The hours you spend watching YouTube videos are about to get a little more pleasant with the latest user interface improvements that are coming to mobile, desktop and TV. They make navigation easier and give you precise control over playback.
Perhaps the most important new feature is Precise Seeking for mobile – you press and hold on the screen to see a visual timeline for the video, then you can seek forwards and back to find the precise moment you need (you can see this in action below). You can also double tap with two fingers to skip a chapter.
Pinch to Zoom is another handy change that lets you see the part of the video you want. The pinch gesture was already used for switching between pillarboxing and cropping the video to fit your screen, now you can keep zooming in further to get a better look at something.
The YouTube player on mobile and desktop now features Ambient Mode for those using dark mode – it lets the colors of the video spill out of the player, creating a soft glow effect. It’s not quite Ambilight, but it does remove the hard edge between the video and the black background.
Speaking of dark mode, it is now even darker on mobile, desktop and TV. The Playlist interface has been reworked too, with a splash of the ambient color magic plus extra details about the playlist itself.
Finally, there are a few usability improvements. YouTube links in video description are now shown as easy to spot buttons, while the buttons for frequent actions (like, share, download and subscribe) were redesigned to minimize distraction and make them more accessible.
While these changes are going live now, they will need time to propagate to each user. You should start seeing them over the coming weeks.