OS X Yosemite (Safari, YouTube issues)

According to user-submitted posts over at both Apple Support Communities and Google Product forums, an unknown portion of Mac owners who run Yosemite are having issues playing certain YouTube videos, with some getting Safari crashes when attempting to watch a clip.

It seems to affect some, not all, HTML5 videos and does not manifest itself when using the resource-hog Flash Player, causing Safari to fall back to Flash for video delivery.

Other browsers are unaffected by the annoying problem. Neither Apple nor Google have commented on the matter yet. Digging deeper, it would seem the hiccup could be traced to the YouTube backend because HTML5 videos in Google Chrome and other browsers play without a problem.

“Videos would either switch to the Flash Player, throw an error, make a loud ‘squeak’ noise and throw an error, or just crash the Safari page outright and forcing a Force Reload,” wrote one poster.

I’m inclined to think that Safari could be the culprit here because problematic clips play perfectly when using Firefox 32 or Chrome 38.

Indeed. As MacRumors pointed out, folks on OS X 10.10.0 are also reporting the issue, “suggesting it is indeed a YouTube problem.”

I checked this with Cody and other members of the iDownloadBlog team who haven’t updated yet and they’re also having YouTube issues, which leads us to believe that the problem is on YouTube’s side. 

I myself also noticed YouTube hiccups in Safari this morning, but initially dismissed them as a temporary glitch. For those wondering, clearing cookies and caches or resetting PRAM does nothing to fix the problem.

Several posters have suggested changing user agent in the Safari browser to Google Chrome. You can change browser user agent under the Advanced tab in Safari’s Preferences.

First tick the checkbox next to “Show Develop menu in menu bar” and then choose “Google Chrome — Mac” in Develop under Safari’s menu bar.

OS X Yosemite (Safari, Develop menu, User agent Chrome)

See if this trick works for you.

It appears to be a temporary solution because the problem raises its ugly head when Safari is closed and restarted. At any rate, firing up Chrome solves the problem.

Others have suggested deleting all Site Data and Settings data for Flash Player under System Preferences > Flash Player Settings > Advanced, but the trick doesn’t seem to be working for everyone.

I’m not a fan of Google’s browser because it does not use performance-enhancing, battery-saving Mavericks and Yosemite technologies so it kills my Air’s battery. I also don’t allow anything from Adobe into my workflow.

Nevertheless, I still like keeping Chrome in my Applications folder. As Google’s browser has built-in Flash Player (as opposed to installing it system-wide from Adobe), it lets me watch Flash-only video or interact with Flash sites when needed.

Are you plagued with YouTube woes on Yosemite? Have you found a workaround yet? If so, please share it kindly with fellow readers down in the comments.

The OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 software update improves Wi-Fi reliability of your Mac and includes numerous bug fixes. Surprisingly enough, a portion of users who’ve upgraded continue to report intermittent issues connecting to a Wi-Fi network after waking from sleep, in addition to unreliable connections, slow data transfer speeds, connections randomly dropping every few minutes or so and so forth.

[Apple Support Communities, Google Product Forums via MacRumors]

  • A’s Network

    I have not upgraded to 10.10.1 yet and I am having issues on my Yosemite machine – when playing YouTube videos it either gives me an error or it gives me a weird sound and everything. I think YouTube is up to something…

    • Lhu

      got this stupid sound too

  • Ian

    I am having this issue too on 10.10.1 Youtube Videos won’t load 🙁

  • Rounak

    I had same problem an hour ago.
    To fix this go to System Preferences < Flash Player Settings < Advanced Tab
    and delete all Site Data and Settings.
    This fixed problem.

    • Lhu

      not working

      • Rounak

        It worked on my Yosemite 10.10.1

      • Lhu

        Ive got 10.10.1 too

      • Ricky

        Try youtube 5 extension. I never had this problem maybe due to this e tensions…

  • Tyler

    This happens to me all the time, so annoying. Also my macbook takes so freakin long to startup sometimes like I’ll log in and then it will go black and another loading bar comes up and then I have to enter my password again and wait. Didn’t have these issues prior to the update

  • Wesley

    Wow… I literally just started searching this problem the notification came up of this page. Perfect timing. Unfortunately the fix you suggested didn’t work so I’ll have to wait for an update and use a different browser for now. Good to know though 🙂 Thanks

  • Good to hear I am not the only one 🙂

  • Matheus Lisboa

    Just updated from mavericks and started to have this problem.. hope it gets fixed soon since I don’t like third party browsers

  • Sumit Agnihotri

    It’s funny this was reported today because the issue started happening today. Youtube has been working fine on 10.10.1 Safari 8.0 since release, its not  fault its a Google fault .

  • Highlander

    Changing the user agent forces to load flash based youtube, which solves the problem. the problem stems from HTML5 player.

  • Brian May

    Noticed this on my Hackintosh as well

  • Feivl

    Same here. One MBPro and one Air efected, both on 10.10.1. Good to know, its not my Karma. ☺️

  • It’s somewhat ironic to think that Google an Internet company can’t get videos to play properly in all browsers. I’m willing to bet it’s their tracking scripts breaking everything since it really isn’t that difficult to add a HTML 5 video element to a webpage. Nevertheless this really isn’t a big problem (at least for me). I’ll simply use Firefox or some other web browser or even try a completely different operating system since I triple-boot my Macbook…

  • I’m inclined to think this is a Safari bug, but I won’t be surprised if this is deliberately being done by the evil Google in an attempt to push users to try Chrome.

    When using Firefox to watch and comment on YouTube videos, text I attempt pasting at my cursor location gets pushed to the very beginning of my post by some nonsense script, and I can’t watch Full HD videos at 60fps in Firefox. Google Chrome on PC+ devices like my Surface Pro 2, that’s a deliberately gimped experience (http://bit ly/1s3TSlH)…so much for do no evil.

  • Noah

    If you’re having trouble seeing the YouTube thumbnails (like me) when choosing User Agent – Google Chrome, just select the second Safari option (Safari 7.1.1 for me) and everything should be fine.

    I went back to default User Agent and it worked for two videos and I was forced back to go to Safari 7.1.1 UA.

    This is obviously something on YouTube’s side…

  • I haven’t updated to 10.10.1 and I’m still having YouTube problems on Safari. I think they’re forcing us to use Google Chrome.

  • Ghazi Hilal

    Hi Guys,

    I believe that this problem caused by the security issue with Safari and the decoding apps. Here is the message that I saw in Safari “Divx Plus web player Doesn’t support the highest level of security for Safari plug-ins”.

    this is just what I think is causing the problem..

  • GuyWithTheThings

    Problems stopped on Safari now. I’m good here. Anyone else?

    • Knyw413

      Still a little laggy when a video starts, but finally working

    • Glad to hear the good news, I’ve just tested the HTML5 playback on Safari and everything work as expected. In the meantime I installed Firefox on my mom’s MacBook Air for that reason.

  • G.Dash

    i hate this shirt I’m getting weird sounds and safari is not playing any youtube videos i thought i was the only one now i see its every single person using a safari on mac

  • Sumit Agnihotri

    It seems to me this is almost certainly an issue on YouTube’s end, not with OS X or Safari, given a few things that have been mentioned:

    1 – The issue started today, not yesterday. If the issue was introduced in the new Safari, it would have started yesterday, when it was released, not today.
    2 – The issue is also coming up for people who didn’t update to 10.1 yet – people still using 10.0 are also getting the issue. So it definitely isn’t caused by the update from yesterday.
    3 – Changing the browser agent fixes the problem. All that does is change YouTube’s server to treat your browser as if it were a different browser. This doesn’t actually change your browser.

    So all signs point to YouTube having an issue with processing the agent string of Safari 8. Perhaps they maintain a whitelist or blacklist for which browsers should be able to access YouTube videos, and they accidentally removed Safari 8 from the whitelist (or added to the blacklist)… or perhaps they did it on purpose, to spite Apple and Apple’s users. It wouldn’t be the first time Google attacked Safari – remember when they exploited bugs in Safari’s cookie policy so that they could track Safari user’s via their ad network even when users explicitly asked not to be tracked?

  • Preben Faarkrog Hansen

    After my update 2 Yosemite, ive got big trouble with overheating imac, but only when i use Safari, no problems with Chrome and firefox, the temp is 80-93C when safri runs. And it iats up all my CPU.

  • veda99

    Chrome is acting weird since morning

  • Andrew

    Yup, it stops working for me too sometimes. But not all the time… Very strange.

  • Ian Leon

    Haters gonna hate hate hate

  • James Bogdanski

    works for me fine now

  • Preben Faarkrog Hansen

    Opera is fine, snappy 😉 as hell

  • ProSzakal Aszakal

    I recommend new app ,,protube” from AppStore

  • barryk

    For downloading youtube videos currently using the program KrojamSoft KingVideo

  • Sebastian Rasch

    You can permanently change the user agent of Safari via the terminal:

    defaults write com.apple.Safari CustomUserAgent “”Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 1095) AppleWebKit/600.1.10 (KHTML like Gecko) Version/7.1 Safari/537.85.10””

    This will use Safari 7.1 which still uses the old flash fullscreen (much nicer than the built in Mac fullscreen). This works for now, but in the future, Safari 7.1 might not be supported anymore by some sites so this trick will cause problems. To go back to the normal behaviour:

    defaults delete com.apple.Safari CustomUserAgent

  • zionita

    I get no Audio in Safari when watching YouTube, but when I logged into a guest account, Safari played YouTube videos and sound just fine.