media and Contacts.”
  • Finally, once you find “Autoplay,” you can set it to “Never Autoplay Videos.”

 

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Twitter

The steps to turn off autoplay videos on your browser differ if you’ve opted in for the newer design.

If you opted in for the new design

  • Click on your profile name, and “Settings and privacy” will be nested within the menu.
  • Once you’ve been taken to the settings menu, look for “Data usage” on the side panel.
  • Click on the “Video autoplay” setting. You can then switch off the autoplaying of videos on your feed.

If you haven’t opted in for the updated look

  • Click on your profile name, and “Settings and privacy” will be nested within the menu.
  • Once you’ve been taken to the settings menu, look for “Account” on the side panel.
  • Under the “Content” heading, you’ll be able to unclick “Video Autoplay.”

iOS and Android apps

The process involves a similar amount of steps on the iOS and Android apps.

  • Click the profile picture at the top of your phone screen.
  • Select “Settings and privacy” in the menu.
  • Navigate to “Data usage.” Under the “Video” section, set the “Video autoplay” option to “never.”

How to turn off autoplay videos on Instagram

The Instagram app doesn’t allow for autoplay videos to be turned off, so you’ll have to tread carefully here. Videos don’t autoplay if you use Instagram on your browser, but since almost all of the service’s users are using it on mobile devices, there’s currently no way around it.

 

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Reddit

Reddit, like most sites that host video, autoplays videos by default. However it’s pretty easy to turn it off.

If you use the newer design

  • Click your username in the upper-right corner and select “User settings” in the menu.
  • Select “Feed settings.” Within the list that is presented, toggle off the “Autoplay media” switch.

If you’re still using the legacy version of Reddit

  • Click “Preferences” next to your username in the top right of the window.
  • Under “Media,” look for “Autoplay Reddit videos on the desktop comments page.” Uncheck the box.
  • You’ll need to hit “save options” at the bottom of the screen to put the changes through.

On the mobile app, tap the icon next to the search bar, then hit “Settings.” Once you’re here, you’ll see “Autoplay” near the top of the page, and you can easily choose to turn it off.

 

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

How to turn off autoplay videos on Chrome or Firefox

If you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, recent updates have allowed (or will soon allow) you to disable videos from playing automatically, though there are some caveats.

For Chrome users, ensure that you have at least version 66 (version 73 is the latest stable release at the time of publication). There’s no toggle to make sure that videos don’t play automatically, but instead Google should remember your preferences based on your activity, as well as that of other visitors to the site. It’s by no means a perfect solution to the problem, but here’s how it currently works, according to this article from Tom Warren:

If you’ve just started using Chrome and have no browsing history, the browser will autoplay videos on more than 1,000 popular sites where visitors typically play sound on videos. “As you browse the web, that list changes as Chrome learns and enables autoplay on sites where you play media with sound during most of your visits, and disables it on sites where you don’t,” explains Google product manager John Pallett. “As you teach Chrome, you may find that you need to click ‘play’ every now and then, but overall the new policy blocks about half of unwanted autoplays, so you will have fewer surprises and less unwanted noise when you first arrive at a website.”

Chrome may not have a switch that turns off all autoplay videos, but you can manually turn off sound, images, and other settings on a per-site basis to achieve something that’s close enough.

  • Click the lock next to the web address bar, then hit “Site Settings” in the drop-down menu.
  • Once you’re here, you can adjust each setting to “Block.” If you’re specifically targeting autoplaying videos, turning off Javascript is the way to do it, but beware, it will probably break a lot of other site functionality in the process.

As of March 19th, 2019, Mozilla Firefox will have publicly rolled out its update (version 66) that mutes autoplaying videos. Compared to Chrome’s approach, Firefox is taking a harder stance on autoplay videos by muting them all, unless, as Chaim Gartenberg wrote, “explicitly allowed by a user. Users will also be able to manually allow sites to autoplay, allowing sites like YouTube (where most people tend to want the video they’ve selected to automatically play upon loading) to continue to work as normal.”

Unfortunately, this means that you still may see something that you wish you hadn’t seen on Firefox, but it’s a step in the right direction toward eliminating autoplay videos altogether.

The Best Phones You Can Buy Right Now


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter at Gizmodo – March 11, 2019  5:10pm

 

Following the announcement of phones from Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, and others, the first batch of 2019’s flashiest new handsets are going to be available soon, if they aren’t already. So which one should you get? And to make things even more daunting, with several phones pushing the $1,000 mark, making a hasty purchase could quickly turn into an expensive mistake.

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back because we’ve tested and reviewed all the most important phones so you don’t have to. So here are our top picks for the best phone you should buy right now.

Buying forecast for March 2019: The spring phone release season has just started, and while the Galaxy S10 has recently joined our list as the best phone on the market, if you’re looking for something different, you may want to hold off on buying a new phone right now.

This is especially true for people considering a new mid-range phone, because with the Moto G7 and Xperia 10 due out soon (and rumors of a Pixel 3 Lite later this spring), there should be a lot more potential handsets priced between $300 and $500.

The best all-around phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our Pick: Samsung Galaxy S10 ($900+)

After somewhat lackluster sales in 2018, there have been some big expectations hoisted upon the Galaxy S10. However, by adding a number of new features including a triple rear camera module for both the S10 and S10+, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, nifty punch-hole selfie camera, ridiculously good battery life, and Wireless PowerShare tech, Samsung has really delivered.

The Galaxy S10 is also one of the first phones sporting Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chipset, and for 2019, Samsung even upped the S10’s base storage to 128GB across every model. With the new dynamic AMOLED screen on the new S10, Samsung has also once again proved its displays are without a doubt the best in the business.

That said, at $900 and $1,000, the new Galaxy S10 and S10+ aren’t cheap, but if you want one phone that has it all, Samsung’s latest flagship is the easy pick. And if you don’t mind having a smaller screen and one less rear camera, the $750 Galaxy S10e offers a great balance between high-end features and something with a more reasonable price tag.

Also consider

What Google’s Pixel 3 lacks in sheer specs, it more than makes up for in software thanks to incredible features like Night Sight, a built-in call screener, and all the other Pixel-specific tweaks that make Google’s homegrown phones the smartest and most considerate handsets on the market. And with things like Google’s AI-powered appointment booking service Duplex, the Pixel 3 is only going to get better.


The best mid-range phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our pick: OnePlus 6T ($550+)

Thanks to an increasing number of $1,000 phones, mid-range handsets have never been more important. And year after year OnePlus keeps pumping out affordable devices that are far and away the best handsets you get for around $500. And with the 6T, OnePlus is actually pulling further ahead thanks to a partnership with T-Mobile that puts OnePlus phones in carrier stores for the first time ever. And unlike previous handsets, the OP6T is the company’s first device with support for Verizon’s network too. You also get specs that match the best flagships out right now, an in-screen fingerprint reader, and a gorgeous OLED display with a notch that isn’t offensively large.

Also consider

If the OnePlus 6T doesn’t suit your fancy, consider the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact instead. With a Snapdragon 845 chip, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the standard XZ2 has all the specs you want in a flagship phone for just $500. And featuring Sony’s super powerful haptic vibration engine, the XZ2 has the power to add a rumble to pretty much any content you watch or listen to on your phone. Meanwhile, the XZ2 Compact might be the last bastion for people who still like small phones but don’t want to compromise on specs or performance. And unlike it’s bigger sibling, the XZ2 Compact is certified to work on GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, and Verizon’s CDMA network as well.

Note: We considered putting the Pocophone F1 here as well due to its flagship specs and incredible value, we haven’t had a chance to spend as much time with it as we’d like. Also, due to its very limited support for 4G LTE here in the U.S., it’s difficult to recommend.


The best budget phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our pick: Moto G6 ($200+)

For years, Motorola’s G-series phones have been the kings of the budget phone world, and the G6 is a latest and greatest example of Moto’s dominance. Critically, the G6 boasts compatibility with all the major carriers, is available both unlocked and from brick-and-mortar wireless stores, and still retains important features like microSD card expandability and a headphone jack. Whether it’s for a young teen getting their first phone, or someone who just wants something simple and reliable the won’t blow your finances, the Moto G6 has got you.

Also consider

Starting at $350, the Nokia 7.1 typically costs $100 more than the Moto G6, but it’s totally worth it. Because for the extra money, you get more base storage and RAM, better cameras, a bigger, brighter screen, and a much nicer design. And since the Nokia 7.1 is part of Google’s Android One program, that also means its software and security updates are managed by Google, and you won’t have to put up with any unwanted bloatware either. The major downsides to the Nokia 7.1 is that unlike the G6, it’s only available as an unlocked device from third-party retailers, and it doesn’t support CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.


The best hyper phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our Pick: Galaxy Note 9 ($800+)

Like hypercars, hyper phones are handsets that are big, fast, and defined by excess. But if you want a phone that can handle everything home and work can throw at you, the Note 9 is it. It’s got a big, gorgeous 6.4-inch display, ridiculous battery life that lasts upwards of upwards of 14 hours on a charge, built-in iris scanners and a secure folder to hide sensitive documents, and of course Samsung’s S-Pen. The phone even comes with 128GB of base storage (and a microSD card slot), which is twice what you get from a similarly priced iPhone XS. And just in case that’s not enough, you can even turn the Note 9 into a mini desktop by hooking up a USB-C to HDMI cable to a nearby monitor.

Also Consider

While this phone isn’t really an option for folks in the states since Huawei isn’t making a U.S. specific variant, the sheer technical superiority of the Mate 20 Pro can’t be denied. That’s because even though it lacks a stylus, it has pretty much every other feature you’d ever need, and maybe even a few tricks you didn’t even know you wanted. We’re talking about full-on 3D face scanning tech, a fingerprint sensor that’s built into the screen, a new 7-nanometer chipset with dual NPUs, and even wireless charging that can be reversed in order to power up other devices.


The iPhone most people should buy

Our Pick: iPhone XR ($750+)


Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

With three new iPhones for 2018 along with two older models still on sale, choosing the right phone from Apple is actually a bit trickier than normal. However, with a somewhat reasonable (for Apple) price of $750, the same A12 processor, FaceID tech, and 64GB of storage you get from its more expensive siblings, the iPhone XR is our top recommendation for people who want a new Apple handset. As an added bonus, the iPhone XR also boasts battery life that’s about an hour longer than the $1,000 iPhone XS, and it comes it a bunch of fun colors.

Also consider

For people who want a little more, the iPhone XS or XS Max are the clear upgrades to the XR, just know that you’ll need to shell out at least an extra $250 to get one. The main benefits when moving up to the iPhone XS and XS Max is a significantly more vibrant and higher resolution OLED screen that’ll make all sorts of content look better, and a second rear camera with a 2x zoom to help bolster your mobile photo toolkit. Also, thanks to new stronger glass backs and an IP68 rating for water-resistance (versus the XR’s IP67 rating), Apple’s high-end iPhones should also be slightly more durable than the iPhone XR.

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