How To Play YouTube Videos On Your Mobile Device

Enjoy watching YouTube videos from your smartphone or tablet

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Watching YouTube videos on a desktop or laptop computer is great, but the experience is arguably even better from a smartphone or tablet computer. And it's easier to start watching than you might think.

Here are all the main ways you can enjoy YouTube from your favorite mobile device.

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Download the Free YouTube Mobile App

Screenshots of YouTube for iOS

YouTube has free apps built for both iOS and Android devices. All you have to do is simply download and install it to your device.

If you already have an existing Google or YouTube account, you can sign into your account using the app to see all of your YouTube account features including associated channels you might have, subscriptions, watch history, your "watch later" list, liked videos and more.

YouTube App Tips

  1. You can minimize any YouTube video that you're currently watching so that it continues playing in a small tab at the bottom of your screen.
    All you have to do is either swipe down on the video you're watching or tap the video and then tap the downward arrow icon that appears in the top left corner of the screen. The video will be minimized and you'll be able to continue browsing the YouTube app like normal (but you won't be able to leave the YouTube app if you want the minimized video to keep playing).
    Tap the video to continue watching it in full screen mode or swipe down on it/tap the X to close it.
  2. Configure your settings so that HD videos only play when you're connected to Wi-Fi. This will help save you data if you decide to play videos without a Wi-Fi connection.
    Simply tap on your profile picture in the top corner of the screen, then tap Settings and tap the Play HD on Wi-Fi only button so that it turns blue.
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Tap on Any YouTube Video Embedded in a Web Page from a Mobile Web Browser

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When you're browsing a website in a web browser on your device, you might come across a YouTube video that has been directly embedded into the page. You can tap the video to start watching in a couple of different ways depending on how the website has set it up:

Watch the video directly in the web page: After tapping the video, you might see the video begin to start playing on the web page. It might either stay within the limits of its current size on the page or it might expand to full screen mode. If it does expand, you should be able to turn your device around to watch it in landscape orientation and also tap on it to see the controls (pause, play, share, etc.).

Navigate away from the web page to watch the video in the YouTube app: When you tap the video to start watching, you might be automatically redirected away from your mobile browser to the video in the YouTube app. You might also first be asked if you want to watch the video in the browser or in the YouTube app.

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Tap on Any YouTube Video Shared Within Social Apps

Screenshots of YouTube for iOS

People love to share YouTube videos with their friends and followers, so when you see a video pop up in any of your social feeds that you want to watch, you can simply tap it to start watching immediately.

Most popular social apps have built-in web browsers to keep them within the social app. So when users share links that take them somewhere else—whether it's YouTube, Vimeo, or any other website—the social app will open a browser within itself to display the contents of the link as if it were being viewed on any other regular mobile browser.

Depending on the app, you might also be given the option to open the YouTube app and watch the video there instead. For instance, if you click a YouTube link in a tweet on Twitter, the app will open the video in its built-in browser with an Open App option at the very top that you can click to watch it in the YouTube app instead.

Updated by: Elise Moreau