YouTube’s war against ad blockers just hit a new level — this time blocking third-party apps

It’s no secret that YouTube has been cracking down on ad blockers for a while. It’s all being done in an attempt to have users to either accept commercials or to subscribe to YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience. Now it seems YouTube has moved towards fighting people who watch videos on third-party apps that block ads.

YouTube announced this change on Monday, noting that it would be “strengthening [its] enforcement” against apps that violate the terms of service. Specifically, it’s going after the apps that block ads, and deprive YouTube and the platform’s creators of ad revenue. According to YouTube, anyone using these apps may be met with excess buffering or an error message declaring that “the following content is not available on this app."

“We only allow third-party apps to use our API when they follow our API Services Terms of Service,” YouTube said in the announcement. “When we find an app that violates these terms, we will take appropriate action to protect our platform, creators, and viewers.”

The Verge notes that this move seems to be targeting mobile ad blockers that let you open YouTube within the app. This blocks ads and lets you enjoy YouTube content without commercials interrupting whatever you’re watching. No doubt it will also be targeting any third-party YouTube clients that offer a similar experience to the official app but block all the advertising.

YouTube has really ramped up its war against ad blockers over the last six months. Not only has it pushed its ad blocking crackdown to users across the world, it’s also implemented some irritating tactics to push you away from ad-blockers — like adding 5 second delays to all videos.

Of course, the best ad blockers have been finding ways around YouTube’s hurdles. Odds are you may not have noticed more than a minor disruption to your YouTube streaming each time YouTube pushes out a new anti-ad-blocking initiative. I have no doubt that this will end up as a cat-and-mouse game of YouTube and ad blockers constantly trying to outdo each other.

Whether YouTube will actually succeed in driving ad blockers to the fringes of YouTube browsing isn’t clear. But I know that fewer people would insist on using them if the platform’s ads weren’t so painfully bad that it almost feels like a deliberate attempt to get people to subscribe to YouTube Premium.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.