In an update released today, Facebook removed the toggle that prevented videos from autoplaying in the Instagram apps for iOS and Android. If that’s functionality you weren’t interested in to begin with, tough luck–there’s no way out. This squares with a change that the social network started rolling out to some people’s mobile news feeds earlier this year.
All told, these moves seem to be preparation for new video advertisements through Facebook’s platforms.
While autoplaying videos are a minor annoyance, two more settings added with the update may prove thornier. The first: To deliver you videos that autoplay, the Instagram app pre-loads them in the background, no matter if you’re on 3G, LTE or Wi-Fi.
Now, I can probably count on one hand the number of videos that have come across my Instagram feed in the past week, but if your data plan is measured in megabytes, you may not want that video your friend took of a squirrel in the park hogging up the space that you need to download email on the go. While it’s impossible to disable autoplaying altogether, you can restrict pre-downloading to just over Wi-Fi by opening up the app’s settings, and then scrolling to the video heading near the bottom of the list, and switching “Preload” to “Only on Wi-Fi.”
Also, by default, Instagram will ignore the mute switch on your phone and play the sound of the video through your speakers. To avoid startling everyone on the bus you’re riding with a video of your screaming nephew, set the “Mute” setting to “With Ringer.”
When all is said and done, your settings screen should look something like the image to the right. Now, you won’t be able to stop the videos from playing, but at least you’ll have stopped them from messing with your phone any more than necessary.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.