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YouTube to add offline viewing to mobile apps in November

YouTube Android app

Commuters rejoice: YouTube will update its mobile apps to support real offline viewing in November

Great news for anyone with a long morning commute: YouTube has announced that its iOS and Android mobile apps will be updated in November to support true offline playback.

The announcement, which was posted to the YouTube creator blog overnight, revealed that users will be able to add videos to their smartphone or tablet “to watch for a short period when an Internet connection is unavailable” – whether this means minutes or hours is currently unknown, but hopefully it will be long enough to get us through our London Underground journey every morning.

YouTube already supports pre-cached playback, as long as you are online when you start watching a particular video, but the upcoming update could potentially forego the need to authenticate a device before playback can begin.

The upcoming update will follow last month’s major UI update, which added picture-in-picture playback to both iOS and Android for the first time. Now users can start playing one video then start looking for another, without pausing or stopping playback. Better playlist support was also added, letting you queue up videos and play them in order, rather than manually one at a time.

This feature, combined with offline playback, could have major ramifications for music streaming services like Spotify, as users could load their device with music videos and enjoy them for free, rather than shell out £10 a month for streaming subscriptions.

No official date has been set for the update, which is only pencilled in for November. We expect to learn more in the coming months, as YouTube nails down exactly how offline playback will work.

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