YouTube’s latest update to its smartphone app might not have the lengthiest changelog you will ever see, but the changes are pretty big nonetheless. In addition to getting a new icon on both platforms, the app is now capable of letting you navigate your account without stopping video playback. This means that the YouTube app finally lets you minimize videos, so that searching and browsing different areas of the service becomes possible. The miniaturized version of videos is reminiscent of the VideoPane tweak we covered earlier this month. Of course, the playback stops if you exit the app, but within YouTube, you can do anything you want without risking interruptions. The Android variant of the app has undergone several design improvements, while the long-awaited continuous playback option has been added to playlists as well. To top things off, the app now has a new logo.
The thing that has always made me access YouTube from a web browser, rather than its app, was the app’s inability to multitask. You had to stop a video and move away from its page every time you needed to search for a new video, and you couldn’t just open a new tab in the app. The problem has finally been solved by the rather clever ‘picture-in-picture’ mode in YouTube. While watching a video, simply hit the arrow icon located in its top-left corner, or drag the video frame downwards. This reveals the page you were previously on, and from there, it is possible to go anywhere within the app. Any time a new video is picked, the minimized one is closed automatically. To manually make the docked video go away, swipe it to the left of the screen.
The Android app has received a major design overhaul, featuring a really slick card-based UI built according to Google’s latest design philosophy. Up until now, a great hindering factor for users of the YouTube app was the lack of continuous playback for playlists. There are even separate services aimed at providing users with just this functionality, which shows the importance playlists have in the whole YouTube experience. At long last, you can really enjoy playlists on your iPhone or Android, thanks to the ‘Play All’ button added to each playlist on the service. Even during playback, it is pretty easy to switch between videos by hitting the arrows at each end of the player, or via the menu that shows up when the you hit the list button. Also, for both platforms, you can now search for playlists as well, in addition to videos.
The YouTube update has been rolled out simultaneously on iOS and Android, so go ahead and grab the amazing new app by heading to the link below.