YouTube App Feature to Allow Offline Video Viewing

YouTube plans to unroll a new mobile app feature that would enable offline video viewing, the site announced on its blog today.

The announced feature, set to launch in November across all YouTube mobile apps, will let people store videos in the phone's memory cache, or temporary data storage. The videos can then be watched for up to 48 hours, whether or not you have an Internet connection.
You'll still need an Internet connection to store the videos in the first place, however.

Plenty of third-party apps and websites currently let people download YouTube videos for later viewing. However, such services are against YouTube's terms of service agreement, which currently forbids downloading its videos.

It remains to be seen whether YouTube will now alter its terms of service to account for the fact that it's allowing users to temporarily download its videos.

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YouTube did unroll an Android-only feature back in June 2012 wherein the app would begin downloading recommended videos based on your viewing preferences while you were connected to the Internet.

As long as you pressed "play" while you were still connected to the Internet, you could then watch those videos from your phone's cache without an Internet connection.

The forthcoming update will be available across YouTube's mobile apps, including Android, iOS and Windows. Tablets such as Nook and Kindle also run on a modified version of the Android operating system and will be able to get the upgrade as well.

On its blog, YouTube said that video creators will be able to choose whether or not they want to let viewers cache their videos for offline viewing.

This feature is potentially life-changing. After all, how could morning subway commutes possibly be bad when everyone in the car is watching cute corgi videos on their phones?

Email or follow her @JillScharr. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects. 

  • John Bauer
    Spread the word
  • DelightfulDucklings
    My bus rides might get 10 times better
  • s997863
    Youtube videos played on IE used to be entirely cached in your windows temp-file folder & you could just copy em from there permanently.

    I always kept offline vidoes to avoid wasting bandwitdth, but youtube wants you to reload again & again for each viewing so they'll get more adviews, and make it impossible to download. Whenever a downloading software/plugin comes along, they work around it. Anyone really beleive that this "dash" video segmenting idiocy is more efficient? they just want more adviews.

    Remember long back when there were no ads in youtube? Youtube/Google invested a lot of time/money giving us "free" service for years until the masses became so dependent on it and couldn't let go after they added annoying video-ads, viedeo-ads in the middle of streaming videos ... etc, and who knows what else lies ahead. (maybe like tv, we'll get longer & more ads per video, & a paid version of ad-free "cable-youtube")
  • hitman40
    It would be great, and only if Google listened to the thousands of reviews, especially on Apple's App Store, about people asking them to let them choose video quality. At least when Apple used their own youtube app for iPhones, they let people choose standard or HQ quality. Ever since Google came in, I've only noticed two things happen to their newly bought Youtube app: ads, no option for video quality, and multi-tasking (new feature) that still doesn't let you turn off the screen and continue to play content!!!
  • jerrspud
    "You'll still need an Internet connection to store the videos in the first place, however"
    Who writes this stuff?
  • fedelm
    @John Bauer

    Wow...that's exactly the extension my Firefox needed. Thanks a lot.