Thursday, April 06, 2017

Stop autoplay of ads in Apple's macOS Safari.

As an IT person what frustrates me about the companies developing browsers, is they often put the user last, and it appears, big business first.

In the good old days when using a browser to view sites on the internet, if I didn't want to see images displayed, I could simply turn the option off. Then we started to get ads delivered using Flash and more recently, ads delivered as a standard part of HTML5, the code behind for today's websites.

Flash is no longer much of a problem as sites are moving to HTML5. However, the problem with HTML5 is the developers of the browsers have not built in a simple switch to stop the downloading and/or playing of videos or video ads. You're in the middle of your work and in the background a video starts playing. If you're out and about and you've connected your computer to a mobile hotspot, that's expensive data being drained from your mobile account. A great way to exceed your allowance and end up costing excess data.

The user is no longer in control of their internet experience.

All is not lost. At least on your notebook computers you can hack your computer, in a nice way, and stop the automatic playing of videos. Whilst it doesn't stop all the data usage, it does give you control over when the videos are played.

To disable the automatic playing of videos in Safari on Apple computers, you need to first enable the Debug option in Safari and then you get to see an option to disable the video.

The hack is you need to run this command using the Terminal program. Copy and paste the following command into Terminal and press Enter.

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

The Debug menu option now appears in the Safari menus. If you ever want to hide the Debug menu option, just issue the command again with the 1 at the end changed to a 0.

Now you have the Debug menu option, you can disable the autoplaying of videos.

Select Debug -> Media Flags -> Video Needs User Action

From now on when you open a page the video is there, but for it to play, you need to click on the play option. Sometimes you need to click on the video first and then click on the play option. This includes when you visit YouTube.

You can alternately select Disallow Inline Video, but I feel the option above gives me what I prefer.

At last a way to stop those annoying autoplaying videos. Peace and quiet at last.

Kelvin Eldridge
Help with your IT problems.

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