YouTube Is Muting or Skipping to the End of Videos for Users With Ad Blockers

Some makers of ad-block software are working on updates that will bypass these measures.

Joe Hindy
3 min read
YouTube logo shown on a phone

YouTube users may have noticed some problems accessing videos lately.

SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Having trouble watching YouTube videos lately? It may be because you're using ad-blocking software. YouTube users who have ad-blocking software turned on are reporting that when they try to watch a video on the service, it may mute or skip suddenly to the end rather than play normally.

Users reported the strange behavior in a Reddit thread posted on Monday. The original poster shared a screen grab of a Gamers Nexus video automatically skipping to the end. That user then attempts to play the video again from a random point only to have the video immediately end again. The muting issue also hit some users, with one person reporting they were able only to hear audio from a video if they constantly adjusted the volume. 

This is apparently intentional on YouTube's part.

"Ad blockers violate YouTube's Terms of Service, and we've been urging users for some time to support their favorite creators and allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience," a YouTube spokesperson said through email.  "An unrelated push to improve YouTube's performance and reliability may be resulting in suboptimal viewing experiences for ad blocker users."

The issue is most common for users of AdBlock Plus as well as built-in ad blockers on browsers such as Opera GX. As of Tuesday, users have reported that many ad blockers have been updated to fix the issue. Users also said that they didn't experience the issue on uBlock Origin. 

The latest in the war against ad blockers

This news is a part of the crackdown announced last month where YouTube said that it would make third-party ad blockers more difficult to use. At the time, YouTube said viewers using ad block could expect buffering issues or errors that say the "following content is not available on this app" when trying to watch YouTube videos with ad block enabled. The streaming giant didn't mention skipping or muted videos. 

This battle isn't new. About four months ago, users received notices that ad blockers violate YouTube's terms of service and were told they had to allow ads in order to continue. Other users reported that YouTube managed to bypass ad blockers entirely and force ads to play even with blockers installed. 

YouTube also has spent time trying to make ads less annoying for users. YouTube and Google Chrome already automatically block ads that are longer than 31 seconds and have stopped allowing mid-roll advertising on videos that are 8 minutes long or shorter. Ads that take up more than one-third of the video have also been eliminated. 

People still want ad blockers

Ad-block usage has been steadily climbing for over a decade. Over 20 million people used the technology in 2009. By 2021, that number ballooned to 586 million, due in no small part to the rise in ad blocker availability on mobile phones. As of 2024, a recent study claims that over 50% of Americans use ad block in some capacity.

A 2023 YouTube crackdown on ad blocking reportedly resulted in a record number of people uninstalling ad blockers. Ad-block makers quickly released updates to bypass the change. 

Users have cited plenty of reasons for using ad block, including improving their Internet experience by avoiding pop-ups and intrusive ads. Security and privacy are also often cited, especially in the wake of malicious advertising that can sometimes appear even on trusted websites.