YouTube Premium is YouTube's paid offering that gives you access to features like an ad-free video experience, video downloads for offline viewing, and access to original content made specifically for YouTube Premium. This all comes with a fee of $11.99 per month. Since that's a hefty increase from the nothing that you pay for standard YouTube, then you might be wondering: are the bells and whistles of YouTube Premium worth the price?
Here we'll go through what YouTube Premium offers over the standard YouTube features, and whether that's all worth the price.
What you get with YouTube Premium
If you decide to plunk down the $11.99 a month for YouTube Premium, you're actually getting a lot. Not only will all of the videos that you watch be ad-free (mostly), you'll also be able to download videos for viewing offline, a great feature if you often like to watch videos in places with spotty internet connections.
Here's everything you get with a YouTube Premium subscription:
- Ad-free videos - When watching videos on YouTube, you'll no longer see any YouTube-injected advertisements in the videos. This means that any sponsorship reads by content creators will still be in videos, as YouTube has no control over those. These ad-free benefits extend to the YouTube Kids app, too.
- Video downloads - You can download any video on YouTube for offline viewing. Download quality options are limited, but you can download videos both from YouTube on the web and in the apps for phones and tablets, and videos that you download will be stored on your device for 30 days.
- Background play - When using the YouTube app on, for instance, iPhone and iPad, sound from your video will continue playing while the app is running in the background. Personally, this is great for me because I often find myself accidentally hitting the Home button on my iPad, where a lot of my YouTube consumption happens.
- YouTube Originals - This is a slate of members-only original programming produced by YouTube, such as the new series Cobra Kai.
YouTube Premium subscribers also get full access to the Premium tier of YouTube Music, Google's revamped music streaming service. This service is different from the previous iteration of YouTube Music, and functions more like a streaming service such as Spotify or Apple Music. The premium version includes ad-free music, background listening, and downloads for offline listening.
Why you might not want to pay
The obvious reason not to pay for YouTube Premium is this: most of the content available on YouTube is ready to watch for free. Maybe you don't mind ads. Maybe offline downloads and YouTube Music Premium have no appeal for you. In that case, feel good keeping that $11.99 in your pocket.
But the biggest factor in whether or not you should pay for YouTube Premium is what kind of YouTube user you are. If YouTube is one of your primary sources of entertainment, then you should seriously consider it. However, if you're a more casual user, just heading to YouTube to watch an interesting video someone sent you, or just looking for a way to pass time now and again, for instance, then maybe Premium isn't for you.
Should you pay for YouTube Premium?
Whether or not YouTube Premium is worth the cost of admission for you is going to depend on some things. First, can you afford to pay $11.99 per month for the service, especially when you can get its primary content slate for free? Second, when you look at what YouTube Premium has to offer, do you think those features are worth it? Do you care about not seeing ads or the ability to download videos? Do you already subscribe to a music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music? These are questions you should ask yourself when considering a YouTube Premium subscription.
Personally, I say yes, you should sign up for YouTube Premium. In particular, YouTube Premium is great if you head over to YouTube to watch specific channels or find specific content often. But for me, someone who uses multiple devices to watch YouTube over the course of a given day, going ad-free and offline downloads are enough to justify the price. I've also found background play particularly helpful (especially because the YouTube app still doesn't support picture-in-picture on iPad in 2018).
How do you sign up for YouTube Premium?
To sign up for YouTube Premium, just head to youtube.com/red.
If you've got any more questions about YouTube Premium, let us know in the comments.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.