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Published on February 8th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Your complete guide to the new Apple TV YouTube app

The YouTube app for the Apple TV received a complete design overhaul Thursday, introducing a new interface similar in design to the YouTube app for iOS and other TV platforms like Roku. The bottom line…it’s better than its Roku counterpart.

The update feels more app-like for a TV platform with a new user interface and updated design. While some are saying that in many ways it’s virtually a port of the same experience on various other streaming platforms, we found it to be customized in many ways exclusively for the Apple TV.

Here’s your complete review – the good and the bad – of the new YouTube app for Apple TV…

The new feature set

A new universal search bar at the top of the screen makes it easier to find new content relevant to your interests and lets users swipe through dedicated categories horizontally like Music, Technology, Gaming, Food, and the Latest.

Unlike the Roku version of this app that lists categories in a vertical bar, the placement of the categories horizontally on the Apple TV app means it’s always there to swipe up to and change allowing for more real estate to see various videos.

Youtube app redesign image 1The new-look YouTube app on Apple TV is cleaner and more navigational.

A navigation bar on the left side of the screen pops out with a swipe to the left providing access to your subscriptions, library, and viewing history, and a new, more detailed settings section.

Youtube app redesign image 2The new navigation bar stays out of the way to concentrate on the video content.

New features in settings include the ability to clear watch and search histories, increase contrast, enable autoplay, and find videos on your mobile device and watch on your TV.

Users can now have multi-user sign in’s with the ability to switch between accounts.

When watching a video, you now see the progress of the streams loading, previously unavailable.

Better navigation using ‘pivot’

The app now includes functionality known as ‘pivot’, which that allows the user to swipe down to find new content with even leaving the video you’re currently watching.

Swipe down once to reveal a navigation bar of the video your currently watching…Swipe down again and up will pop a list of videos related to the current one you’re viewing…Swipe down again and you’ll see a list of more videos from the channel you’re currently viewing…and finally, swipe down again for access to a search button and home button.

Youtube app redesign image 3The new ‘pivot’ feature lets you find other videos without even leaving the video you’re currently watching.

Siri search from inside & outside the app

The addition of Siri support to search is a much-needed addition that really makes this app Apple TV-ready. Not only can you use Siri from within the app itself, but have Siri find content from outside the app, such as saying “Search for Saturday Night Live on YouTube.” Siri will then open the YouTube app and show the search results.

In our initial tests, we found the Siri capabilities worked well, finding and suggesting videos all based on how specific and concise you are in giving it meaningful keywords.

Youtube app redesign image 4Search for videos from within inside or outside the YouTube app with Siri

The not so good

Not to take away from the new and improved experience, the apps feature set is lacking so crucial things for the future.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of support for YouTube content inside the Apple TV TV app. While many will say the addition of YouTube content would be difficult to manage with so much other content, that should be a user prerogative. With so many people now only watching videos on YouTube this is a future must, as I see it.

While the app now lists 4K videos, YouTube isn’t supporting 4K playback in its continued battle of standards with Apple. While it is supporting video playback at switching frame rates of 24, 30, and 60 fps, the maximum available resolution is 1080p at 1920 x 1080. This is a downer, but there is little doubt YouTube will have to add 4K support soon whether they like it or not.

The bottom line

The new app is a definite improvement, but the importance of TV app support and real 4K playback support will be important features for addition in the near future. The experience is more like what you’d expect for Apple TV and all we can say is…it’s about time.

The new YouTube app for Apple TV should automatically update but if it doesn’t, choose ‘update’ from the app in the Apple TV App Store, or uninstall and reinstall the app completely.

Today’s revamped YouTube Apple TV app comes just a few days after YouTube officially introduced live streaming YouTube TV app for the Apple TV.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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