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Upcoming YouTube offline playback update explained

Tom Morgan
20 Sep 2013
YouTube offline playback
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YouTube has revealed more details regarding a planned offline playback update for its mobile apps, which is due to arrive in November

YouTube has gone into more detail regarding a planned offline playback update for its iOS and Android mobile apps, which will let smartphone and tablet owners watch videos without an internet connection.

According to an internal memo, leaked to AllThingsD, the update will be switched on by default, putting an "add to device" function on videos and playlists. When an internet connection is unavailable, users will still be able to watch any videos added to their device for up to 48 hours. Once the device has been offline for longer than two days, videos will refuse to play until it reconnects.

Google in-stream adverts will still run on videos that include them, and video views will be added to the total view count when the device reconnects to the internet. Other types of advert won't be supported, and videos bought or rented through YouTube won't be available either.

All video content will be enabled for offline playback by default, but content creators will have the ability to disable it if they choose, based on partner, video or country. We're expecting this particular function was designed to appease the music industry, as free offline music playback could prove a serious threat to the likes of Spotify. Although it wasn't mentioned in the leaked memo, a subscription service isn't out of the realms of possibility.

We're still no closer to learning when the update will be landing, on either Android or iOS, but expect further details closer to the vague November window mentioned in the original YouTube blog post.