Google recently removed the Stop download command from the context-menu of videos on YouTube.

Reports indicate that videos stop buffering in the background when you pause while others indicate that they continue to download even when paused (I suspect both to be true either due to Google changing the behavior while experimenting and/or it being dependent on some sort of aspect of the video, e.g. length).

Either way, this is hugely aggravating because:

  • If the video continues to buffer even when paused, then bandwidth (both people’s and Google’s) gets wasted. Users often decide to quit watching a video, and without a way to stop the video (not just pause it), then they are forced to either close the tab or reload it, both of which are absurd solution and very annoying since the user may not be done with the tab yet (comments, voting, related videos, etc.) even though they decide to stop watching the video.

  • If the video stops buffering when you pause, then people who have slow/high-latency/unreliable/etc. connections cannot pause it and let it buffer the whole video before watching. They are forced to watch it a bit at a time which can easily end up causing stuttering and make a video unwatchable (presumably Google picked some arbitrary and likely capricious amount to pre-buffer while paused).

YouTube still does not have an actual Stop button.

Ostensibly, nobody likes this change[1][2][3][4], but given Google’s track-record for listening to user feedback, there isn’t much hope of it being fixed anytime soon, if ever.

Does anybody know of a way to make YouTube usable again? Perhaps a setting or browser-extension or something that can either provide a (functioning) Stop button and/or provide manual control over buffering?

5 Answers 5


I came up with some solutions and they seem to work at the moment:

  • Very nice! I tried them all and they all worked. I don’t like having the bookmark bar always-on since that’s of little use, so I’ll use an extension. Fortunately the extension doesn’t run in a separate process which is good, but the button it makes flickers, so I’ll use the user-script instead (I’ve previously tried using the JavaScript) command stopVideo(), but it didn’t work ఠ_ಠ).
    – Synetech
    Jul 21, 2013 at 14:25

Looks like I’m a bit late. As Sk Nepal mentioned, you can use a simple bookmarklet to address the issue. It will be workable as long as YouTube has a static player ID.

Here is my version of the bookmarklet.


The only way to stop your download is to click at the end of your YouTube video.

If you are looking for the thumb that the video use: press Ctrl + U. Search for this line:

meta property="og:image" content="http://anurl.com/vi/letters.jpg?feature=og"

You can use Ctrl + F for searching this line. Copy and paste the URL.

  • Actually, that is something I do with other video sites that don’t have a stop-buffering command. The problem is that not only does it still end up downloading a little, it’s not always easy to click at the end anyway. If the video is long, even clicking as close to the end as you can, you could still end up a couple of minutes from the end, which is a waste of bandwidth if you have decided not to keep watching. You can switch to full-screen and click the now-longer time bar, but even then, doing any/all of this takes an extra few seconds which YouTube spends continually downloading.
    – Synetech
    Jul 19, 2013 at 19:25

I saw this solution in a YouTube video's comments, and it works (and is easier than looking in the source). Simply edit the address: Remove watch? and change = into /




  • That doesn’t bring the menu entry back.
    – fuxia
    Jul 19, 2013 at 15:42
  • And doesn’t do anything anyway. I just tested it and it still keeps buffering when paused and of course without the context-menu (or any other way) to stop it.
    – Synetech
    Jul 19, 2013 at 19:20
  • I tested it. This allows you to see a re-sized, bigger, thumbnail. Note, not a bigger image with higher quality, just an expanded image.
    – givanse
    Aug 22, 2013 at 22:16

I'm not really sure about a direct answer, sorry. I have had this issue with youtube myself. For stuff I really want to see without having to start and stop as it loads, I just download the videos. Torch browser has a built in media grabber, it can actually finish downloading before the video is done playing in real time. It's not an answer to the actual problem, but it'll help you watch the videos uninterrupted.

  • Yes, I prefer to download anything I expect to keep (that way I can watch it in VLC and increase the speed). But it doesn’t really help with generic videos. I have a feeling that we’ll end up having to install yet another extension or script to fix yet another problem with a Google product. ¬_¬
    – Synetech
    Jul 1, 2013 at 14:46

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