YouTube iOS player iPad screenshot 002

Google seems to have quietly upgraded its embeddable media player for tablets. On iOS, however, it’s killed an essential feature: fullscreen mode on iPads, as first noted by German blog The change does not affect Google’s native YouTube app for iOS, which still lets you play clips embedded in webpages in fullscreen on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

As evidenced by the screenshots top of post and below, YouTube’s iOS player on the iPad now looks a lot like the desktop version, sans the fullscreen button.

Whereas YouTube clips embedded into webpages used to be rendered though the native iOS media player, now the playback controls on the tablet are replaced with a desktop-like interface.

YouTube iOS player iPad screenshot 001

In terms of the features, you can change video resolution on the fly, enable subtitles and closed captioning, add the video to your Watch Later queue, like or dislike clips and send the video to the native iOS app, if installed, by tapping the YouTube icon.

As you can see further below, on the iPhone everything is as usual: videos appear inline and start playing in fullscreen upon tapping the play button.

YouTube iOS player iPhone screenshot 001

I’m disappointed by this change: it’s something of an annoyance as I can no longer watch YouTube clips in Safari fullscreen.

Part of me tells me that perhaps the iOS player is now inadvertently treating the iPad as a desktop rather than a mobile device, but that wouldn’t explain the inexplicable lack of fullscreen mode.

A skeptic in me is inclined to believe that this is a deliberate move on Google’s part to push people to use the native YouTube app on iPads, which could have something to do with serving ads.

On the other hand, we know a major Material Design of YouTube’s iOS app is on its way. Moreover, YouTube recently ditched Flash for a brand new HTML5 player and last Thursday enabled HTML5 playback for live streaming in silky smooth sixty frames per second so perhaps the new iOS player isn’t fully optimized for tablets just yet.

YouTube’s native iOS app is available free in the App Store.

Has this change affected you?

Vent out your frustration down in the comments.

Hat tip to iDownloadBlog reader Marco K.

Source: (Google Translate)

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    It’s not “something to do with serving ads”…it HAS to do with serving you ads.

    • Latiosxy

      There’s a tweak that allows you to not watch any ads on the official YouTube app and even Crunchyroll and Twitch. It’s called StreamEnhancer.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        Aware of such tweaks yet I don’t use YouTube enough to want an ad-blocker. Also I tried some in the past and they broke the YouTube app sometimes and in between updates so I sort of have up on them.

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    Just wait a day or so, there will be a tweak that bypasses this to gain full screen again.

    • Maxim∑

      We shouldn’t have to install a tweak. Uninstalling the stock app…

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        Youtube isn’t a stock app, unless you’re on iOS 5

      • Digitalfeind

        Does it even work on iOS 5?? They changed the api’s so it wouldn’t work with iOS 6 and lower.

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        I don’t believe it does, that was just a reply to a comment that was made that said “We shouldn’t have to use tweaks, just delete the stock app”

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        If your still using iOS 5 that’s a problem by itself. It was a good OS but it’s time to move on.

  • Gabriel Anaya

    Protube doesn’t have this problem …

    • kurt

      I think you missed the point. Protube is an app, this article is about the embedded videos on websites and what not. Its not talking about the app. The app still works fine.

    • Павел

      Can you give me a link to that ProTube you are talking about? There are several apps named ProTube….

  • Jack Wong

    What is going on with all the changes about Youtube?!

    I wish we can cache the video directly on smartphone, it is crazy to buffer with LTE, I have 30GB+ data plan but it is not as fast… depend on the location.

    • Павел

      Oh yeah, I wish I could save videos to cache…

      • Jack Wong

        There were few apps that able to do it, and I bought them… and they don’t want anymore…

  • Chris

    I don’t really use my iPad much anymore as I generally watch video content via ProTube on my iPhone (offline thanks to Download Enabler for ProTube 2) while on the train to and from work.

    I can confirm the same thing happens on my iPad as well but it looks like a code bug rather than a deliberate change.

    • Павел

      Can you give me a link to that ProTube you are talking about? There are several apps named ProTube…

      • Chris

        It’s called ProTube for YouTube by Jonas Gessner, it’s normally the first result on Google and in the iOS App Store.

  • Kyle

    Google and Ads have to get banned. Don’t like this “YouTuber” Shit anyways.

  • deepdvd

    This was happening on my iPhone too. I had to restart the video a few times before it would go full screen. Now I have a good idea why.

  • Davis Deaton

    If Google is treating the iPad like the desktop, it would make perfect sense that there would not be full screen. Currently, the WebKit that iOS uses does not enable the HTML5 full screen APIs; however, recent source for WebKit does. It’s likely that full screen will come after an iOS update.

  • momerathe

    God. Every UI change they make to Youtube just makes it worse.

  • Lucus Bendzsa

    Google is so stupid. They are all about not being evil, but all they want is to sell your information, show you boring crap, and make money.

  • I always laugh when I see someone using Safari for stuff like Facebook, YouTube, etc. The apps are all much better IMO and you don’t have all the annoyances of a browser, while using the mentioned apps.

    I also wouldn’t have Chromecast support and that is the only thing that ever got me interested in YouTube at all.

    • Doctor Biobrain

      And I always laugh when people don’t realize that other people don’t use things the same way they do. For myself, if all I’m doing is watching YouTube videos, I use the app. But if I’m on a webpage with a YouTube video embedded on it, I watch it at their site; which is quicker than having it open the app and then having to go back to Safari to keep reading the page. How is that laughable? And in cases like Amazon and Imdb, I hate the apps and prefer to use their regular websites.

      Seriously, just because you do things one way doesn’t make someone else wrong for doing things a different way. And if you don’t understand why someone does something, you shouldn’t criticize them for it.

  • James Battan

    Yet another evil change by Google. Disappointed.

  • jerome71

    Seems to be working again.

  • David Navarrete

    For everyone wondering what’s that Protube App and what advantages does it have

    Background play for all the videos
    Audio-only mode (Useful when on mobile and playing songs)
    Select preferred quality
    You can pan through the loaded video WITHOUT having to wait it to load AGAIN (In Google’s App if you want to go back FIVE SECONDS you have to wait it to LOAD IT ALL AGAIN)

    You can’t reply to comments, but you can still comment (Damn Google for this one since it’s their API’s fault)
    That’s all:)

    The App is on the AppStore as “Protube for Youtube”, by Jonas Gessner