Google has started rolling out a staged YouTube for Android update, and it's probably the biggest redesign the app has seen yet. We've gotten a hold of the APK with exact version 5.0.21 (the previous version is 4.5.17), and after playing with it for about 30 minutes so far, I can definitively say that it's hugely improved.

The biggest new features I've spotted so far are:

  • A brand new card-based UI - the app looks better than ever before. It's like Matias Duarte has reached down from the sky and graced it with his magic touch.
  • Previously rumored in-app multitasking that's nothing like we've ever seen before. It really has to be experienced in person, but basically you can make any video you're watching turn into a small window on the bottom right by swiping it down, pressing the down arrow in the top left corner, or simply pressing the Back button.
    • You can then navigate the app while the video is playing.
    • You bring it back up by dragging or tapping the small window and dismiss it by swiping it sideways.
    • The really slick part here is that as you start sliding sideways, the sound volume starts to fade. This is some top-notch UX here.
    • Interestingly, the swipe-down gesture works only in portrait mode on phones. On tablets, it's available in both orientations.
  • The slide-out navigation has been reworked with the latest hamburger-style guidelines in mind.
  • Quick access to history, favorites, playlists, uploads, and watch later right in the slide-out menu.
  • You can now search for playlists.
  • You no longer need to tap the down arrow on the video page to give thumbs up, thumbs down, or flag.
  • The HD and CC toggles have moved from the bottom left edge of the video to the menu.
  • The G+ +1 Recommend button seems to be gone from videos.
  • Update #1: A brand new app icon.
  • Update #2: The landscape UI on 7" tablets is now no longer just full-screen like it is on phones. Say hello to a fully-functional landscape tablet UI.
  • Update #3: At last, YouTube now honors the global auto-rotate setting and doesn't flip to landscape if auto-rotate is off. However, there's now a button in the bottom right corner of the video to force the landscape full-screen mode if you want it. I think it's the ideal solution to this previously controversial situation.
  • Update #4: The TV Queue UI got updated as well.

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-09-47 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-10-03 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-11-59


wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-13-39 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-15-56 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-16-06

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-35-08 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-40-37 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-32-32

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-59-16 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-13-59-23

Left: old icon; Right: new icon


Tablets get a fully-functional landscape UI that can go full-screen rather than just full-screen or nothing

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-15-10-36 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-15-10-25 wm_Screenshot_2013-08-19-15-10-07

Left: old TV Queue UI; Middle, Right: new TV Queue UI

Unfortunately, the rumored background audio is still MIA, so you can't leave the app or turn the screen off and have the audio keep playing. Still, v5 is a big step in the right direction.

There are probably other improvements - we'll be updating the post as we run into them.

Once again, the update is being rolled out slowly, so you may need to wait until Google decides it's your place in line. Alternatively, we'll be providing mirrors of the APK shortly, so don't walk away too far.

Update: Download away.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • 1wwtom .

    It Stinks on Phones! On my HTC One, I get all the titles or sometimes every other title
    of the videos "Blued" out and can't get rid of it. maybe I'm a Ham
    Handed scroller with my thumbs but it's a Pain! Get Rid of it!

  • Ugslick

    I love the new interface for the app.. my only complaint is that theres no 'copy url' in the menu.. you need to click on share (which causes the video to pause) and then click on copy url... other than that it's AMAZING!!! Love it.

  • Dave

    18 days ago someone else asked but got no answer. I need an answer to same question. Why can't I delete watch history? Tried through both the app manager & menu in app. Neither works. Help

  • David Smith II

    How do I disable that stupid floating window? It is the most irritating thing I have ever encountered.

  • helpguy

    Install "google drive" then go under share and you can copy youtube URLs!:)

  • Fairuse

    So yesterday my mobile version Android LG Optimus p999 wont display my subscription list. I swipe to see the menu, tap "Subscriptions" and it goes to What to Watch. I want to SEE my Sub list.

  • daniellekhan123

    Finally wrked out a way of copyin url as nuffin was cumin up like copy to clipboard...so i click share via messaging n then in msg cums up wit url lol im prob the last person to figure it out bt will share me info jst incase hehe :-D

  • Ayaq SejUk

    Where URL video

  • Ayaq SejUk

    I can't found URL video..pleZ tell me how to find it??