Firefox 66 will automatically mute annoying auto-playing media

Mozilla has good news for Firefox users — the upcoming Firefox 66 release will block websites from automatically playing those obnoxious audio clips and noisy videos. The change will apply only to media that plays sound and it will be on by default, though users will have the option to enable auto-playing audible content if they want. Mozilla will bring the feature to Firefox on both Android and desktop.

Though auto-playing videos are common, most of them are set to 'mute' by default, and will only play audio if the user directly interacts with them. Some auto-playing videos will run with the audio content turned on, however, forcing the user to mute their device while they try to find the source of the unwanted noise.

As well, some websites will automatically play an audio file, such as background music or a spoken statement. The absence of a video doesn't make it any less annoying, so Mozilla is targeting the entire issue with a blocked-by-default change. Users who want a particular site to auto-play this noisy content will have to manually authorize it.

The only exception will be if the user has previously given the site permission for the microphone and camera. Mozilla considers auto-playing audible content, in this case, to mean audio that starts playing before the user has interacted with the page. Clicking the play button on a video or audio clip will obviously still work.

This change will arrive in Firefox 66; desktop users can expect to get it in the general release scheduled for March 19, 2019. The Android version of Firefox will have its existing auto-play blocking implementation replaced with this new behavior that is being deployed on desktop.