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How to Change Settings on a YouTube Video

by Gordan Perisic
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When watching a YouTube video or short on your smartphone there are many extra features you can tinker with to create the optimal viewing experience for yourself. If you are curious about how to change YouTube video settings, fear not as everything can be done from the YouTube app. Moreover, almost every setting can be edited while you watch your video so you will see your changes in real-time.

Each setting on YouTube videos also has its own section in the general preferences. In this way, you can make some permanent changes to your videos like quality or caption size. This is an excellent way to create default setups for your videos. Let us take you through all the options in this simple step-by-step guide on how to change YouTube video settings.

Table of Contents:

How to Change YouTube Video Settings

There are many options you can use while watching YouTube videos. They are all simple to use and can be done with a few button presses so let us cover them all. For all of these options you will need to open your YouTube app and select the video you want to watch.

1. Select and Start the Video YouTube App

Then, tap the video or pause it and various setting icons will appear on the top of the video.

2. Tap on The Video in YouTube App

Here you can enable the AutoPlay feature by tapping on the first icon in the row.

1. Tap the Autoplay Button in the YouTube App

The next icon is the YouTube Casting feature that you can tap and select which device on your WiFi network you want to cast your YouTube video to.

4. YouTube Casting Feature

Next up, we have the Closed Captions button you can tap for subtitles on your videos.

5. Tap on the CC Icon in YouTube App

Finally, we have the cogwheel settings icon you can tap to take a look at various settings like YouTube video quality, playback speed, and more.

6. Tap on the Settings Icon in YouTube App

Let us take a look at these various options in detail below.

How to Change Video Quality on YouTube

To change video quality options, follow this guide.

  • Tap on your video to make setting icons appear and tap the cogwheel options icon on the top right corner.
6. Tap on the Settings Icon in YouTube App
  • From the following list select Quality.
7. Select Quality in YouTube App
  • A list of available preset video quality options will appear so pick your preferred option based on the speed of your internet connection.
8. Pick Preferred YouTube Video Quality Option
  • Alternatively on the bottom you can select the Advanced option where you can pick a specific resolution like 360p, 480p, 720p, and more.
9. Choose a Specific Video Resolution in YouTube App
  • Once you select your preferred video quality by tapping on it your video will refresh in your chosen resolution and you can continue watching it.

We recommend lower resolutions like 240p and 360p if you have trouble with your connection. Also, you can simply use the Auto (Recommended) option and your YouTube app will pick an appropriate quality automatically. Note that some higher-quality formats like 1080p and 4K may not be available on all devices due to compatibility.

How to Enable Closed Captions on YouTube

Besides just tapping on the CC button on the top of the video you can also further customize your Closed Captions. 

  • Tap on your video to make the settings (cogwheel) icon appear on the top right.
10a. Tap on the YouTube Video
  • Tap the settings (cogwheel) icon.
10b. Tap on the Settings Icon in YouTube App
  • From the following list select Captions.
11. Select Captions YouTube App
  • Here you can choose which language you want to use for your captions by tapping on your preferred option.
12. Choose the Subtitle Language in YouTube App

Additionally, at the bottom of this menu, you will see the Device Settings for captions where you can adjust size and style.

  • Tap on the Device Settings blue text.
13. Tap on the Device Settings
  • In the following menu enable Accessibility by tapping on the switch to the right of the screen.
14. Enable Accessibility YouTube App
  • New options will appear below like Language, Text size, and Caption style.
14a. New YouTube Video Accessibility Options
  • Tap on Language to select which one you prefer for auto-translate.
15. Choose the Language
  • Tap on Text size and then select the size you want to use.
16. Choose the Text Size YouTube App
  • Tap on Caption style and select the style you want to use.
17. Choose the Caption Style YouTube App
  • From here, tap on the arrow icon in the top left to return to your video.
18. Tap on the Arrow Icon

This is a great way to customize your Closed Captions if you need the letters to be just a little bigger or have a different background.

Changing Playback Speed and Loop

You can also change the speed of your YouTube videos and make them loop.

  • Tap on your opened video and select the settings icon in the top right.
19. Open the Video Settings in the YouTube App
  • For changing Playback speed tap on the appropriate option toward the end of the menu.
20. Tap on the Playback Speed in YouTube App
  • In the following menu you can speed up or slow down the video by choosing the 1.25x and above or 0.75x and below respectively.
21. Change the Speed of the Video
  • After making your choice the video and audio speed will change.

To loop the video the process is similar. In the settings menu, you can find the Loop video option below Captions. Select it and the Loop option will automatically be turned on.

22. Tap on the Loop Video in YouTube App

Simply do the same if you wish to turn the Loop video option off.

Additional YouTube Setting Features

Furthermore, there are several more settings features around your YouTube app. Here are some miscellaneous ones in no particular order.

How to Download YouTube Videos

If you have YouTube Premium you can use the app to download your videos for offline watching.

  • Open the app and select the video you want to download.
23. Open the YouTube Video
  • Once the video is playing or paused, below the title you will see a list of icons like Like, Dislike, Share, etc.
24. Different Options Below YouTube Video
  • With your finger, you can slide the icons taskbar to the left and reveal more options until you see Download.
25a. Slide the Icons Taskbar to the Left
  • Tap the Download button.
25b Tap Download
  • A new menu will appear where you can select which video quality you want to download.
25c Select the YouTube Video Quality

Sharing

You can share your videos by tapping the Share button next to the Like and Dislike buttons. 

26. Tap the Share Button YouTube App

On the following screen select where you want to share it. Then, the app window of your chosen app will appear for you to confirm your choice.

Pop-up Player

If you have YouTube Premium you can use the Pop-up player option to continue watching videos after minimizing YouTube. To use this option simply play your chosen video and then hit the Home button on your phone or open another app. The YouTube video will then appear as a smaller window to the bottom right of your screen.

Playlists

You can save your current video to your YouTube playlists. You can do this by swiping through the icon taskbar to the far right. You do this by dragging the taskbar where the Like and Dislike buttons are located. To the far right, you will see a Save button.

Select it and your video will be saved to the most recent playlist you have created. A pop-up message will appear on the bottom of the screen saying which playlist it saved the video to and the option to change it.

If you wish to change the playlist simply tap on the Change button in the pop-up. 

29. Tap Change

Alternatively, you can just tap on the new Saved button where the previous Save button was and select your playlist.

30. Select the Playlist

Feel free to customize your playlists as you like.

How to Use YouTube Desktop Mode

We have one more YouTube setting for mobile users that you can try out. This one relates to starting YouTube in Desktop mode on mobile. This will open up a couple more features for you to use.

To launch YouTube in Desktop Mode on mobile you need to open it via Google Chrome.

  • Open Google Chrome and go to the YouTube mobile website.
31. Go to YouTube Website
  • Tap the three vertical dots icon in the top right next to the address bar to open Google Chrome’s settings.
31. Tap on the Three Dots Icon YouTube App
  • Swipe down through the following menu to find the Desktop site option.
33a. Swipe Down YouTube App Options
  • Select it by tapping the checkbox.
  • YouTube will now launch in Desktop mode.
34. YouTube Will Launch in Desktop Mode

As we mentioned, this will unlock some extra features you can have on your phone. Some of them include a wider view of the YouTube browser app. More importantly, here are some useful tricks you can now do.

Theater Mode

You can now alter between three screen modes on your phone similar to the PC option. The smaller screen is the default option but you can also switch to the Theatrical mode by tapping the Theater Mode icon to the left of the Full-Screen button.

35. Tap on the Theatrical Mode

Mini player

Additionally, you can now activate the mini player. The mini player is a feature that will allow for a mini screen to open up that plays your video while you browse around YouTube. Simply tap on the Miniplayer icon located between the Settings and the Theatre Mode icons.

36. YouTube App Miniplayer

Background play

Finally, you can listen to YouTube videos in the background while you browse through your phone and other apps. While you have a video playing in the Desktop version of the Google Chrome YouTube app simply hit your Home button. Then, slide your taskbar down from the top of the screen and hit play on the YouTube app notification. For a more detailed guide, check out our article about playing YouTube in the background on your smartphone.

Tap on the Play Icon

This is a great way to keep doing other activities on your phone while having your favorite song as ambient music.

How to Set Defaults on YouTube

If you wish to set default options in your YouTube app that will apply to every video you play, you can do so.

  • Open your YouTube app and tap your Channel Picture on the top right of the screen.
38. Tap on Your Chanel Picture
  • Swipe down the following menu and hit Settings. In the Settings section, you can change various aspects of your YouTube videos permanently.
39. Tap on Settings
  • For Autoplay select the appropriate option and tick the button on or off in the following menu.
41. Turn on the Autoplay
  • For Video Quality open the Quality preference and choose your preferred quality.
41. Select Video Quality Preferences
  • For close captions select the Captions option and alter Language, Text size, Caption style, and more.
42. YouTube App Change Caption Options
  • After you are done with whatever option you chose simply hit the arrow icon on the top left to return to the YouTube app home page.
43. Tap the Arrow Icon to Go Back

We covered Autoplay, Video Quality, and Closed Captions here but you can essentially change whatever option you desire. Remember that changing settings in this way as opposed to changing settings in the video player applies to every video.

You can find shortcuts to the Settings page in the video player section. If you for example open Video Quality through the YouTube player, you can find the shortcut to permanent settings at the bottom. Simply tap the blue highlighted text. This is true for almost every video player option.

This applies to many other options as well like captions for example.

Closing Remarks

The YouTube smartphone app offers plenty of options for you to customize. The main idea of this article was to showcase them all and show you how you can make temporary changes and permanent ones. If you alter the settings during a video they simply apply to that video. However, if you visit the YouTube Settings section from the homepage you can make permanent changes here. 

Test things out for yourself and see what works for you. Remember, you can always change your YouTube settings around whenever you feel like it to suit your current needs.

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