TECH REVIEW

YouTube’s mobile apps get new video resolution settings

YouTube has started rolling out new video resolution settings for its Android and iOS apps. Until now, YouTube presented a list of resolutions for video playback along with an Auto option, which allowed the app to automatically adjust the video quality depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

Old video quality settings Old video quality settings
Old video quality settings

But now, under the Quality menu of the video, you see a total of only four options – Auto, Higher picture quality, Data saver, and Advanced. Auto continues to work like before, while the Higher picture quality setting uses more data for a better quality stream. In our experience, it capped the streaming to 720p even on a high-speed Wi-Fi connection.

New video quality settings New video quality settings
New video quality settings

Data saver, on the other hand, consumes less data and should reduce the resolution to 480p, but in our case, the app continued streaming in 720p, so we believe that even if you choose the Data saver option, the app will continue video playback in a higher resolution if your Internet connection is fast enough.

Data saver kept streaming in 720p resolution Data saver kept streaming in 720p resolution
Data saver kept streaming in 720p resolution

The Advanced menu is where you’ll find the list of video resolutions for playback. But, it’s worth noting that the changes you make only apply to the current video, although you do have the option to set default video quality for all videos by heading to the Settings > Video quality preferences menu. You can set defaults for both mobile networks and Wi-Fi.

However, you can’t set a specific resolution as a default for all videos since the Advanced option isn’t available under the Video quality preferences menu.

Advanced menu lists all resolutions You can set video quality defaults separately for mobile networks and Wi-Fi
Advanced menu lists all resolutions • You can set video quality defaults separately for mobile networks and Wi-Fi

We don’t really like the new settings since they introduce an extra step to change the video resolution, but we believe YouTube wants to make data saving easier for those who don’t understand the video resolutions.

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The new settings are enabled through a server-side switch, so updating your app to the latest version is no guarantee you’ll get the new options. But it shouldn’t be too long before YouTube completes the rollout.

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