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Google Looking to Add Offline Video Viewing to YouTube Mobile App Soon

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YouTube may do some questionable things every now and then, like changing their video settings user interface every 6th months, but for the most part Google likes to keep YouTube as a pretty high priority in their app lineup. Late last night, YouTube took to a blog post to announce a new feature that will be a welcome addition for video watchers on the go. 

YouTube currently has a “Watch Later” playlist, but all that does is flag the video for preloading on your desktop or mobile device once you get to network signal. Last night it was announced that true offline viewing would be coming to the app finally. The new feature will allow people to preload the video onto their device so that “something as commonplace as a morning commute” wouldn’t get in their way. No official date for when we could expect this update, but we’re told to check back around November to see how this will all work out.

Update:  Here are some additional details –

What’s happening
On the YouTube app, users will be able, through “add to device” functionality available on videos and playlists, to designate certain content that they can watch for a short period of time when an internet connection is unavailable. With this, if a user experiences a loss of connectivity, they will still be able to watch the videos that they’ve added to their device for a limited period of up to 48 hours. If the device is offline for more than 48 hours the content cannot be viewed offline until the device reconnects. Once connected, the offline window refreshes and the viewer is able to watch the content again.

How it works for viewers
From the watch page through the “add to device” functionality feature, viewers will be able to designate certain content that they can watch for a short period of time when they do not have connectivity. At the time when the user no longer has connectivity, they will be able to watch the videos and playlists they have added to their device by accessing the videos through an “on device” section of their guide.

Not the most revolutionary idea for an update, but a welcome one. Do you watch videos through YouTube’s mobile app often?

Via:  YouTube

  • master94

    About time. I need this on long trips in the NYC subway

  • Mat Collins

    Isn’t this one of the reasons that Google blocked the Microsoft Phone app?

  • John S

    How about youtube fix the buffering problem for the latest android versions forced on us before stupid crap like this? Most annoying issue ever.

  • Higher_Ground

    I would rather they work on a way to allow videos to play in the background, so that I could listen to music on youtube while doing other things on my phone.

  • overclock

    I already download youtube vids and watch them later. It’s called tubemate. I’ve been using it for years. Love it. It used to be available in the market but isn’t any more since it violates YT terms.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    What they need to do is make hangouts offline. Aka sms support.
    Quesion for anyone, Is everything uploaded to youtube in the webp format? We need more webp.

  • NexusMan


  • macdaddybuff

    My ? is would you be able to download your Google play movies through youtube on a Ipad. They only reason i ask is and I don’t currently own a ipad. If so that would give me a way to access the google play store and download my movies as well as amazon instant video app. Right now you can only watch via the youtube app on the ipad your google play movies.

  • Brackstone

    I really hope so, I have the “watch later” list that supposedly downloads things to my phone but then when I went to “watch later” I still needed an internet connection? That was very confusing!

  • abi
  • Can DL a show or whatever at home on WiFi and then watch it on the way to work or whatever????

  • Now make it so you can listen to videos while the screen is off, I know there are modded versions that do this but it would be nice to have it officially supported!

    • Brett Wcislo

      This bugs the crap out of me, I’d love this.

    • meijin3

      I just found out how to do this on PA and I love it! You have to have the Halo)) app and pin your launcher. While in the YouTube app, go to your launcher using Halo and voila!

  • Zach B.

    Well I know where all my free space is going…

  • Our 2 year old daughter will love the chance to watch episodes of Peppa Pig offline during flights and long car journeys, This also just saved us time working on a video tutorial on how to achieve the same thing. great news!!!

  • Spencer Yarbrough

    Well I like their most updated app so far.. it’s clean and sleek.

  • sean parmenter

    I’m constantly using “Watch Later”. Like you said, a welcome update. Thanks

  • michael bourgoin

    this is big for people with limited data plans. can DL a show or whatever at home on WiFi and then watch it on the way to work or whatever

  • hooligan

    They also need to add the “swipe down” gesture to refresh subscriptions!

  • Eric

    It’s about time!

    • Nex

      Isn’t kind of weird though, I’m glad to have it. But correct me if i’m wrong, but wouldn’t it “cache” the video to your device much the way Google music does? If so seems counter productive to make devices with no sd card support and 8GB/16GB storage space. Considering everything is adding offline support seems like large storage space is a necessity.

      • John

        This was my #1 problem with the Nexus 4. I never had space on the device, so my next phone I ran to a 32GB phone.

      • Miguel Angel Portela

        TubeMate does this. And yo can actually manage the file. The annoying thing about Google adding a feature like this is that if it’s anything like Google Music caching, all the files will be in some mysterious, hidden directory. And that’s just annoying, really.

      • michael arazan

        Not to mention how much space 720 and 1080 videos take up. 1080 video is under 10 minutes for 1 GB and 720 is around 20 minutes for 1 gb of storage on a device.

  • zombiewolf

    this is a nice feature but for now i want google to fix youtube app idk if this is just me but on my nexus 4 youtube vids take forever to load on wifi but the same vid will load on hspa+ in a instance (and its not my home internet speeds as i have 50 mbs up and down)

    • ItsGmartin28

      i have the most upgraded wifi at my house the fastest i’ve ever seen in my house and youtube does that on all my devices including my pc, laptop, and phones/tablets.

      • zombiewolf

        yea but its only my nexus 4 that takes long to load on wifi my tv,laptop,destop and even consoles load youtube vids fast

    • Qwerty

      I personally can’t stand that the video I’m watching minimizes itself when I’m looking for something else. I prefer it not to do that most of the time.

  • ItsGmartin28

    HELL YEAH! thank god its finally coming out

  • Nits

    This will be the best feature… I have been waiting for it… Will not have to depend on crappy verizon 4G lte reception in the DC Area during my commute…

  • Radgatt

    That’s a great thing to watch videos in an area with no access to data.