YouTube quietly disables dreadful Apple TV screensaver feature that shouldn't have been there in the first place

Apple TV Screensaver option in Settings
(Image credit: Future)

YouTube has quietly switched off a terrible Apple TV screensaver feature that would stop Apple’s own screensavers from playing.

At the beginning of May, YouTube updated its Apple TV app with a new feature that replaced the pause screen with terrible, pixelated photos. This change required users to press extra buttons on Apple’s Siri Remote to return to their videos. Now though, blogger Joe Steel has discovered that YouTube has disabled this feature, restoring the previous pause behavior. This change isn’t the type of update that was released through the App Store — instead, it looks to be a server-side update. This means that YouTube essentially sent an updated command to its Apple TV app so it could stop playing its screensavers automatically.

This change also seems to have been applied to versions of the app available on Smart TVs. iMore’s How To Editor, John-Anthony Disotto, noticed this change had been made to the YouTube app on his TV as well.

It’s a welcome fix to a feature no one asked for. Once again, you can now resume where you left off on all the best Apple TVs. In addition, you can make sure that Apple’s screensavers will now display when you want them to, thanks to the server-side change that removes the four-minute time limit before the YouTube screensaver would play.

The three best Apple TV screensavers you can choose right now

To celebrate YouTube’s reversal of its terrible screensaver feature, we wanted to showcase a couple of Apple’s own excellent screensavers that you can use on your Apple TV.

The flyover of Yosemite’s National Park in California is an amazing screensaver that you’ll find yourself captivated by — especially if you’re watching it on something like this Samsung 83-inch OLED TV. Another mesmerizing screensaver shows the light of Alaskan Jellyfish. The pulsating movement of the creatures is almost hypnotic, especially if you have a backlight accessory on your TV that reacts to the jellyfish moving across the screen.

Finally, a screensaver called ‘Hawaiian Valley Serenity’ is exactly as described. The blooming greenery, coupled with the flyover slowly bringing the ocean into view almost makes you feel like you’re slowly gliding between the hills.

It was baffling when YouTube introduced a feature that blocked Apple’s screensavers at the start of the month. Now though, you can enjoy them without worrying about YouTube’s pixelated alternative appearing on your Apple TV.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.