Last month YouTube announced that they were going to introduce an offline viewing option to their mobile apps sometime in November. They've since rolled out details about how it's going to work. If you add videos to your device and then disconnect it from the Internet, you will be able to watch the content for up to 48 hours. After those two days have passed, you will have to reconnect in order to watch the videos again, but the 48 hour window will refresh, and the content will remain on your device.

Offline videos and playlists will be stored under an "on device" section of the YouTube sidebar, and you can add more content from the watch page of whatever you're viewing. Unfortunately we don't have screenshots to share, as the updated version of the YouTube app is still scheduled for a November debut. In the meantime, here's a video of a cat playing with a goat.

Source: YouTube via Gizmodo

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • edzuslv

    fuck offline, give me background playing.

    • inzandity

      I'm actually excited for offline. Will be nice to queue up a few videos to watch in the airport before getting on a flight.

    • mapsnetman

      will not happen for a very long time..... imagine music industry freaking out

    • Milton P.

      I never understood the need for background playing, some people say that they want to listen music that way, pointless, at least for me. I believe Spotify or Google Music All Access will be more data friendly for it, nevertheless, offline playing is more useful for me as my daily commute involves going underground for at least one hour, if they give us the option I can now watch podcasts instead of just listen to the audio, is more appealing to me.

      • selonmoi

        I frequently watch interviews on YouTube, and find myself wanting to flip to another app, while continuing to listen in the background.

        Also, not every piece of music on YouTube is available on Spotify or All Access. And those services aren't available everywhere in the world.

        • Milton P.

          That's a good point, we all have different ways of consuming media, I guess it could be cool if we have the option, I don't need it but you would, there is no such thing as to much options =).

        • pfmiller

          And when I listen to interviews on YouTube, I often want to be able to put my phone in my pocket while I'm walking. It rarely even watch music videos on YouTube, and when I do I typically do actually watch them. The music industry is run by a bunch of idiots, they need to stop getting their way and holding back the rest of the world.

      • ginobili

        Spotify and Google Music isn't avalaible everywhere.

        • Milton P.

          I understand that and it is a valid point, but I guess there's better options to find music, but again, if it is good for you it will be for more people, the thing is that is very hard to have more options if we still need to deal with those old cigar smokers in charge of the music industry, so sad.

          • gtg465x

            I watch a lot of reviews and news videos that are only available on YouTube. A lot of times, I would like to listen to just the audio in the background as I do something else and then flip to the video when I hear something interesting.

      • Zieen

        While I agree on the bandwidth (and subsequently battery) issues with using YouTube as an audio player, there is A LOT of music available on YouTube that is otherwise unavailable on streaming services. To a lesser extent, there are a fair amount of high quality independent artists uploading amazing covers with no other outlet.

    • epsiblivion

      check out floating youtube player. search a video on youtube, press share to floating youtube, turn off screen, keeps playing

      • Charlie Val


        • ChainsawCharlie


      • David Hart

        Just download the app uListen, It does exactly what everyone wants.

        • SickoPsycho

          Awesome just snagged it. Thanks!

    • ash

      Viral does the job for background play, pop-up window, reply to comments, you name it


    • squiddy20

      Or even the ability to turn off your display, and have it keep playing. That would be at least some improvement.

    • blahmoomoo

      Or even allow me to navigate away from the app without emptying the cache immediately. I would be happy with just that.

  • ginobili

    One thing that could be nice is they let you play these "offline videos" even if you're online. Why? Because some people have a limit for data and watching videos kills it and would be very annoying to disable data everytime that i want to see those offline videos.

    • miri

      Probably works something like a 2-day movie rental.

  • SJPadbury

    So more to the point, if I never disconnect from the internet, I can just download the video my kid wants to watch over and over again, and not have to use data each time she watches it?

  • http://www.hacktabs.com/ Anoop Sudhakaran

    I am still confused as to how it works, (even after reading Google's FAQ). Here are some of the questions.

    1. Will it download the Videos to the device when connected to WiFi or on both Mobile Data and WiFi?
    2. Will it save the videos to SD Card and later delete it when the 48 hour time period is over?
    3. When offline, You have to view the videos through YouTube App or we can use other Apps like MXplayer or default video player to view the videos?
    4. Can you queue the "Add to device" from web interface or you have to do it from the YouTube App itself?

    Thanks for the timely update!

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      Here are my assumptions -
      1. Wifi / data both should work and there will be an option in settings to "pin videos for offline viewing only when on wifi".
      2. Nope. No sdcard. In fact, I believe you won't be locate the files anywhere on your device using file explorers.
      3. YouTube app ONLY will have access to these.
      4. Again, YouTube app only.

      Think of this as Google Play Music's "Pin" feature. Like music there, here you'll be able to 'pin' videos for offline viewing; but only YouTube app will have access to it.

      • http://www.hacktabs.com/ Anoop Sudhakaran

        Insightful! :)

  • pfmiller

    How is this any different from the preloaded video feature they've had forever? Now you can arbitrarily download videos without having to add them to the "Watch Later" queue? Do the preloaded videos still work without having to be reloaded every 2 days?

    • miri

      Pre-loading still required a connection, cached videos at random, spammed you with notifications for only watching the few that interested you and asking if you wanted to turn it off and you lose the cache after you watch the video.

  • alexus

    finally! now let's hope #hulu and #netflix do the same..

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    So, what happens if I don't reconnect in 48 hours? Does YouTube app deletes the video from my device and when I next reconnect, it downloads the entire video again? Or does it just says "Not available for offline viewing and when I next reconnect, it enables offline viewing for it; without needing to download again?

    • Toboe

      " After those two days have passed, you will have to reconnect in order
      to watch the videos again, but the 48 hour window will refresh, and the
      content will remain on your device."

      or just the important bit:

      "the content will remain on your device."

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

    Not having to use a downloader and having the video(s) automatically cleaned up is nice, but 48 hours is probably too short. 7-days would be better, and a configurable 1-30-day range would be best.

    • miri

      Does the phrase "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" mean anything to you?

      • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

        People use downloaders now. This results in no feedback to YouTube. Extending the timeframe will improve YouTube's visibility into viewing, and thus feedback to advertisers. Or they can make it less flexible and people will continue to do what they do now.

      • Chris Knowles

        I'll look at a gift horse however I please as long as I have a better horse of my own.

    • flosserelli

      Go to xda and install OG Youtube or Youtube Downloader, and you can keep videos for as long as you like.

      • http://www.google.com/profiles/moneta.mace Mace Moneta

        Did you miss the first 6 words of my comment?

        • flosserelli

          How much time & effort does it require to install a free apk? If that's too hard or time-consuming for you, then I'd say you have other issues to deal with besides complaining about how long you can cache a YouTube video.

  • Charlie Val

    If it's just going to download the video, I'd rather download it myself -_-

  • Philipp

    Actually i would rather like to have a Option to play HD Material like 1080p or 720p like some modified apps allow it.

  • Steve Freeman

    Maybe Netflix will implement something like this soon...that would really help a lot of people with bandwidth issues.

    • Chris Knowles

      Youtube can do this because it owns the videos. Netflix would need to renegotiate all its licenses yet again to do this.

      • Cat Astrophy

        I highly doubt YouTube owns the official music videos and movie trailers

  • Cat Astrophy

    Netflix PLEASE do this

  • FrillArtist

    Wow. A WHOLE two days. Thanks, Google Overlords for your generosity.

    • whispy_snippet

      It's funny how some people feel like Google owes them unlimited free content, 24/7.

  • kamiller42

    Google, this is a sign you need to seriously beef up the memory in your Nexus phones OR support microSD cards.

    • Zieen

      I don't see microSD cards coming. They over-complicate the file system and just create issues in general. It would be nice if they offered higher end devices for a premium price, but I don't think the demand would be high enough to make it worth it.

      When I absolutely need more storage, I use a flash drive with an OTG cable and StickMount. If you've rooted your phone, which I generally assume most people with a Nexus device have, it's not a terrible solution.

      • fonseca898

        Samsung is definitely having lots of issues and complications with its implementation of MicroSD card technology in so many successful phones for years. OMG, the constant problems they have due to external storage! For the love of god think of the file system! There's too many GeeBees!

        • Zieen

          Touchwiz and Samsung devices are, in my opinion, a disaster. It is not my opinion that MicroSD cards are the devil, though they do seem more prone to corruption and errors than fixed internal storage. I was reiterating responses from Google on why they don't do SD cards on their Nexus devices.

      • pfmiller

        What problems do SD cards have that are not shared by OTG?

        • Zieen

          I don't view OTG as a permanent peripheral. SD Cards create small issues with install paths and cache. If I use a flash drive via OTG, I'm using it in much the same way as I would on a PC. It's temporary storage device and not another 'drive' on my device.

  • David Hart

    inb4 xposed framework allowing to disable 48hr window. Or just an altered apk.

    • http://www.hacktabs.com/ Anoop Sudhakaran

      Think it will be server side controlled, Instead of an In-App configuration.

  • Zieen

    I'm excited by the prospect of being able to watch a video all the way through on LTE. I have a lot of trouble with Verizon and Google not playing nice with each other. I can have a solid LTE connection, but thanks to the new way YouTube handles videos, I'm constantly buffering video, since it won't preload the entire thing anymore.

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      Won't on my computer either. Used to be able to load a video pause and the whole thing would load, not anymore :(

  • oroboros74

    Some people say to just download the video for offline viewing, but it's not just about downloading. It's about managing those downloads: being able to quickly select what videos to download and to delete them later all from the same place.

  • pssst

    Or you could just download the video and keep it.....permanently.

  • Primalxconvoy

    Our just install " tubemate".