I want to disable videos in Safari, as I have to pay for each byte downloaded. Some videos I may want to watch, but I want to decide whether I use my precious bandwidth, rather than have it automatically play. Is there any way to accomplish this?

  • For Flash, there's 'ClickToFlash' from the Apple Extensions Gallery, but idk for HTLM5, sorry
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20, 2015 at 3:07
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    @Tetsujin no Flash installed on any of my machines. Thanks!
    – Paul Waldo
    Dec 20, 2015 at 3:19
  • I'm not sure there's a way to do that yet. I would install flash and then install click to flash. Then you can choose when to enable the video. It sounds like a good candidate for a plugin. The plugin would block all video tags. Dec 20, 2015 at 3:58
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    For older versions of Safari, try ClickToPlugIn (by the maker of ClickToFlash) -- it would block the HTML5 player until you clicked on the player. Alas, Safari 10 seems to have broken that ClickToPlugIn capability.
    – jhfrontz
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:30

4 Answers 4


This seems to work for me (macOS Sierra 10.12.2, Safari 10.0.2), courtesy of jeffreyv in an Apple Support thread:

In the Terminal, enter:

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

That enables the Debug menu in Safari. Then tick this menu item on:

Debug -> Media Flags -> Video Needs User Action
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    I had high hopes for this @Fab. I tested it out on Youtube. After changing the setting, the video still downloaded into the buffer. I also could not manually start it :-(
    – Paul Waldo
    Dec 23, 2016 at 16:34
  • @PaulWaldo - oh :-( Try some of the other settings, such as "Disallow Inline Video"? Really a bit pathetic that there's not a simple setting or even extension to turn off these damn things....
    – Fab
    Dec 24, 2016 at 20:12

It appears to currently not be possible to do this in Safari. While a plugin could exist to do this, I'm currently unaware of any.

This article does a good job summarizing the other options you have (other browsers). Of the list, I'd choose Firefox as it supports what you're looking for natively, though there are extensions/plugins for Chrome and Opera.

It may also be important to note that these only look for the <video> and <audio> tags. Other forms of media (big gifs, Java extensions etc.) which consume significant bandwidth may be able to slip through.

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    Thanks for the link, @agentroadkill. Unfortunately, none of these will help my problem of anemic data allotment. From the referenced link: "Disabling automatic playback just pauses the video; it doesn’t prevent it from loading. ... In other words, if you’d like to use this trick to save bandwidth, it won’t help much."
    – Paul Waldo
    Dec 29, 2015 at 1:31

I have had a little (but not enough) luck adding the following to my /etc/hosts file:

## Autoplay videos  vp.nyt.com  nythlslive-i.akamaihd.net  ondemand.abcnews.com  newsy-limelightovp3.creatorcloud.netdna-cdn.com  player.hearstdigitalstudios.com  c.brightcove.com #Independent

Use Disable extensions in Develop Menu

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