Facebook is a classic “love-hate” relationship. Love the communication with family and friends. Hate all the nonsense clogging up the news feed. Fortunately, there are a few really easy steps you can take to control your Facebook experience.
1. AUTO-PLAYING VIDEOS
A year ago, Facebook decided that its users wanted any videos in the News Feed to start playing automatically when they scrolled past them. Wrong. Facebook users were understandably upset. Not only was it annoying to suddenly get blasted with sound, videos use up cellular data on mobile gadgets.
Turning off auto-playing video is simple. For the Facebook website, go to your Facebook profile. Click the downward arrow in the upper-right corner and select “Settings.” At the bottom of the left column, click “Videos.” Then next to “Auto-Play Videos,” choose “Off.”
In Android, open the Facebook app and tap the icon with the three horizontal lines to the left. Then scroll down to “App Settings” and tap “Autoplay.” You can set it to play “On Mobile Data and Wi-Fi Connections,” “On Wi-Fi Connections Only,” or, my personal favorite, “Never Autoplay Videos.”
For iOS, open your Facebook app and at the bottom-right corner tap “More.” Scroll down and tap “Settings” and then “Account Settings.” Find and tap “Videos and Photos” and under Video Settings tap “Autoplay.” You can set it to play “On Mobile Data and Wi-Fi Connections,” “On Wi-Fi Connections Only,” or “Never Autoplay Videos.”
Auto-playing videos aren’t the only things eating up your cellular data. Learn about four more ways your cellular data gets drained and how to stop them.
2. APP NOTIFICATIONS
Tired of a Facebook game app you installed years ago still sending you notifications every other minute? You can easily turn off app notifications if you know where to look. In fact, you’ll probably want to remove most of your apps entirely because they can share your information with the app developers.
To find your installed apps, go to your Facebook profile and click the downward arrow in the upper-right corner. Select “Settings” and in the left column click “Apps.” You’ll see every app you’ve ever installed on the left.
Hover over an app and click the pencil icon to edit its properties. You can choose what information it can know about you and if it can send you notifications. You’ll want to change it to only get the most basic information possible and change Notifications to “No.”
If you want to delete the app, hover over it and click the “X” icon. While this won’t delete any information that it has previously gathered on you, it will stop it from collecting more.
3. BLOCK NEWS FEED POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE
Do you have friends who post dozens of things on Facebook every day, but it’s mostly shares from political, potty humor or inspiration pages? You don’t want to block your friend entirely, but you’d rather not see those posts you don’t care about.
If your friend is constantly sharing from the same pages, you can actually block those pages specifically. Click the downward arrow in the upper-right corner of the post, and select “Hide all from …” and you won’t see any more posts from those pages.
If you just want to stop seeing posts from your friend without un-friending them, click the downward arrow and select “Unfollow …” You can refollow them later by going to your Facebook profile, clicking the downward arrow in the upper-right corner and selecting “News Feed Preferences.” Then click “Reconnect with people you unfollowed” and choose people you want to re-follow and click “Done.”