Mozilla is adding a new “autoplay blocking” feature to Firefox browser for desktop and Android devices to start muting audible audio and video auto playbacks by default. The feature would debut on Firefox 66, which is scheduled for general release on March 19. Specifically on Android devices, the new feature will replace the existing block autoplay implementation with the same behaviour that is making way to desktops. Mozilla last year notably announced that Firefox would no longer support autoplaying audio in a bid to curb annoying advertisements.
“Any playback that happens before the user has interacted with a page via a mouse click, printable key press, or touch event, is deemed to be autoplay and will be blocked if it is potentially audible,” Chris Pearce, Engineer, Mozilla wrote in a blog post on Monday.
Despite adding the new restriction, Firefox will still allow users to opt-in for the “autoplay sound” permission from the default setting of Block to Allow for certain websites for which they prefer the audible autoplay of audio and video to be allowed.
The Firefox team is also allowing sites to autoplay media with sound if the user has granted them camera or microphone permission previously. This is specifically important for sites supporting video conferencing features using technologies such as WebRTC.
Mozilla isn’t the first web browser maker to take the annoyance of autoplaying videos into account. Last year, Google brought a similar change to Chrome. Microsoft and Apple have also added provisions to limit and mute auto-playing media on Edge and Safari browsers, respectively.
“At this time, we’re also working on blocking autoplay for Web Audio content, but have not yet finalised our implementation but expect to ship the feature sometime in 2019,” Pearce noted.