We've all been to web pages where animations start auto-playing without permission. It's a crime against humanity and should be stopped. The upside is that if they're animated GIFs, at least they're silent. But they're usually also big downloads, which can be a real drag on your connection while you wait. It's best to prevent the animations happening without your permission.
It's not always a straightforward thing like stopping autoplay videos, since an animated GIF is an image file—it just happens to have multiple frames that play in sequence. Here's how to put a stop to the show, browser by browser. (We even placed an animated GIF on this very page down under the IE section that you can use to test things out. We're just that nice.)
The folks at Mozilla were smart to incorporate an option to turn off auto-play animations in Firefox.
- Type "about:config" in the address bar.
- Click "I accept the risk!" when it comes up.
- Find "image.animation" using the search box (just type "anim")
- Double-click "image.animation_mode."
- In the next box, type ether "once," so the animated GIFs only get one chance to play, or "none" so they never can.
The downside here is you can't ever get the file to play later without reverting the settings.
If you prefer a software solution, download the SuperStop extension for Firefox. With a click of Shift+Esc, background animations on a page should cease.
There's no built-in facility to kill animated-GIF playback on Google's browser. You'll need an extension from the Google Web Store to stop them.
- Gif Jam (Animation Stopper) will show just the first frame of any GIF that tries to load.
- Animation Policy lets you set up a policy for how to handle a GIF: let it run once (and only once) or disable auto-play altogether.
- Gif Stopper lets you stop all the animations on a page with a stroke of the Esc key (leaving a blank white space where the image used to be).
- Gif Delayer won't stop them playing but does delay them until all the GIFs on the page are fully loaded, so you're not waiting around, watching stuttering, half-started animations.
Disabling animated images in Opera used to be part of the settings, but they took it out. Your best bet is to instead use Google Chrome extensions like those listed above.
To install them, you must first run the Opera add-on called Download Chrome Extension while using Opera. It lets you then go into the Google Chrome Web Store and download pretty much all the existing Google extensions. You'll have to take the extra step of going into the extensions page of Opera and clicking Install to make it work. Gif Jam (Animation Stopper) worked like a charm.
Finally, a browser that does it right. (It's not often you say that about IE.) When animated GIFs load in IE, just hit the Esc key and they stop moving. Nothing disappears, they just stop. If it's a page full of them, you may have to hit Esc more than once, as the button won't work until the GIF is fully loaded on the page. You have to reload to get the GIFs moving again.
If you want to stop animated GIFs forever:
- Go to Internet Options (via the Tools menu "gear" at the upper right)
- Select the Advanced tab
- Scroll down to Multimedia to uncheck "Play animations in web pages."
- You'll need to restart your browser and your computer for this to take effect and go through the whole process to re-start animated images.
You'd think the same things would work for Microsoft Edge in Windows 10. But you'd be wrong. I couldn't find any easily identifiable option to shut off GIFs.
Not a lot of great options to stop the desktop Safari from animating GIFs, though there is an old extension named Deanimator that may do the trick.
Twitter and Facebook
Twitter has one of the best approaches to animated GIFs on the desktop, which are everywhere on the site: if you don't like it, click it, and it stops. Click it again to start the motion all over. Turning off video autoplay in the settings will also turn off ALL autoplay of animated GIFs—you'll be able to tell them by the play button in the center, and the overlayed word "GIF" in the lower left.
We're putting @NASA_Orion spacecraft's Launch Abort System to the test today. Watch on @Facebook Live at 2:45pm ET: https://t.co/cJ3zfqI4rt pic.twitter.com/RuXXZErcnX— NASA (@NASA) June 15, 2017
Just in time for the GIF's 30th birthday, meanwhile, Facebook opened up animated GIF comments to the entirety of the services' billions of users.
It does the same thing as Twitter; click a GIF and it stops moving. To turn them all off, go to Settings on the desktop, look for Video to the left, and under "Auto-Play Videos" set it to Off.
That stops videos and animated GIFs, but you can still click them to activate. Go back into settings to turn auto-play back on, or just pick "Default" to get whatever the poster intended. This only works on the desktop.