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How to adjust video auto-play settings in the Facebook app

Facebook changes a lot of things on us automatically, whether it's on the web or on your phone, and one of the more annoying "features" turned on automatically is auto-play videos. From Facebook's perspective auto-play videos seem great — videos are loaded in the background so they play instantly, and as you scroll through your timeline they catch your eye since they're playing without your interaction.

What's best for Facebook may not be best for how you use the service, though, so we're going to show you how to turn off auto-play videos in the Facebook app. Read along and find out how — it only takes a few taps.

Just like most Facebook features, the ability to manage your video auto-play settings is quite buried in the app but simple once you get there. Tap or swipe over to the app menu by hitting the menu button, which is in the top right corner of the Facebook app, then scroll down and tap App Settings. Once in the App Settings, you'll want to scroll down until you find Video Auto-play and tap it.

Chances are by default the app has set auto-play video to "on," which will let the app download videos in the background when it sees fit so they're ready to go whenever you open the app (note: sound does not automatically play with the video until tapped). This causes higher data usage from the Facebook app, and we wouldn't recommend leaving this setting on. You can go all the way to "off" so videos are never downloaded ahead of time nor do they play in your timeline as you scroll by — also a good option. The healthy middle ground is "Wifi only," which as it sounds will only download videos in the background while on Wifi, meaning there will be no hit to your mobile data. Once downloaded videos will still play automatically in the timeline, but at least you aren't wasting mobile data on videos you'll never watch.

There's just that one simple setting to toggle, but it can make a world of difference in terms of how the Facebook app acts on your phone. You can always toggle between the three options as you see fit, but knowing where they are and how to use it is the important part.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

10 Comments
  • i wish this option was available on the web version
  • If you're talking about Facebook in a desktop browser, go to the drop down arrow in the upper right hand corner, click on Settings, then click on Videos in the left hand column. That is where you'll find the option to disable auto-play.
  • I tried following where you said but there is no videos on the left hand side when in settings. Believe me, I've checked all over for this option.
  • $deity help us if that's not a bug, but a non-feature. If Facebook is rolling that out to all users, and you're just one of the unlucky ones in the first group to lose auto-play control, that sucks, and I'm sorry.
  • I'm trying to use the web browser version on my HTC One m9. Videos will not play on fb . Why?!
  • This is good info to keep in mind. It seems like every few months a Facebook app update will turn auto-play videos back on again. I turn it off immediately every time, but I'm becoming increasingly pissed off that Facebook doesn't respect my preferences by re-enabling auto-play every so often.
  • I've often been wondering if it is due to a bug on their end or intentional. If it's a bug, then it is negligence on their part. If it is intentional, then that poses a serious ethical problem. If they can arbitrarily reset one preference, then what's to stop them from arbitrarily resetting other settings that may significantly compromise user privacy?
  • My guess is that it's intentional. They reset the location setting too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes it is intentional, and they do the very same thing for the "Chat" on/off! Its really pissing me off and we have to complain about it!! Posted via Android Central App
  • Don't forget to check it again after Facebook updates... In the last 2 updated they turned it back on, just in case you turned it off by accident... Whoops, just noticed you said the same thing...