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Auto Play for Videos on Mobile Devices

With MetaSlider you are able to add local videos, YouTube videos, and Vimeo videos to slideshows.

All of these video options look great on desktop and mobile devices. They also come with a range of options including “Auto play”. This image below shows the settings for a local video slide containing “Auto play” in the left column.

A local video slide in MetaSlider

However, look closely at the image above and you’ll notice that “Auto play” has a caveat. The full setting reads, “Auto play (may require video to be muted)”.

Auto play for videos is a feature that is restricted by many browsers and device makers, so you may run into issues with it. Here are reasons why auto play is often blocked:

  • Avoid surprise sounds: The people who make Chrome, Firefox, Safari and other browsers really want to prevent videos from auto-playing with sound. Who wants to open a website and immediately be confronted with a loud video that they can’t disable? For this reason, most browsers allow either sound or auto play, but not both.
  • Save data. Many cell phone companies will set their devices to automatically ignore auto play to save data.
  • Privacy: Videos from YouTube and Vimeo will have tracking and analytics. The cell phone companies are under pressure from government regulations to increase the privacy of their users, and so they want users to approve actions prior to actions being tracked. So for this reason also, video auto play is often removed by default. At the very least, users may have to accept cookies before the video plays.  

As you can see, it’s difficult to rely on the auto play feature for your videos. Here are some tips to improve the likelihood that auto play does work:

  • Enable the “Show controls” option in MetaSlider. This will add the “Play” button and other controls to your video and will allow your viewers to manage their video experience.
  • Enable the “Mute video” option in MetaSlider. This makes it significantly more likely that auto play will be allowed.
  • Use small videos. Many browsers and operating systems will not load videos if they are too large as it uses too much data.

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