Even with continuous threats from the likes of TikTok, YouTube remains the preferred choice among most users. Google has steadily improved the YouTube experience with privacy functions and thoughtful add-ons. Here are the best nine hidden features to up your YouTube game.
1. Set a reminder to take a break
Did you open YouTube to watch your favorite creator's new upload and end up streaming Giraffe dance or an explainer on the black hole for an hour? It happens to the best of us. Before YouTube's intelligent algorithms lure you into watching more videos and spoil your day (and potentially night), set a reminder to take a break or when it's bedtime.
- Open YouTube on your phone.
- Tap on your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
- Open Settings.
- Select General.
- Turn on the Remind me to take a break toggle and set a reminder frequency.
- Turn on the Remind me when it's bedtime toggle and add bedtime hours to show a reminder during the set time.
You can also set up Digital Wellbeing on your Android phone to limit YouTube screen time.
2. Pause YouTube search and watch history
YouTube uses your search and watch history to show video recommendations on the home feed. Suppose someone else (your kid or a guest) uses your YouTube account on your smart TV or tablet. In that case, you can temporarily pause your search, watch history, and save yourself from irrelevant video recommendations.
- Open YouTube Settings on your phone (refer to the steps above).
- Select History & privacy.
- Turn on the Pause watch history and Pause search history toggles.
The trick is helpful when you want to hide YouTube search and watch history from your better half. However, there is no way to auto disable both options. You must open the same History & privacy menu to revert the change. You can also enable Incognito mode on YouTube, which delivers a completely different home feed and shows ads in videos (even for YouTube Premium subscribers).
3. Use restricted mode
You won't want your little ones to stumble upon offensive or adult content on YouTube accidentally. You can enable YouTube's restricted mode to hide potentially mature videos.
- Open the General menu in YouTube Settings (check the steps above).
- Turn on the Restricted Mode toggle.
YouTube doesn't guarantee the restricted mode to be 100% accurate. Also, it won't enable restricted mode for your account on other devices. The filter applies to your current phone or tablet only.
4. Disable YouTube's autoplay next video
YouTube enables autoplay by default and plays the next suggested video automatically. If you no longer want to autoplay suggested videos, use the steps below to disable the behavior.
- Launch the YouTube Settings menu on your phone (refer to the steps above).
- Open the Autoplay menu.
- Turn off the Autoplay next video toggle.
5. Create a GIF from a YouTube Video
Did you find a trendy YouTube video and want to make a GIF out of it? Here's how you can create a GIF from a YouTube video and start trending on Twitter and Instagram.
- Open a YouTube video on the desktop.
- Select the address bar and add GIF to the web URL.
For example, change the address bar from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4I7c4GY-3I&ab to https://www.gifyoutube.com/watch?v=b4I7c4GY-3I&ab.
Once you tweak the URL, press the Enter key, and open the same video in gifs.com.
- Crop the video and then add a caption, padding, and blur. You can also use other editing tools from the left sidebar.
- Select the start and edit time and press the Create Gif button in the upper-right corner.
- Add GIF information, tags, watermark, or sound and click Next.
- Share your GIF on social media handles or download it to send it over WhatsApp or Telegram.
6. Create a sharable link starting at a specific time
You don't need to ask the recipient to forward the YouTube video to a certain time. You can easily create a sharable YouTube link that starts at a specific time.
- Visit YouTube on the web and play any video.
- Select the Share button and enable the checkbox beside Start at.
- Select the specific time from which the video should start at.
- Click Copy and share the YouTube video.
You can't create the same from YouTube mobile apps.
7. Check video transcripts
YouTube auto-generates a written transcript for every single video. Written transcripts are handy when you want to note down a quote or a specific session from an educational video. You don't need to play and pause the video all the time.
- Open any YouTube video on the desktop.
- Select the three-dot menu.
- Click Show transcript.
- YouTube loads the auto-generated transcript in the upper-right corner.
YouTube doesn't support all the language needed to create a transcript. Sometimes, it may make mistakes in generating transcripts with incorrect words or sentences.
8. Learn YouTube keyboard shortcuts
If you primarily use YouTube on the desktop, you must learn keyboard shortcuts to navigate it like a pro.
- Open YouTube and select your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
- Select Keyboard shortcuts to check all key combinations to navigate YouTube videos.
9. Save YouTube videos for offline use
YouTube Premium subscribers can download videos for offline viewing. Your YouTube video downloads remain available for 30 days without an internet connection.
- Open a YouTube video on mobile.
- Tap the Download button.
- Check all the downloaded videos from the Library > Downloads menu.
You can customize the download preference from YouTube settings.
- Go to YouTube Settings (refer to the steps above).
- Select Background & downloads.
- Select Download quality and enable Download over Wi-Fi only to save cellular data.
If you don't have YouTube Premium, you can try alternative ways to download YouTube videos on mobile and desktop.
Use YouTube to your advantage
If you frequently use YouTube, get the YouTube Premium subscription to remove ads, enable offline downloading, and unlock millions of tracks via the YouTube Music streaming service.