Along with autoplaying videos, Instagram has now made the decision to autoplay audio from videos depending how you browse videos during a session.
Here’s how it works: With the latest update, audio will be off by default. If you tap to turn the sound on for one video (by clicking the speaker icon in the bottom left), all other videos will autoplay with sound too for the rest of your Instagram session.
Thankfully, you can still tap to toggle audio on and off. When you close the app, the autoplay audio also resets to off, so there are ways to get around it.
It’s an interesting compromise, and one that we’ll definitely see more social media apps follow suit if proven popular. Instagram stories will still comply with your device settings, only playing with audio if your phone isn’t on mute. But of course, in making audio a feature to ‘toggle’ on and off Instagram is assuming that if we choose to hear sound on one video, we want to hear sound on all videos.
This is perhaps slightly better than Facebook’s decision to fade sound in and out as you scroll through your News Feed. Not only has Facebook decided to autoplay audio, they’re also enabling a feature that keeps the video playing picture-in-picture style so it’s still active even if you try to scroll away. We can certainly foresee users accidentally minimizing videos instead of closing them, so we’d recommend either browsing Facebook with your device on silent mode, or disabling videos from playing with sound completely by switching off ‘Videos in News Feed Start With Sound’ in Settings.
It’s easy to understand why social media players and businesses want to enable audio, as audio is undoubtedly a large part of any immersive video watching experience. Still, it’s undoubtedly jarring (and embarrassing) to have some cheesy jingle blaring from your smartphone in a public setting, so we’ll definitely be watching to see what other developments occur.