Firefox can now block the web’s autoplaying videos

By Jon Porter

Image: Mozilla

The latest version of Firefox lets you block videos that autoplay with sound around the web. The setting can be turned on in Firefox 66 across every website, but you can also set exceptions for sites you visit primarily for video. The latest version of the browser will also stop slow loading ads from moving you up and down a page, and adds a new way for you to search through your open tabs.

Although Firefox’s main competitor, Chrome, first started blocking some autoplaying videos in version 66 last year, it’s not as comprehensive as Mozilla’s solution. By default, Chrome autoplays videos on more than 1,000 popular sites but otherwise blocks them. To get the browser to block video on all sites by default you have to head to “chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy” and change the autoplay setting to “Document user activation is required.” It’s much less user friendly than Firefox’s solution.

Autoplay settings can be adjusted on a site-by-side basis.
Image: Mozilla

Mozilla says that sites that autoplay videos without sound (such as Facebook’s) won’t be affected by the block, and that services that cue up new videos after your current one has finished (like Netflix) will work as usual.

Outside of Firefox 66’s video features, its other improvements are more minor. The browser will now use scroll anchoring to prevent a page’s content from bouncing around while ads slowly load in, and there’s a new search box for searching through open tabs (accessible from the tab overflow menu).

Finally, the latest version of Firefox also adds WebAuthn support for Windows Hello, opening the door to one day allowing you to use Microsoft’s biometric security standard to log into compatible websites. Mozilla says that fingerprints, facial recognition, PINs and security keys will all be supported.

Firefox version 66 is available today, and can be downloaded from Mozilla’s website. Check out the release notes for a full list of its features.