The best YouTube tips for Android and iOS

YouTube is huge. According to recent statistics, the Internet Video Database sports over 5 billion videos and hosts 2 billion users per month. For example, it may have used your smartphone to watch your YouTube videos. You may even be left-handed when watching YouTube videos – after all, you just open the app, search for a video, tap it, and sit back. But even for the most experienced, there is probably a YouTube app feature that you missed or skipped in a hurry to see the latest upload from a favorite creator.

So whether it’s adding videos to a custom playlist, streaming to a TV, or restricting your YouTube usage, here are some of the best tips and tricks you may not know.

Turning on dark mode

With a greater emphasis on reducing eye strain and battery usage, Dark Mode has adopted the most used applications today. And while you’re probably spending most of your time watching videos in full screen on the YouTube app, a bit of obsession will surely make navigating around look more eye-friendly, especially at night.

Whether you are on iOS or Android, turning on dark mode is a fairly straightforward process. Open the YouTube app settings by tapping your profile picture in the top right, then tap Settings> General> Appearance and toggle on the dark theme or use the device theme if dark mode is on.

In most cases, if your YouTube app is already running in your phone’s display settings, it should automatically switch to dark mode.

Setting up break reminders

You have millions of hours of video content to buzz on YouTube and it’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole, so why not set a break reminder? Break reminders are ideal for those who want to moderate the amount of time their kids are watching videos or for those who just want to moderate themselves.

Fortunately, it’s just as easy to set up as a few taps. Just remind me to take a break> General> to open your YouTube app settings, and set your preferred frequency for the timer. If set correctly, the tab should be toggled.

Now, as you will see through the videos, a pop-up set will suggest a break. You can dismiss it or adjust the timer by tapping Settings.

Image-in-picture mode

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“Image-in-picture” may sound like a bizarre modern art display but it’s just the name of the feature that lets YouTube play in a small, resized window. This window continues while you do other things on your phone, allowing you to keep an eye on when you’re texting or browsing social media. This is a great little invention and if you have the skills to use it you should.

We say “if” because not everyone gets the image-in-image mode on YouTube – well, not yet. The feature is currently available for users running Android 7.0 or later, but will have to wait until iOS 14 goes live on iOS devices.

Starting image-in-picture is really easy. Just play the video you want to watch, then go back to your home screen. The video should be compressed into a smaller window. If that doesn’t work and it should, make sure image-in-picture mode is enabled in your settings. Go to your Settings app, then click Applications & Notifications> Advanced> Special Access> Image-in-Images> YouTube and allow the position-in-image to be on location.

Streaming to a Chromecast, Fire Stick, or other streaming device

It’s great to watch YouTube on your phone, but some content demands a bigger screen. If you have a Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick or Smart TV, you can watch your YouTube content on a big screen without too much hassle.

To stream from your phone’s YouTube app, simply open YouTube and tap the Cast icon at the top of the screen. It looks like a square with the Winky Wi-Fi symbol in the bottom left corner and should be found next to the search and record icons. After selecting your device from the open box, simply select the video you want to watch and it will pop up on your TV.

Don’t see the cast option? Or your device is not appearing in the list? There are several steps you can take to begin the process.

  • If necessary, make sure you have downloaded a collaborative application. The Google Home app (iOS) can help Chromecast users, but Amazon Fire Stick users should download the Amazon Fire TV app (iOS).
  • Make sure you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your streaming device.
  • Restart your phone and streaming device.
  • If everything else fails, you can manually pair with the TV code. This can be done by opening the YouTube app on your TV, going to settings, scrolling the link with the TV code, and entering the code found in your YouTube phone app by tapping Watch on TV in the settings.

What else are you interested in doing with streaming devices? Check out our list of Chromecast tips and tricks.

How to stop watching specific channels and videos

With billions of videos, there must be some content that you don’t want to see. Instead of just reminding you of an annoying creator or ex, there are ways to prevent some videos from appearing on your YouTube feed.

If you don’t want to watch a specific video – for example, if you’re not fully interested in a topic – tap the three dot icon to the right of the video name and tell YouTube you are not interested. This data will feed into YouTube’s algorithm and its accuracy should be tightened. If this is the channel you do not want to watch, tap on the same three points and select Do not recommend the channel. YouTube will then stop recommending the channel to you altogether – although you will still be able to find it on YouTube search.

Be careful what you choose with this option, as there is no easy undo option. If you want to remove because you are not interested and do not suggest channel selection, you can do so by clearing all entries at once. To do this you need to go to My Actions in your Google Account. Then go to another Google activity on the left or under the My Activity banner. Select YouTube ‘Not Interested’ Feedback> Delete.

Create and use playlists

Great way to put together a group of videos related to playlists. Maybe it’s woodwork for kids, reference reference videos or the damest memes you can find – whatever it is, you can create a playlist for it.

To create a playlist, open YouTube and tap the Library button in the bottom-right. Then scroll down and select the new playlist. You’ll then be asked if you want to add videos from the videos you’ve seen before, you don’t have to. Name your playlist and choose whether it can be found through YouTube search (public), only linked (listed) or viewed only by your (private) private person. Tap Create and you’re done.

You can now tap your playlist to play, edit or delete it. It’s easy to add a video to your playlist. To add from YouTube search, long-press the video or tap the three dots to the right of the video title and select Save to Playlist. Then select your playlist and tap Done. If you’re already watching a video and want to save it, tap the Save button at the bottom of your video and select your playlist.

It’s also worth noting that each YouTube account has access to its own personal After Watch playlist and you can use it to quickly save videos for later viewing. Instead of tapping Save to playlist as you would a normal playlist, you can quickly tap the Save Save later option to add a video to it. You can get a later watch list in your library like other playlists.

Looking at your statistics, determining limitations and receiving reminders

Did you know that YouTube has a statistics page? Move to the right of the app and you can see how much YouTube you watch on average and what day you are active. Just tap on your profile picture in the top right and select the time to view your stats.

But the Time Watch section is not just about statistics – it’s also about tools that allow you to narrow down your YouTube or take it to new heights. Scroll down from your statistics and you’ll see tools for managing your YouTube time. Below you will find your first time-limited tool: Remind me to take a break. If enabled, YouTube will remind you to take a break after a certain amount of time to watch the video.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for more searches, clicking on the next video in Autoplay lets YouTube play a suggested video when your current video is finished. Scheduled Digest sends you a daily digest at a specific time so that you can get your daily solution.

Enables incognito mode and removes videos from your viewing history

It’s easy to get involved with your YouTube suggestions. You’ve spent a lot of time watching videos and sharpening algorithms, and the last thing you need to do is completely change your YouTube feed to watch videos with your young cousin.

If you do not want your next viewing session to be visible in your viewing history, simply tap the profile in the top-right of the YouTube app to turn on camouflage mode and then tap Turn on camouflage. The camouflage icon will appear in the top-right while the mode is active, and to close it simply tap the symbol in the top right corner and tap Close the camouflage.

Well, if you have watched videos you don’t already remember, you can delete them from your watch history and prevent YouTube from offering similar videos. Tap the library icon at the bottom-right, then tap History. Find the video you want to remove, either swipe left until the red Remove button appears, or tap the three dots at the top right of the video and tap Remove from View History.

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