Block au­to­play videos in Mi­crosoft Edge

The ba­sics of how to block au­to­play­ing video are al­ready baked into Edge, re­veals MARK HACHMAN

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

While Google messes around with your abil­ity to mute and block au­to­play­ing video within the Chrome browser, Mi­crosoft has taken ac­tion. Global con­trols for pre­vent­ing video from au­to­play­ing within Mi­crosoft Edge are be­ing rolled out.

So far, Edge’s new pow­ers are lim­ited to the beta ver­sion of the browser that ships with the Win­dows

In­sider builds of Win­dows 10, sched­uled for the au­tumn of 2018. You’ll be able to set global con­trols as well as per-site ex­cep­tions. But by the time au­tumn ar­rives, ev­ery­one should be able to con­trol which sites au­to­play video within Edge.

How au­to­play con­trols work within Edge

Right now, global con­trols for au­to­play­ing videos al­low you to choose among three choices: block, limit, and al­low. Mi­crosoft says it may tweak or add other options in the fu­ture, so it’s pos­si­ble these choices will change.

For now, you’ll need to ac­cess the Set­tings menu, which in Edge is con­cealed be­hind the el­lip­sis (three dots) menu in the up­per right-hand cor­ner of the browser. Click­ing it ex­poses the side­bar menu, where you’ll have ac­cess to Fa­vorites, the Read­ing List, and more. Scroll all the way down to the Set­tings head­ing at the end. That, in turn, will open the Set­tings menu, now sub­di­vided into a num­ber of cat­e­gories of options. The de­fault is the Gen­eral set­tings, where you can con­fig­ure the Edge theme and other options. What we want to ac­cess is in the Ad­vanced menu.

Here, you’ll find what you’re look­ing for: the global me­dia au­to­play con­trols. You can se­lect one of the options from the drop-down menu we men­tioned pre­vi­ously: al­low, limit, or block. The Al­low and Block options are self-ex­plana­tory – keep in mind that block tries to block all video. The Limit op­tion falls into a mid­dle ground, which we’ll ex­plain be­low. Note that what­ever per­mis­sion level you choose will be­come the de­fault be­hav­iour for au­to­play­ing video, un­less you choose a spe­cific per­mis­sion on a per-site ba­sis.

One of the best tests of any browser or ad-blocker is the San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle’s web­site – SFGate. com. Here, your browser is del­uged by ads and pop-up videos. Even turn­ing on the global ‘block’ com­mand, the site man­ages to load and dis­play still im­ages where you’d ex­pect to see video: in large play­ers cen­tred on the page, as well as pop-up win­dows that float into the cor­ners of the screen. But the site doesn’t play the video, so in this case, Edge does its job.

(Don’t worry, though. Us­ing the Block set­ting, Edge just blocks videos from au­to­play­ing. You can still man­u­ally click a YouTube video, for ex­am­ple, and it will play nor­mally.)

What if you se­lect Limit? It’s hard to pre­dict the be­hav­iour for all sites, but for SFGate.com, the large cen­tral­ized videos don’t play, but the smaller win­dows do. SFGate ap­pears to mute its videos by de­fault, though that be­hav­iour may dif­fer from site to site.

Site-by-site con­trols are be­ing worked on

Edge also has per-site con­trols, though they’re a bit finicky and per­haps not all that in­tu­itive.

If you hover your cur­sor over the pad­lock icon within Edge’s URL bar, you’ll see a pop-up: ‘Show site in­for­ma­tion’. Left-click­ing it re­veals the web­site per­mis­sions. Un­for­tu­nately, there’s noth­ing to do here but click the Me­dia au­to­play set­tings link at the bot­tom.

That un­veils what looks to be a per-site au­to­play con­trol. Un­for­tu­nately, the me­dia au­to­play con­trols

‘Block­ing’ a video still al­lows the site to cre­ate a pop-up win­dow, as shown here in the lower right-hand cor­ner. If Edge is do­ing its job, a blocked video won’t ac­tu­ally play

You may see this screen if you haven’t set any per­mis­sions for the site. Click­ing me­dia au­to­play set­tings un­rolls the me­dia per­mis­sions screen in the ex­am­ple over­leaf

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