YouTube for iOS disable Auto-Play iPhone screenshot 002

My colleague Anthony recently vented his frustration with YouTube’s default handling of the ‘Up Next’ feature on the web. Autoplay in YouTube is one of the banes of my existence, too, but as Anthony states in his write-up, YouTube for iOS lacks a switch to disable auto-play videos.

Not anymore, though: the latest version of Google’s native YouTube client for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad includes an easily overlooked switch that lets you stop an endless stream of recommended videos from being spoon-fed down your throat with a single tap.

If you watch a lot of YouTube through your iPhone’s cellular connection, you’re wholeheartedly recommended to disable ‘Up Next’ on the iOS app, here’s how.

How to stop YouTube for iOS from automatically playing recommended videos

1) Launch YouTube’s iOS app on your iPhone. Make sure that your device is running version 11.17 or later of the YouTube app. To see which version of YouTube is installed on your iOS device, tap the three vertical dots in the upper right of the app, select Settings from the menu, scroll all the way to the bottom and read the Version field.

2) Use the search field at the top to find a video to play. Or, simply tap any recommended video in your Home feed.

3) Slide the Autoplay toggle below the video to the OFF position.

YouTube for iOS disable Auto-Play iPhone screenshot 001

On the iPad, the Autoplay toggle is located in the upper right corner in landscape mode, between the channel name/link and the similar/recommended videos list. In portrait mode on the iPad, the Autoplay toggle can be found on the right side, below the video title, channel name and other stats.

And that’s all there’s to it.

Now when you finish watching a video on YouTube for iOS, the app won’t automatically play an endless stream of recommended clips, saving you both frustration and money due to potentially wasted cellular data incurring overage charges.

Of course, this setting has no bearing on playlists, which will automatically play the next video as they should. To learn how to disable autoplay in YouTube’s web interface and in YouTube on the Apple TV, check out Anthony’s tutorial.

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If you found this how-to helpful, let us know in the comments below.

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  • englishmike

    Don’t get the option and I’m running 11.17.8

    • Maybe force-quit the app and then try again? Or check for updates on the App Store.

      • englishmike

        No. 🙁

    • QuarterSwede

      It’s not showing for me either. I’ll be looking out for it though.

    • 5723alex .

      I do. Version 11.17.8 on iPad Mini 1 iOS 9.3.2.beta 3.

  • Faisal

    But the cool thing is that they’ve used native iOS sharesheet for the first time.

    • englishmike

      Not quite. You have to press “more” to see that.

      • Faisal

        Still better than that old silly sharesheet

      • englishmike


  • Bennsen84

    Hm. But at the end you still will see ads in front of some videos. I use a VPN with Adblock to block ads on websites and in games. Privacy protection and Adblock. Best all in one solution.

  • Iaijutsu

    Thanks for this. I use meditation/sleep videos as I have a terrible time sleeping, and recently at the end of them they would automatically start playing another video and wake me up, which is immensely frustrating.

    Every time some little hipster twerp at Google/YouTube feels the need to stick their dirty little fingers in the code and change the default behavior I want to punch them.

    (Now you see why I need meditative videos…)

  • I have a slightly different problem. Even with auto play off, YouTube skips to the next video every time I get a Facebook notification! And it doesn’t even play videos from my subscriptions, it plays recommended videos on the same topic as the video I was watching! Then I have to go into my history and select the video I was watching, and sit through the ad again! Sometimes it will take me to the exact spot where it left off, but other times it starts The video I had been watching from the beginning all over again. Very frustrating.

    I suppose I could turn off my FB Notifications every time I watch a YouTube video, but I get all my news pretty much from YouTube all day long, so it would be annoying as hell to have to do that!

  • diggitydang

    Thank you for this!! It was sooooo annoying!! Now we need a way to turn off ads!!

  • Mi See

    Putting a button on there is not enough, especially when it’s fixed to the ‘on’ position no matter how often you switch it off. It’s like cutting off someone’s hand and then expecting kudos for sewing *half* of it back on!

    YOUTUBE, I have lost GIGABYTES AND GIGABYTES of limited bandwidth to this !£@%ing autoplay switch, if you’re not gonna refund me for those losses then get rid of this !@£$ing switch, once and for all – no one likes it!

    I suppose everyone in Silicon Valley is happy to hemorrhage bandwidth because they’re filthy rich, but the rest of the world is poor, with limited internet access. Try looking at the news once in a while, Youtube, and you’ll see exactly what the international demographic is.

    This is what infuriates me – and most sane people – about the mega corporations that have overthrown the internet: they use their power to dictate their rich, white US standard to the whole world. It’s terrible business practice, an even worse ethical practice. And I think they know this – it’s probably why they fight so hard to hold onto their ill-gotten monopolies.

    Grrr. Rant over.