Why Isn't YouTube Working?

Start watching videos again with these troubleshooting solutions

Sometimes, YouTube stops working. Other times, the service functions properly, but the app, device, or internet connection you're using won't stream videos smoothly or won't show videos at all. When the YouTube app isn't working for you, try the troubleshooting steps below to fix the problem.

A wrench icon (left) next to YouTube logo (right) on dark background

Reasons Why YouTube Isn't Working

There are various reasons why YouTube might not be working for you. You could be experiencing internet issues. Your YouTube app might need an update. Or, perhaps, the YouTube service is experiencing an outage.

How to Fix It When YouTube Isn't Working

Try the following troubleshooting solutions in order to fix YouTube when it's not functioning properly:

  1. Check Twitter updates from @TeamYouTube. When the service encounters widespread problems, this account typically acknowledges the issue soon after. Before you try any of the steps below, check @TeamYouTube's recent Tweets to see if the service is experiencing problems. If it is, wait for the people at YouTube to restore the service.

  2. Force close the app and then restart it. If there's a problem with the app on a mobile device, a force quit will often clear whatever that problem is so when you restart it, everything is working again.

  3. Restart the device. Many PC and mobile device issues can be fixed with a simple restart. Power down the phone, tablet, computer, TV, or streaming video box. Wait a minute or so, then power it up again.

    Windows and macOS systems may take additional time to start up since a restart often prompts system or app updates.

  4. Check the network connection. A slow or unstable connection can cause YouTube to reduce the quality of its video streams or stop working altogether. Check the modem or router status. Or conduct a speed test. If your hardware isn't working, or you're not getting normal speeds, restart your equipment.

    Also check your network's bandwidth while you're focused here. YouTube videos won't load very well on a network that's already bogged down with other network activity like online gaming or video/music streaming. Easing off on other network-related stuff, especially on a slow network, will free up some bandwidth which can help make some available for streaming from YouTube.

    Higher resolution videos require faster internet speeds to run well. YouTube recommends a .7 Mbps connection for SD 360p resolution videos, which means a fairly slow DSL connection would work. HD 1080p resolution relies on a 5 Mbps connection, while a 4K video needs 20 Mbps. You'll find more details on the YouTube troubleshoot video streaming issues page.

    Some system administrators block access to YouTube. For example, some schools block access to YouTube for students but allow access for teachers. In some cases, you can gain access to the service if you change the domain name settings (DNS) on your device. Using a VPN is another great way to get around a network blocking YouTube.

  5. Clear your browser's cache. If it hasn't been deleted in a while, lingering data can cause issues with the browser itself and might prevent videos from loading properly.

  6. Update your software. YouTube sometimes stops functioning properly if an app or the router firmware is outdated. If you access YouTube from an Android device, check for updates at Google Play. You can find iOS updates in the App Store. There is no official YouTube app for Windows, so update your browser and operating system instead.

    Streaming devices, such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Nvidia Shield TV, and Roku, may offer the YouTube app and operating system updates. Check your device maker's instructions to learn how to install patches on these devices.

  7. Switch to Chrome. If you don't use the Chrome web browser, you might want to download and install it. Since Google owns both Chrome and YouTube, the two tend to work well together. Google offers versions of Chrome for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.

  8. Check your YouTube account settings. Make sure you're signed in with an account that has access to the clips you want to watch. Some video share settings restrict access to people with a specific account.

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