[Advanced users: if you already know all about the feature, skip down to the ‘Click To Play Switch’ section below]. Click To Play stops plugins (including those most targeted by malware such as Flash Player and Java) from loading automatically when you visit a website that wants to make use of that plugin.
Instead of automatically playing the content (e.g. a Youtube video), the plugin requires you to activate it first e.g. in place of the video a button is displayed – you must click the button to allow the page to make use of the plugin and play the content. This has 2 main benefits:
- Security – plugins shouldn’t be allowed to run without user interaction. Out of date plugins are the most common source of user compromise by malware/hackers.
- Performance – plugins can consume significant resources i.e. slow down page loading. Better control over when and how plugins run can significantly reduce CPU utilization.
Activating Click To Play – normally, you would have to make a change in about:config – changing the value of “plugins.click_to_play” from ‘false’ (disabled) to ‘true’ (Enabled) as shown in our guide [on Firefox 14 – Activating Click To Play section]
However, once activated, you may find that it breaks the functionality of certain sites, even if you whitelist the site. Instead of going back into about:config, it would be much quicker if you could just press a button to disable it temporarily – and without building up huge whitelists.
If you have been put off using this feature because it takes too long to switch it on/off via about:config, read on for a solution.
Click To Play Switch
This is a simple extension that adds a button to the Firefox Navigation Bar – clicking the button toggles the Click To Play setting On or Off. Download and install from Mozilla Add-Ons here – after restarting you should see the new button:
When you click the button it changes to show that the feature is now disabled (i.e. plugins will ‘play’ automatically):
Optional: when you press the button, it can automatically reload the current tab – useful to apply changes to the open page automatically.
To configure this option – select Firefox Menu\Addons (or Tools\Addons) to open the Extensions tab and press the Options button of the Click To Play Switch extension:
Here you can tick whether to automatically ‘Reload tab on click’ or not.
If you use the button to disable Click To Play, when you restart Firefox the add-on will set the preference to True again (i.e. Click To Play is enabled) – so that you stay protected.
Click To Play is a security and performance feature that has been available since Firefox 14 but is still disabled by default.
The Switch add-on is a great idea that makes it easy and quick to enable or disable the feature at the press of a button – without having to endlessly revisit about:config.