In my browser, I often keep a lot of tabs open as a sort of to-do/reading list, and sometimes those tabs include YouTube videos.

Is there a way to keep a video from playing again automatically every time I reopen the browser?

I'm not as interested in a playlist hack or browser-wide setting that will turn off AUTOPLAY for all videos. I really need something to turn off particular tabs/videos specifically… like a URL parameter?

I generally use Firefox, but if the solution is browser specific, a Chrome and Safari solution would also be helpful.


6 Answers 6


It seems that URLs in the form of http://youtube.com/v/{id} don't autoplay.

So simply convert




It also shows the video in a larger format, without all the ads, etc., surrounding it.

  • Well, that is incredible. Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 10:30
  • 3
    This trick also has the advantage that you can watch 18+ video's from a cookieless browser instance
    – Ferrybig
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 11:40
  • "This video included belonging to Defi Signature" ... That is the downside of this method :/ Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 21:35
  • Oddly, this forces the use of a Flash player for me...
    – jpmc26
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 5:23
  • 1
    This doesn't seem to work in 2023. It automatically redirects /v/ to /watch?v=.
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 21:09

This solution will apply to all websites, not only to YouTube, but it might still be useful to you or other people reading this.

You can set up Firefox in such a way that when you restart the browser, you can see all the tabs, but no content is being downloaded (except for the currently selected tab). You would have to click on the tab that is of interest to you in order to download and view the respective site. Of course, once a site is loaded, it remains so until you close the browser.

This setting is activated by a checkbox labeled "Don't load tabs until selected", positioned in the "General" section of the preferences menu, under "Tabs".

  • 1
    Lazy tab loading is a key feature if you like to leave a lot of tabs open that you're planning to come back to later. Restarting your browser can then free up a ton of memory, and not auto-play stuff, or load the CPU-hogging javascript crap on any pages until you look at them. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 1:56
  • Unfortunately this doesn't work reliably for be. Sometimes firefox randomly loads older tabs, even hours after starting the browser. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 7:59

I solved this problem in Chrome using The Great Suspender. It also allows me to keep 100+ open tabs and get Chrome to open and close quickly.

The only con I've found is that one loses the older version in pages that update frequently. But such pages can be listed in the app to not be suspended.


The simplest way I've found is to add the start={seconds} parameter to the URL where "{seconds}" is equal to the total time of the video. That essentially starts the video right when it ends and so it won't play. Simply touch the "Replay" button on the video to watch the video as you normally would. The biggest downside is you'll need to do some arithmetic.

I confirmed this by finding a random video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PlI-rMZpIc). This video is 5 minutes and 50 seconds in length, so the total number of seconds is 5 × 60 + 50 = 350. So I changed the URL to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PlI-rMZpIc&start=350 .

I closed my browser, then re-opened. (It's configured to re-open the tabs it had open when it was closed.) The video did not start; in fact it showed the related videos grid as if I'd played it to the end. I was then able to hit "Replay" and watch the video from the beginning.

I used Chrome, but I expect this would work in any browser that lets you start with tabs open.

  • 3
    It appears that this still works if your start= parameter is huge (e.g. it worked for me with start=86400 which is 24 hours). So you could probably avoid the arithmetic by using a really big value there. The playbar does briefly show the huge value and the player seems to get confused for a couple of seconds; not sure if the YouTube team is aware of that or whether they'd consider it a bug.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 3:51

You should open about:config in Firefox and create these new booleans and set them to true:




What you can do if you people are still looking back at this post, is that in the future when you open a link, you can middle click or control+left click to open the video in a new tab, and if you don't have the option "When you open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately" checked, then the video will open in a new tab and only play when you switch to the tab. This answer might've been a little wordy but I hope it helps!

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