YouTube for iPhone review

Apple recently removed the official built-in YouTube app from iOS 6 and just as we expected, Google has fired back by releasing their own version of YouTube for iPhone into the App Store -- and it's so much better than the original version provided by Apple.

YouTube for iPhone features a left sidebar where you can access your channel, the channels you're subscribed to, and all the YouTube generated feeds including Popular and category-specific streams. Each feed has a very clean, image heavy look. The videos are displayed with a still from the video with its length in a little black box in the lower right corner and labeled by the title of the video, the channel name, and the number of views the video has received.

When you select a video to watch, you'll be taken to the video page and it will immediately start playing at the top of the screen. To switch to full-screen, simply rotate to landscape orientation. If you tap on the video, two toolbars will appear: one on top and one on bottom. From these bars you can give the video a thumbs up/down, play and pause, switch to (or out of) fullscreen, or share with AirPlay. You can also add the video to Watch Later, Favorites, a Playlist, or flag it. Lastly, each video can be shared to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Message, or Clipboard.

In portrait mode, you'll see three tabs below the video: Now Playing, Suggested, and Comments. The Now Playing section shows the description of the video, the number of views, likes and dislikes, and the ability to subscribe to the user (if you aren't already). The Suggested tab shows a feed of videos that YouTube recommends based on the current video you are watching, and the Comments tab is where you go to read and leave comments. Unfortunately, you cannot reply to specific comments, nor can you give them a thumbs up/down.

One thing that is notably missing from YouTube for iPhone is the ability to upload videos to your account. This is actually rather surprising to me, but as far as we know, Apple has not removed the ability to share videos from your Camera Roll to YouTube, so that's at least good news. Still, it would be great for YouTube to include the functionality in their app because they may be able to include a better interface with more options.

As of right now, YouTube is only available natively on the iPhone, but hopefully Google makes it a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad soon.

The good

  • Great UI
  • View home feed or stream for any channel
  • View YouTube generated feeds include Popular and all the categories
  • Leave comments
  • See suggested/related videos to the video you're currently watching
  • Subscribe to channels
  • Share to to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Message, or Clipboard
  • Add videos to Watch Later, Favorites, a Playlist, or Flag
  • Voice search
  • AirPlay support

The bad

  • Can't upload videos
  • Can't log into multiple accounts
  • Can't rate comments with a thumbs up/down
  • Can't reply to specific comments
  • Not universal for the iPhone and iPad

The bottom line

The new YouTube for iPhone app is an excellent replacement to the outdated app Apple originally restricted iPhone users to. Many users were outraged when the news hit that the YouTube app was removed, but this move has proven to be much better for users -- and kudos to Google to making YouTube available in the App Store before iOS 6 is even available to the general public.

Free - Download Now

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at iosapps@imore.com

More Posts

 

21
loading...
0
loading...
81
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

Could Apple offer iTunes affiliate revenue to carriers as a subsidy for LTE data plans?

Next up →

Apple iPhone 5 event coverage

There are 13 comments. Add yours.

takenpictures says:

You can use thumbs up/down to rate videos. The option is at the top of the video playback screen along with the share button.

Leanna Lofte says:

That's exactly what I said...

If you tap on the video, two toolbars will appear: one on top and one on bottom. From these bars you can give the video a thumbs up/down, play and pause, switch to (or out of) fullscreen, or share with AirPlay. You can also add the video to Watch Later, Favorites, a Playlist, or flag it. Lastly, each video can be shared to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Message, or Clipboard

What I did say is that you can't give comments a thumbs up/down.

stoney05 says:

Wifi is required to view HQ videos still .. Boo

fightcrazy says:

Wifi is not needed on my SGS3. You can use YouTube on descent connection on any Android device. Why do you require wifi? I use the HD videos on my phone over HSPA. It must be An I-Phone policy. Would like to see Apple come up with a complete different look on their new phone.

rotembk says:

One super important (at least for me) feature, or rather the lack thereof, which the article doesn't consider, is the the ability to continue playing a clip after existing the app or with the screen turned off.

In the current app you can do that by calling the play controls -- either through the quick app switching bar or by double clicking the home button when the screen is turned off. In the new app, however, unless I'm missing something (in which case I'd be happy if someone pointed it out), there's no way to do that.

I recognize that this may be an intentional choice on the part of Google rather than an oversight, but if so, I find it to be a very unfortunate one.

Jellotime91 says:

It's not an intentional choice, but it's a result of them using their own video framework rather than the built-in iOS video.

I will miss that feature, too. I am busy so I often listen to videos rather than watching them, and that feature saved me battery life and made things a little easier while commuting...

mkalbouneh says:

The videos are buffering slower for me compared to m.youtube.com
Anyone else?

M4c0770 says:

^
Very true. m.youtube is way faster, anyways this YT app is better than the ios one.

kayno says:

How is it an excellent replacement if you cant upload videos?

slalomskie says:

What was wrong with just using the web youtube and adding it to your home screen? You can play HQ videos from that site over cell service.

Jellotime91 says:

Great review Leanna!

Some things to note for the YouTube power user:

- Videos can not go full-screen, meaning if it's 16:9 or 4:3 (pretty much the only 2 orientations you find on YouTube) it will never fill the screen. You also can't watch portrait videos in portrait mode unless you want to hold the phone right up to your face.

- You can't listen to the audio from the app when you leave it. YouTube for iOS has enjoyed this hidden feature for almost 2 years now and I'm personally annoyed to see that I can no longer do this on iOS 6 (unless I use the web app, which blows).

Overall, it's an ok app. It's better than the facebook app, at least. Lacking a volume control on the video player is a little irksome, though.

dano22 says:

Am I CAAAARAZY or can you not see private videos on this app or the iOS app? My family shares videos with each other but we mark them as private on Youtube...