YouTube iOS app (iPad mini teaser 001)

I’ve always hated how Google’s official YouTube apps on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms don’t allow for offline caching of videos. Sometimes I want to save a particularly funny clip or a music video to my device to show it to friends without having to waste my cellular data. YouTube doesn’t allow this.

Worse, Google’s been clamping down on third-party apps that cache YouTube videos, such as MCTube for iPhone, for example. The reason: the Internet giant wants to serve ads no matter what.

Playing back cached videos defeats that purpose. Recently, the company hinted it’s willing to reconsider its stance: mobile users will be able to save videos for later after all, but with some strings attached…

Last month, Google’s official YouTube Creator blog announced that offline video viewing would 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.

According to AllThingsD“a short period” really means just 48 hours.

The reliable technology blog also reported that offline caching won’t apply to music videos or the movies and television shows available for rental on YouTube, which sounds about right to us Furthermore, offline videos will contain ads and video producers will have an option to disable offline caching for their clips.

A newly-pulbished FAQ confirms AllThingsD’s claims and lays out how the offline feature, dubbed Add to Device, will function in mobile YouTube apps:

From the watch page through the functionality, viewers will be able to designate certain content that they can watch for a short period of time when they do not have connectivity. At the time when the user no longer has connectivity, they will be able to watch these videos and playlists through an “on device” section of their guide.

Add to Device is currently scheduled for November 2013 and will launch as part of the YouTube app, reads the document and confirms the 48-hour viewing window:

If the device is offline for more than 48 hours the content cannot be viewed offline until the device reconnects. Once connected, the offline window refreshes and the viewer is able to watch the content again.

When the device goes back online, the app will also send the total view count and in-stream ad views of offline videos.

It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s certainly better than today’s ‘no-cache’ policy. MCTube Pro fell victim of Google’s policy as did a number of other third-party YouTube clients on iOS.

MCTube Pro removes YouTube caching

You may also recall that Google recently served Microsoft a cease and desist letter asking the Windows maker to remove the YouTube app from the Windows Phone store because it didn’t have ads.

According to July 2013 data from analytics firm Deepfield, YouTube accounts for a cool one-quarter of all North American Internet traffic.

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    I hope Google never allows users to choose playback quality, because that would be very helpful for many users.

    • David Gitman

      yeah I really need it and access to my inbox as well

    • I’m confused. Why would you hope they never allow it if it would be helpful for many users?

      • Z3r0ViP

        I take it that you do not speak Sarcasm.

      • I am probably more sarcastic than anyone you have ever met. I just don’t understand Mohammad’s point. Is it only half sarcastic? If so, that doesn’t make sense.
        Gah, whatever. I get what he’s trying to say. Never mind.

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        #Sarcasm

  • Jonathan

    Define “limited”.

    • David Gitman

      48 hours

      • Jonathan

        Good enough for me.

      • David Gitman

        yeah 😀

    • Liam Mulcahy

      Read the article

      • Jonathan

        Like a lot of other users, I was too lazy, lol.

  • Alexander Bus

    YouTube on Android allows preloading videos(subscriptions and “watch later”). Never used it, but sounds like it’s the same thing.

  • Mr. E

    Protuber allows me to choose the quality and cache any video I want 😀

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      Crashes constantly though.

      • ConduciveMammal

        Really? I’ve been using it since release and never had it crash yet.

    • NaSty

      Its a bullshit app, i paid a dollar for it and it looks like they wont update it. I also think that the company has released the exact same app under different names, all with the same crash errors,etc. If i was jailbroken then that would be a different matter altogether 🙂

  • Shane Sparky

    No thanks, I’ll keep using the ProTube extension on my jailbroken phone plus I don’t see ads when using YouTube and I get to keep it as long as I want offline… way better!

    • Diego Gastón Milano

      +1!

  • Fizzy

    The jailbreak community is laughing at this. I pity you stock suckers. Lol

    • Patrick

      and we pity jailbreak community because our phone’s run faster and don’t crash the springboard and don’t drain more battery

      • Fizzy

        LMAO! Please get real sucker. Jailbroken Experience > Stock Experience. End of discussion.

      • Patrick

        oh i didn’t realize i was talking to a child, nevermind kid

      • Fizzy

        Case in point. No real reply so changes subject. I’m done. Lol

      • 3rd Degree

        Nuff said.

      • Paul Meneshian

        is that pro tube?

      • Diego Gastón Milano

        No, that’s YourTube, which I don’t recommend since it’s always outdated compared to ProTube.

      • mav3rick

        Educate yourself. Jailbreak give the freedom for your device. Obviously many as you understand this to just throw anything on his device without any thinking and be angry after that on their own stupidity to destroy the OS installation. Don’t worry, pome do the thinking for your, their know your needs, just follow the the herd…

  • Razick Rilshad

    We need always switch quality on playback specially on 3G

  • ifthekar ahmed

    Jus use mxtube from the apple app store has vid download function, has the same UI as mctube. Pretty sure its the same devs however renamed to Mxtube. Get it now before it gets pulled from the app store.

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      Thanks for the tip 🙂

    • Arthur Geron

      That’s funny, some time ago there was a great offline cashing cydia app called “mxtube”, I always loved it, but they never updated it, I’m happy there’s still nice apps on the Appstore.. I also wonder if the dev gets blocked from posting more apps into the appstore if one of their apps get pulled off..

      • ifthekar ahmed

        Yepp i remember mxtube on cydia during the fairly early days of jailbreaking. Was good but way too basic.

      • Arthur Geron

        yeah, I wonder if that mxtube from cydia inspirated that one or if it’s the same dev

    • Adam Bowman

      I never updated my McTube, so I got to keep the chache feature. Ha! And, yeah… I noticed MxTube the other day — it IS by the devs of McTube. I’m going to download it in a minute.

      On another note, I recently tried to download a video using my YourTube extension, but after I started downloading, I couldn’t find the “Downloads” feature. Where did my download go? Something is wrong.

  • n00b

    one word: fail

  • iOS apps Instatube and tubebox they both let u cache all YouTube videos even vevo music videos 🙂

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    I’m STILL waiting for mobile and desktop version of YouTube to offer a better way to view comments. Like we can’t get a notification button? And we can’t reply to comments on mobile? wtf YouTube it’s 2013.

  • Diego Gastón Milano

    The answer for those who are on jailbroken iDevices is ProTube (I used to say YourTube but got tired of the developers not caring for their outdated tweaks).

  • Liam Mulcahy

    Just download the video with ads on the side. Have the app count how many times the ad played. Pay the advertisers.

  • Johhny Q

    I’m on ios 5.1.1 and using the stock Youtube app, so I don’t have to worry about those silly ads 😛

    • mav3rick

      Real smart! iOS 5 was released with 4S and it’s very well optimized for and running perfectly on 4S and 4.

  • I hope the next update has background audio and an HQ button.

    But that’s when pigs fly!

  • Chuck Finley

    “The reason: the Internet giant wants to serve ads no matter what.”

    Shock horror, the Internet business that relies mostly on ads for revenue wants to make money from the service it’s providing!

  • Wagner

    In fact, it is not the solution, but at least, we’re going to be able to watch them offline, it means that the Giant has been listening to what their clients are asking for, I liked it.