YouTube on iPhone: Safari app against YouTube

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The YouTube experience on the iPhone is slightly different between the Safari browser and the official YouTube app. Here’s what’s different, plus the pros and cons.

There are two distinct ways to watch YouTube content on an iPhone. You can do this through a browser like Safarior via the dedicated YouTube application.

Both methods shared the same controls and general interface layout, with the Like/Dislike, Share, Save, and Report buttons all located in exactly the same way. Channel information, as well as comments and video suggestions, are also identical.

YouTube through Safari

YouTube in Safari supports full-screen portrait view for all videos, while the app will force the player into landscape mode. The iOS system player is used for playback and all of its swipe gestures apply.

The browser also allows the video to play in the background via a workaround with the iOS Control Center. Although it’s available through the app, it’s locked behind a YouTube Premium subscription.

Finally, the video resolution selector is not hidden behind a second layer like in the app. It can be accessed directly behind the gear icon when the video is playing.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t support picture-in-picture, has fewer features, and is generally less fluid than the app.

The official YouTube app

The official YouTube app offers the video swipe gesture by double-tapping for easy skipping forward and backward from a video. While scrolling, the timeline displays a graph of the most popular sections and video chapter options.

The playback screen is also more functional, with additional buttons and one-click video suggestions. The portrait view enabled items, like the comments section and the playlist, will also display alongside the video in full-screen landscape mode.

There are also many more settings open to the user in the app, such as dark mode support. Picture-in-Picture is also an exclusive app and is available to all US and international users with a Premium subscription.

Other premium features include a dedicated simplified playback controller, the ability to download videos for later viewing, background playback, and ad-free viewing.

The app’s quality selector, however, is hidden behind a menu. Another flaw is that it does not use the native iOS video player.

In summary, both options are incredibly well-equipped and suitable for regular video watching and content consumption.

However, use the app if you are looking for the ultimate experience with all the options at your fingertips. The Safari version excels in general-purpose use cases where you want videos to work natively with iOS controls without a premium subscription.

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