Google says previewing videos this way will help you make “more informed decisions about whether you want to watch a video, leading to longer engagement with videos you choose to watch.”
That’s certainly one way to look at the feature, but if it sounds more annoying than useful, don’t worry, as you can also easily switch it off. Simply select your Account icon, tap Settings, then Autoplay, and finally, Autoplay on Home to toggle it on or off. These straightforward instructions are good for Android devices, as well as iPhones and iPads, and it’s similarly effortless to set the feature as active only on Wi-Fi connections if you’re worried about cellular data consumption.
For its part, YouTube insists a lot of time was spent on “optimizing” the amount of data videos in general and autoplaying vids specifically use up nowadays. It’s also worth pointing out that the silent videos you’ll see autoplayed in your home tab will contain captions, which have made great progress of their own lately in terms of both availability and especially accuracy.