Do you prefer an endless stream of content, or something more limited and controlled?
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that autoplay has grown so popular over the last decade. As your phone fills up with apps begging for your attention — and, indirectly, name dollars — the easiest way to keep people from closing is to shove new content in their faces constantly. It’s why every social network insists on copying TikTok, and, more broadly, it’s why videos won’t stop blasting every time you finish watching something on YouTube.
Autoplay in apps like YouTube and Netflix is nothing new — it’s been annoying people for years before TikTok’s vertical feed of never-ending content took center stage. Although autoplay can also reference automatic previews — think your Netflix home screen — I’m talking about the constant churn of new videos, songs, or other media. Whenever one thing’s finished, something new begins. It’s seen in some of the best apps available on the Play Store today, no matter how frustrating it might be.
Most of these applications do not force you to leave autoplay enabled, though it’s almost always on by default. Requiring users to disable an option buried in settings — and sometimes hidden under some obscure menu — means that, no matter how annoying, plenty of people are bound to leave it on out of laziness or confusion. Hell, there’s a good chance someone reading this right now wasn’t aware that disabling autoplay was even a thing you could do.
I suppose there’s an argument to be made for why autoplay can benefit the user, even if I personally don’t see a reason to ever leave it on. Perhaps you’re someone who struggles with sleeping at night, and listening to YouTube videos helps lull you into a sense of calm and relaxation. Maybe you love it when Netflix skips the end credits for a movie you just finished, pushing your rainy Saturday afternoon marathon into its sixth hour without a touch of the remote.
Still, count me in as someone who disables autoplay as much as possible, especially on YouTube. I prefer to save my two-hour video essays, thank you very much. I don’t need them streaming one after another after another to enjoy them. And don’t get me started on autoplay movies — let me enjoy the end credits to Cabaret, Paramount Plus. I don’t want to watch footloose.
So, what about our readers? Are you someone who can’t stand autoplay, no matter the reason behind it? Perhaps you’ve grown used to content feeding into itself, one video after another after another. Maybe you leave it enabled on some platforms but disable it on others — and if that’s you, please explain your methodology in the comments below. Whatever your feelings are on autoplay, let us know in this weekend’s poll.