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Best YouTube tricks only used by Power Users

by Felix Omondi
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YouTube has become a very important part of our infotainment lives. It can easily replace the conventional TV, and enable you to watch what you want when you want; video-on-demand is the term for it I believe.

However, no two YouTube users are the same; there are those who launch the app, search for video and tap on play. While there are the gurus who know of shortcut and functionality that make watching videos more enriching.

This article is for folks who are very familiar (or haven’t bothered to familiarize themselves) with the YouTube mobile app. There are features and functionality designed to improve your viewing experience. They are as follows:

#1 – Skip 10 seconds forward/ backward by Double Tapping

The latest YouTube app came with some really useful features. Now you can skip 10 seconds forward by double tapping the right side of the video, double tap on the left side and rewind back 10 seconds.

This feature improves video watching experience compared to the earlier functionality, where you were to tap and hold the seek bar and dragging it forward or backward. The old way was really cumbersome and tiresome, especially when watching long videos.

And guess what! You can even adjust the skip from 10 seconds to anywhere within 60 seconds. Simply tap the profile picture and tap Settings > General > Double-tap to seek. There you can set the skip time to anywhere between 10 – 60 seconds.

#2 – Clear and/or Pause Search History

If you are watching YouTube on a shared device, whatever you (or other users) watch will be capture in the watch history. YouTube will then use the history gathered over time to suggest new videos.

If you are not comfortable with other users having an idea of what you have been watching when you have the device to yourself; say you watch ‘unconventional’ videos. You can clear your search history, or pause it for the time you will be using the device. That way, the next user will not have an idea of what you were watching.

Tap on the profile picture, go to Settings > History & Privacy and then slide on the Pause watch History and Pause search History functionality. At the top of this page, you can also clear current watch and search history.

#3 – Get Related Videos by Swiping Up

Ever searched for a particular video and picked on one out of a list to watch, but hardly halfway you realize it’s not the ‘most rewarding video.’ Well simply swipe up to see a list of related videos; one of which ought to be more rewarding.

#4 – Change the Video Quality

YouTube has this feature we love to hate when we are on a fast but limited internet connection. It automatically switches to streaming videos in HD; something that will deplete your data fast. You are better off streaming low-quality videos; that way you will watch more for less.

To change the video quality, tap on the menu button > Quality then change it to a lower resolution. You can set 360p, which is a good compromise between quality and bandwidth.

#5 – Disabling Autoplay

The autoplay feature is useful when you want a hands free watching experience on YouTube; the videos keep rolling in one after the other. However, having this feature on can lead to such time wastage; especially if the succeeding videos are ‘very rewarding,’ To stop the Autoplay functionality, you can toggle off the Up next queuing feature.

#6 – Share Videos with Friends

Google baked a chat feature in YouTube recently. Surprisingly, it did not port Google+ into the platform, choosing instead to create a new chat platform. Nonetheless, when you have been invited by a friend on YouTube to chat, you can share with each other videos in real time, right within the YouTube app.

#7 – Download Videos and Play Sound in the Background

When Google finally granted users the ability to download videos off YouTube and listen to playback with video in the background. The company made it a premium feature that comes with YouTube Red.

However, if you don’t want to pay for the monthly subscriptions of YouTube Red, you can install third-party app (not available on Play Store) NewPie. It is an open-source YouTube player with a lot of focus on privacy. It also allows you download YouTube videos for offline viewing, listen to the audio with video playback in the background, and is a floating player.

It is recommended you download the app from F-Droid’s App Store. To do so, you will first need to download the F-Droid APK and then sideload it. After that, search for NewPie from the App Store and install it. The other route will be to search for and install the NewPie APK, but updates will be hard to come by.

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