3 ways to turn off YouTube annotations and cards

Find out your options for getting rid of YouTube's annotations and its new interactive cards.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

I believe it was once said, "With great annotations comes great responsibility."

YouTube's annotations are a powerful tool for engaging viewers, but they can quickly spiral out of control and become more of a distraction than an interaction. Thankfully, you have ways to combat incessant speech bubbles, from eradicating them one by one to erasing their existence altogether.

First, the soft approach. You can disable an individual annotation simply by hovering over it and clicking the resulting X button.

The intermediate approach is to turn off all annotations for the video currently playing. Click the gear icon in the menu bar along the bottom edge of the video player. A settings panel will pop up with a toggle switch to turn off annotations. Note: this switch will also turn off YouTube's new interactive cards.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The third approach is the nuclear option. If you don't want to see annotations (or cards) for any video whatsoever, you can disable all interactive elements by heading to settings, clicking on Playback from the Account Settings panel on the left, and then unchecking the box for "Show annotations, channel promotions and interactive cards on videos."

In related news, learn how to get started with YouTube's interactive cards.