If you use the official YouTube application on an Android device, you may have noticed that videos start to play automatically when you open the application or browse the video selection on the Home screen.
Android Central reports that Google runs an autoplaying videos test currently in the YouTube application for Android.
Videos play without sound, but they do play to the end if you don’t pause them or move on. This can be problematic right now as the default autoplay setting makes no distinction between the Android device’s connection type. In other words, videos will autoplay regardless of whether you are connected to Wi-Fi or not.
Android users who notice this behavior may change this in the settings. Open Account > Settings > General, and locate the new Play as you browse setting there.
You can set it to off or “only on WiFi”. Off turns the feature off completely which means that videos won’t autoplay anymore on the Home screen. If you select only on Wifi, videos will only autoplay if the device is connected to a WiFi router or access point.
Many popular services and applications play videos automatically. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram do it for instance, and so does Google now, at least for part of the YouTube population on Android.
YouTube played videos automatically before, but only after a video that you watched ends. This new autoplay behavior is different, as it plays video while you scroll the Home screen.
While I don’t mind videos that autoplay when I open them specifically, I dislike it when services play videos automatically when I don’t. Not only is it wasting bandwidth, especially if I don’t want to watch the video, it is also making decisions on my behalf without asking me about it first. It may also mean that advertisement is loaded automatically while you scroll (I don’t have the feature yet in my YouTube app and cannot verify if that is the case).
The feature is tested in the Android app currently only.
Now You: What is your take on autoplaying videos on YouTube and in general?