Video Stops Playing When Switching Tabs in Chrome

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Have you ever been engrossed in a captivating video on sites like YouTube, TikTok or Twitch, only to have it suddenly pause or stop playing when you switched to another tab in Chrome? This can be an annoying issue, especially when you want to multitask or keep the video playing in the background while browsing other websites. This inconvenience isn’t just limited to Chrome, as users have reported similar issues on browsers like Firefox. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind videos automatically pausing in Chrome and how to prevent it from happening.

Also see: How to Keep a Tab Active in Chrome

Video Stops Playing When Switching Tabs in Chrome

Why are videos automatically stop playing when you switch tabs?

The behavior of videos pausing or stop playing when switching tabs in Chrome is primarily due to resource management and performance optimization. Chrome, like other modern web browsers such as Firefox and Edge, uses various techniques to conserve system resources and provide a smooth browsing experience. One such technique is automatically suspending or pausing inactive tabs to reduce memory and CPU usage.

When you switch to another tab, Chrome may deem the previously active tab as inactive, and therefore, it halts certain processes, including video playback, to free up resources for the active tab. This default behavior aims to prevent background tabs from consuming unnecessary resources, thus enhancing overall browser performance.

Why are videos stop playing when I switch tabs

Another reason is the “Page Visibility API“. Websites, especially platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Twitch and Facebook can detect when a tab is inactive and pause content to save resources. This ensures that background tabs don’t slow down your primary activities or hog memory, but it can certainly disrupt the experience for those who rely on multitasking.

Useful tip: How to Cycle Through Tabs in Chrome, Firefox or Edge

How to prevent videos from pausing when switching tabs in Chrome

Fortunately, there are methods to circumvent this behavior and keep videos playing even when you switch tabs. Below are two effective solutions:

1. Make sure Chrome’s “Memory Saver” feature is turned off

Chrome’s “Memory Saver” feature is designed to automatically pause inactive tabs to save memory. However, if you wish to keep videos running when switching tabs, you can disable this feature.

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of your Chrome browser.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select “Settings”.Chrome menu Settings
  3. In the left pane, choose “Performance”.Chrome Performance Settings
  4. Toggle off the switch next to “Memory Saver” to prevent Chrome from freeing up memory from inactive tabs.Chrome video pauses when I switch tabs

    By turning off this setting, you should notice that videos continue playing even when you switch to another tab.

    Linked issueYouTube Video Lagging on Chrome When Full Screen (Fix)

    2. Install the “Disable Page Visibility API” extension

    The Page Visibility API is a web API that allows websites to detect when a page is visible or hidden to the user. Many websites use this API to pause certain activities, such as video playback, when a tab is no longer visible. However, you can prevent this behavior by installing the “Disable Page Visibility API” extension.

    1. Open the Chrome Web Store and search for “Disable Page Visibility API.”Disable Page Visibility API Chrome Extension
    2. Click “Add to Chrome” and then “Add extension” to install the extension.Allow YouTube or Twitch video to play in the background when switching tabs
    3. Once installed, the extension will automatically disable the Page Visibility API, allowing videos to continue playing uninterrupted even when you switch tabs.

    By implementing this extension, you can enjoy seamless video playback across different tabs without any freezing or pausing.

    Related concern: Twitch Causing High CPU Usage on Firefox or Chrome

    Muted videos pause when you switch tabs

    It’s worth noting that even with the above solutions, certain websites may still pause videos when you mute them. When you switch tabs, some websites can detect whether the video’s audio is muted and subsequently pause the video to conserve resources.

    Solution: Install “Volume Master”

    To overcome this issue, you can install the “Volume Master” extension in Chrome, which provides additional control over tab audio settings. With this extension, you can set the “Volume Master” to 0% while maintaining the original volume of the video at whatever level it was. This effectively mutes the video without muting the entire tab, preventing the website from detecting that the video is on mute.

    Muted videos pause when you switch tabs

    By employing the “Volume Master” extension, you can ensure that videos keep playing, even if you mute them while switching tabs.

    Final thoughts

    The digital age we live in is abundant with streaming platforms and browsers competing to provide the best user experience. But, as users, sometimes the “improvements” can be a bit of a hindrance.

    By understanding the reasons behind these behaviors and knowing how to navigate and adjust settings, you can customize your experience and enjoy your videos on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and others, without any interruptions, freezing, or pausing, even when multitasking and switching across tabs in browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

    Nyau Wai Hoe
    Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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