Video streaming services love to keep you watching. One of the ways they do this is by helpfully offering further content they think you might like when you finish a TV show or film, and frequently going ahead and playing it whether you ask it to or not, before the credits have even finished. You often need quick reactions to stop it from autoplaying the next episode of a TV show.
Netflix is the most famous practitioner of the autoplay approach. In this article we show how to disable Netflix's next-episode autoplay feature on PC, mobile, tablet and smart TV. Read next: The 25 best TV shows on Netflix UK
Turn off next-episode autoplay in settings
If you watch Netflix on a smart TV, you may have searched vainly through the settings for the option to turn off autoplay. But this is applied in an account's settings, which cannot be accessed on all devices: change the settings via the Netflix website and they will be applied throughout your device line-up.
Open the Netflix website and sign into your account (if you're not signed in already). Click the menu dropdown at the top right and select Account. On the page, under the My Profile section, click 'Playback settings'.
Under Auto-Play, you'll see a tick box for 'Play next episode automatically' - this should have a tick in it. Click to remove the tick, then hit Save.
This setting will now be applied to all devices on which you use the service, and in our experience it will do so instantly: we didn't need to sign out and in again on our smart TV, for example.
As the wording of the setting indicates, what you've done is disable one particular element of auto-play: the way Netflix starts playing the next episode of a programme when the previous one finishes. You'll still find that Netflix enthusiastically starts playing content when you're just looking at its description page, and we don't know of a method to stop this annoyance. If you do, we'd love to hear from you. Read next: How to watch American Netflix in the UK
Netflix still autoplays on another account
As we've said, next-episode autoplay settings are adjusted on a per-account basis, which means that if you switch to a different account, even on the same device, you will also switch to that account's autoplay settings. You will need to go into the Playback Settings for each account you use, following the instructions above, and disable autoplay for each of them.
Go to Netflix.com and click the dropdown menu at the top right where we previously selected Account. Instead, click your alternative account. Now click the top-right dropdown again and this time select Account, then Playback Settings, and follow the same method as above.
Autoplay on Kids accounts
Until recently the method described above didn't work on Kids accounts, which for obvious reasons weren't allowed the privilege of adjusting their own settings - but less logically couldn't even have their settings adjusted via a related adult account. (Absurdly, you had to temporarily upgrade their account to an adult account, turn off autoplay, then turn it back to a kids' account!)
Fortunately Netflix has changed this now, and you just need to select to the Kids account (via the website as before, and using the dropdown menu at the top right) and go to Account > Playback Settings and deselect 'Play next episode automatically' under Auto-Play.
You'll note that a Kids account has far fewer settings than an adult one, so they can't tinker with all that many options. But you should still bear in mind that it's possible for your children to turn next-episode autoplay back on if they are precocious and/or cheeky.
Talking of kids' accounts, here's how to set up parental controls on Netflix.