The YouTube mobile app for iOS and Android now has new video settings that may make it a little easier to save data while watching video on the go (through MacRumors). In addition to specific resolutions in the video player, you can now switch between three separate modes that prefer video quality, data usage, or whatever works best for your current internet connection.
You may already be familiar with “auto” mode as the default setting for most videos, which automatically adjusts the video resolution according to your current internet speed to provide the best experience. YouTube’s new additions are the “higher picture quality” mode, which uses more data when not on Wi-Fi and defaults to 720p, and a “data saver mode” that reaches up to 480p.
While these overarching modes are good for quick scenario-specific resolution adjustments, you can still dig and get detailed with specific resolutions. And any resolution adjustments can be set for the specific video you’re watching or system-wide for everything you’re watching, with specific behavior for Wi-Fi and cellular networks. YouTube has had resolution settings and ways to keep the app of downloading / streaming HD videos for a while, but this automates the data saving process and reformulates it in a way that’s easier to understand.
In an ideal world, none of this matters and you can watch high-resolution cooking videos to your heart’s content (my favorite YouTube zone-out material par excellence). But even with ‘unlimited’ plans, most cellular carriers still limit video resolution to 480p. Videos watched at higher resolutions usually count towards some sort of premium data allocation or other horrible carrier jargon and hit where it hurts – in your monthly bill.
YouTube’s new video settings aren’t a panacea, but they do make it easier to switch to carrier-acceptable resolution without having to think about it. And if all my brain wants is ASMR Donut Videos, that certainly helps.