NewPipe is an open source YouTube application for Android that has all the features that the official YouTube application does not support, or only offers when you pay for it.
The official YouTube application is preloaded on most Android devices. Many users find it barely useable, as Google is limiting its capabilities on purpose. It lacks background playback, downloads, shows lots of advertisement, and is quite annoying in other regards as well.
Users who subscribe get some of these features back, but there are better alternatives out there. One of these is NewPipe.
I mentioned NewPipe briefly in How to deal with Google’s and YouTube’s aggressive popups (before you continue, sign in), which I published in 2020.
You can download the application from the developer site or from F-Droid. Note that you need to enable the installation of applications from unknown sources on the Android devices to do so.
NewPipe displays content using the system’s language and region by default, but you can change these parameters in the settings easily. Select Menu > Settings > Content, and switch the preferences app language, default content language, and default content country there.
You may browse trending videos or use the built-in search. NewsPipe does not use proprietary Google APIs and sends the bare minimum that is required for its functionality.
Tap on a video to start its playback on the device. The video plays immediately, there are no ads. NewPipe offers all the features that you expect, and more. You see comments below the video, may play the video in fullscreen mode, and add it to a playlist.
Other features include changing the quality of the stream, enabling background playback and downloading the video to the local system for offline access. Background playback happens with a single tap. You may then hide the NewPipe app on the device without losing the playback of the stream.
Downloads work equally well. Just select the download button, select whether you want to download the video, only audio or only captions, and pick a quality. NewPipe displays the size of the download automatically in the download dialog. You are asked to pick a download folder the first time you use the download feature.
The app supports a pop-up player, which plays the video in an overlay on the screen while you may use different apps on the device. It works similarly to picture in picture modes of web browsers.
Another handy feature of NewPipe is the ability to subscribe to channels, without signing in to a Google account. Just hit the subscribe button to add a channel to the subscriptions to create a custom feed and get quick access to subscribed channels. The bookmarking feature goes hand in hand with this. Create your own playlists or import them, to play an endless stream of content on the device whenever you want to.
The Settings are extensive and offer everything you could possibly want, and more. You may turn off comments, and the showing of “next” or “similar” videos, configure notifications in detail, disable the watch history, change the application’s appearance, or set default resolutions and formats for video and audio content.
NewPipe, and the previously reviewed Skytube app, are niche apps that add lots of usability features to the YouTube viewing experience on Android that the official YouTube application does not support.
Now You: which apps or browsers do you use to watch content on YouTube?
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