YouTube Premium just became a much better value for its iOS app users as it has finally launched its new higher-quality video option for all subscribers on iPhone.
After experimenting with different video options over the past few months – including briefly locking 4K video access behind a paywall – YouTube has settled on launching 1080p Premium as an addition to its existing options. This enhanced bitrate version of 1080p promises to be “extra crisp and clear” according to YouTube’s blog post (opens in new tab), giving Premium members access to less-compressed videos.
Thankfully it looks like regular 1080p videos won’t see a reduction in quality for non-paying YouTube users, and 4K video is still free for everyone; however, this announcement isn’t all good news.
For one, you’ll only be able to take advantage of the higher bitrate videos if you have a strong enough internet connection – and they’ll eat into more of your data plan than lower-quality videos too. For another, there’s no word yet on when the higher bitrate format will come to Premium subscribers using Android phones, but web users should get access to 1080p Premium “soon.”
YouTube on Android is getting upgrades too
If you are an YouTube Premium subscriber on Android, you aren’t missing out on every new feature.
Whether you watch YouTube on an Android phone, one of the best iPhones, or the web, Premium subscribers will now get access to a Continue Watching feature. YouTube already lets you pick up videos where you left off – and even has a dedicated section that shows you all your part-watched videos for channels you subscribe to – but this new Continue Watching feature will streamline the process of finding unfinished content. Now, when you open up the YouTube app after pausing a video partway through on the web it’ll automatically tee up the video at the bottom of the screen.
Another nifty tool for those of you who love watching YouTube while out and about is Smart Downloads. If you turn this feature on, YouTube will automatically download videos it thinks you’ll love while you’re on Wi-Fi, then you can later watch these recommended vids without having to worry about burning through your data limit. The only downside is that Smart Downloads will likely eat into your phone’s storage space – so we’d recommend only turning it on if you have the gigabytes to spare.
Last but not least, YouTube recently added new watch-together features, so you and your friends can enjoy a video at the same time no matter where in the world you all are. On Android, this is done through Meet Live Sharing, which allows a Premium subscriber to set up a Google Meet session where people they invite can watch YouTube videos together – and best of all, you don’t need Premium to join the session, only to set it up. In the coming weeks, a similar tool should be coming to FaceTime on iOS too.
Not convinced by these YouTube Premium upgrades? Check out our picks for the best streaming service to find video content that’s the best fit for you.