How to turn off YouTube’s autoplay feature

featured image

YouTube’s autoplay function can pull users down the internet rabbit hole for hours on end. But a constant stream of autoplay videos can cost users more than a few hours of lost time. As we watch videos, YouTube’s algorithms work to generate video recommendations, and autoplay plays those recommendations in a steady stream.

Recommended videos that appear on our feed are derived from algorithms that are highly targeted to specific users and optimized to make sure highly engaging content is up next. But what’s next isn’t always what’s welcome. In Mozilla’s #YouTube Regrets project, users said the platform often directed them to extreme content that was very different from what they originally searched for.

Here are a few examples from Mozilla:

“I’m a teacher and I watched serious documentaries about Apollo 11. But YouTube’s recommendations are now full of videos about conspiracy theories: about 9/11, Hitler’s escape, alien seekers and anti-American propaganda.”

“Any search for positive LGBT content results in a barrage of homophobic, right-wing recommendations. I can only imagine how harmful this would be to people still figuring out their identity.”

Turning off YouTube’s autoplay allows users to actively select the videos they want to watch and helps them to avoid videos that may be harmful, extreme or simply irrelevant.

How to turn off autoplay on a computer:

  1. Open YouTube.
  2. Select a video to watch.
  3. On the video page, click the blue dot next to “Autoplay” in the top right corner of the screen.
  4. To turn autoplay back on, click the blue dot again.

How to turn off autoplay on the YouTube app:

  1. Open the YouTube app on your device.
  2. Tap on your profile image or avatar in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap “Settings” and scroll down to “Autoplay next video.”
  4. Tap the blue slider bar button to turn off autoplay.
  5. To turn autoplay back on, tap the blue slider bar button again.


Subscribe to our email updates to learn what’s next for AlphaPlus and for digital technology in adult literacy education.