YouTube’s Getting a Slightly New Look and a Much Better Zoom

No more awkwardly holding the screen for a closer look

YouTube is getting a subtle visual overhaul, along with a few other added functions and features.

Whether you use YouTube in a browser or on your phone, things are going to start looking a little different in the near future—especially if you prefer to use the dark theme. The darks are getting darker to bump up the contrast and make colors and brighter tones pop just a bit more, while video and playlist pages will be adding a little dynamic color.

Friends watching a video on a smartphone

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This "ambient mode," as YouTube calls it, dynamically samples color from the video and adds similar shades to the background of the video or playlist page. Think of it as a subtle color bleed effect, which YouTube says was inspired by the color and light we often see reflecting off of surfaces when watching TV in a dark room.

Video watch pages are also getting a few adjustments, with actions such as Like, Share, and Download being visually downplayed so as not to clutter the page as much. Video description links are also being changed from typical URLs to buttons—presumably through an automated process of some kind though YouTube didn't go into detail about the process. Even the Subscribe button is getting an overhaul, with the familiar YouTube Red getting the axe in favor of a new color and shape that YouTube believes will stand out a lot more.

Looks aren't the only thing changing, though. The pinch-to-zoom feature made possible through the mobile app is also getting a pretty simple (but significant) update. While you could zoom in on a playing video before, now the view will stay zoomed in until you decide to pull back—no more snapping back once you let go of the screen. You'll also be able to drag the zoomed-in view around while the video is running, so you don't lose track of whatever it is you wanted to see more closely.

Updated YouTube on multiple devices


And if you use the app or web version, you can drag up from the bottom of the video (while seeking) to use Precise Seeking, which will show you more detailed thumbnails of the video timeline. It's basically a better way to find the exact moment in a video that you're looking for.

The updated look for YouTube starts rolling out today and is expected to finish within the next few weeks across the various platforms (web, mobile, smart TVs). While it's all going to be available on the mobile app, features like improved pinch-to-zoom won't make an appearance on the web or smart TV versions.

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