How to Play YouTube Videos on Your Mobile Device

Enjoy watching YouTube videos from your smartphone or tablet

YouTube on an iPad

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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. Mobile devices let you check out new videos or catch up on your subscriptions wherever you are.

Here are three ways to enjoy YouTube on the go, along with some tips for using it.

These instructions apply to Android L devices and newer or iOS 10 or higher.

Download the Free YouTube Mobile App

YouTube has free apps for both iOS and Android devices. When you're looking for it in your app store of choice, you only need the one called "YouTube." The company now has a standalone music app, a kid-safe version of its video site, YouTube Studio for people who have or want channels, and YouTube TV.

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

YouTube App Tips

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.

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 minimize, and you'll be able to continue browsing the YouTube app as usual.

Tap the video to continue watching it in full-screen mode or swipe down on it/tap the X to close it.

Minimizing a video on YouTube for iPhone

If you have limited data on your plan and are away from Wi-Fi often, you should adjust YouTube so that HD videos only play when you have access to wireless. Doing so will not only make videos load faster on slower networks, but it may also save you from data overages.

Tap your profile picture in the top corner of the screen, and then select Settings and tap the Play HD on Wi-Fi only button so that it turns blue.


Tap on Any YouTube Video Embedded in a Web Page from a Mobile Web Browser

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

After tapping the video, you might see it start playing on the web page. It might stay within the limits of its current size on the page, or it might expand to full-screen mode. If it does take over the screen, you can rotate your device to watch it in landscape orientation.

The video might also automatically redirect you away from your mobile browser to the video's page in the YouTube app. A window may appear asking if you want to watch the video in the browser, instead.

Tap on YouTube Videos Within Social Apps

People often share YouTube videos with their friends and followers, so when you see a video in your Facebook or Twitter feed, tap it to start watching immediately.

Most popular social apps have built-in web browsers or video players to keep people there. When users share links that take them somewhere else, the social app opens a browser window to play the content without leaving the app.

Depending on where you find the link, you might also have an 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. But you can also tap the Open App option at the top to watch it in the YouTube app instead.

YouTube's mobile site on an iPad with the Open App button highlighted