YouTube just got a great upgrade that will stop accidental taps

YouTube logo on an iPhone screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There's a regular annoyance that happens when people routinely watch YouTube on their smartphone. A stray swipe or tap and you’ve accidentally jumped ahead in the clip, or — even worse — opened a whole new video prematurely. 

It’s a problem that’s unique to touchscreen devices, and while our thirst for larger and larger screens has helped curb it, it’s still a reasonably common occurrence. But it looks like YouTube is set on fixing the problem soon, if a new test feature is widely rolled out in the future.

On YouTube Labs, the Alphabet-owned company is testing something for Premium subscribers called “Lock Screen”. This is similar to a feature that the Netflix app introduced back in 2020, which lets subscribers’ phones ignore touches until instructed otherwise.

“Lock Screen disables touch input while watching a video so that accidental taps do not pause, skip or disrupt the video,” YouTube writes.

A GIF explaining YouTube's Lock Screen feature.

(Image credit: YouTube)

To use the feature, users first have to select “Lock Screen” via the gear icon on their video in full-screen mode. After this, touching the phone will flash up a padlock icon rather than letting you interact with the scrubber or other buttons. Tapping this will turn off the feature, restoring full control.

The feature is available for both iOS and Android devices to select subscribers, YouTube says. If you’re eligible to test it, it’ll be available to use until Sunday, July 30.

This isn’t the only test YouTube is running at the moment, but it will be considerably more welcome to users than the crackdown on ad blockers

A week ago, users running ad-blockers noticed that they were getting a three-strikes warning, demanding they disable the software or lose access to YouTube.

“It looks like you may be using an ad blocker,” the notice reads. “Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled,” it adds, before suggesting that those who find adverts an anathema subscribe to YouTube Premium, which removes them while providing additional perks for $11.99 a month.

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.