Do you hate the new YouTube screensavers on Apple TV? Here's how to turn off this annoying feature

YouTube ariel screensaver feature on Apple TV
(Image credit: Joe Steel)

YouTube recently brought out a new update to its Apple TV app which replaces the pause screen with terrible photos, requiring some extra button presses to get back to the video you were watching.

Imagine the scene — you’re on a lunch break, and you decide to watch a Shark Tank or Masterchef clip on YouTube. You need to take the dog out, so you pause it. Normally, you’d expect to go back and press Play on the Siri Remote. Instead, you’re now greeted with a landscape of badly compressed images — your impressive TV is suddenly wasted on those low-quality pictures. Sounds annoying doesn’t it?

Furthermore, the Back button has to be pressed on the Remote twice to make the current video appear again — which makes this feature even more annoying. It doesn’t stop there though. You can’t change when these images will appear — so you’re trapped with a four-minute time limit before the screensaver kicks in.

Worse still, this update also overrides the high-quality Apple TV screensavers if you stay in the YouTube app, even if you’re not playing a video. It’s a bizarre addition that doesn’t help the user experience at all. Fortunately, there’s a temporary fix to make sure you’re not greeted with pixelated landscapes — but we’re hoping that YouTube brings out another update soon that disables this fully.

How to get rid of pixelated landscapes and bring back the pause screen

Although there are no settings in the YouTube app to get rid of this new feature, there is another way and it works on all the best Apple TVs.

  1. Open Settings on the Apple TV home screen
  2. Select General, then Screensaver
  3. Choose Start After, then 2 minutes

This way, Apple’s stunning screensavers appear before YouTube’s terrible alternative when you pause a video. It’s a relief, but it’d be great to see a further update from Google’s video app to disable its screensaver feature completely. 

For now, it’s a bad user experience, and we hope YouTube reverses course on this pixelated screensaver feature soon.

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 everyday 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. 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.