YouTube working on offline viewing for mobiles

18 Sep 2013
YouTube Mobile

YouTube is working on a feature to allow mobile devices to play saved videos offline

YouTube is working on bringing offline viewing to its mobile apps, letting users watch videos without an internet connection.

The offline viewing mode will let users cache videos for later viewing, when the user might not have a data connection. It wasn't immediately clear how the system will work, what the video quality will be, or how many videos will be allowed to be stored on a device.

Google said the new feature is set to arrive in November. "This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an internet connection is unavailable," the company said in a post on the YouTube Creators blog. "So your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute."

The offline mode is a step up YouTube's "prefetching" feature, which lets you preload videos from subscribed channels and playlists while on Wi-Fi to watch "on smooth playback" later, when using mobile broadband. You still need to have a connection, and it only works on Android 4.0 or later.

Last month, YouTube added more mobile features, including better support for playlists, making them searchable on mobile, and letting users play all the videos in one click, rather than have to hit next for each video.

The move to offline - if it supports enough videos, and a user has enough space on their smartphone - could allow users to listen to music without a connection for free, rather than shell out for mobile support from streaming music services, such as Spotify.

Of course, there are already plenty of unofficial apps allowing YouTube videos to be downloaded for offline viewing.

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