Thanks to iOS’s deep linking feature, YouTube URLs automatically open in the mobile app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Unfortunately, you cannot temporarily disable this feature for those times when you might prefer YouTube links to always open in Safari instead of the mobile app.

But don’t you worry—you just have to work around a bit to have the mobile app open a video link in YouTube’s mobile interface in the Safari browser.

Before we get to it, it’s important to note that the following trick for Safari was mentioned by Google itself in a recent YouTube update so this is by design.

If the trick won’t work on your device, be sure your iPhone or iPad is running YouTube version 12.07 or later.

To see YouTube’s version number, tap your profile icon within the app, choose Settings from the list and find the current version number listed at the bottom of the interface.

How to open YouTube videos in Safari instead of mobile app

1)  Tap a YouTube link in your favorite apps, such as Messages or Safari. The video should instantly open in the mobile YouTube app, just like before.

Tip: In Messages, tap the title to launch the video in the mobile app.

For clips embedded on webpages, tap the title to send the video to the mobile app.

2) Now tap the “youtube.com >” link in the top right corner of the YouTube app in order to open the clip’s mobile YouTube page inside the Safari browser.

Tip: If you don’t see the link, tap the video player to display the playback controls.

In order to access the video’s desktop interface instead, which provides additional features not found on the mobile site, tap Safari’s Share icon, then choose Request Desktop Site from the menu. Alternatively, tap and hold Safari’s Reload button inside the address bar, then select Request Desktop Site from the popup menu.

A few caveats apply.

For starters, this trickThis doesn’t work the other way round. That is, any videos found within YouTube’s mobile app cannot be sent to Safari. As you may have noticed, the aforementioned trick for opening YouTube links in Safari instead of YouTube’s iOS app is a bit convoluted.

That being said, your only option to avoid  switching between YouTube’s native app and Safari involves deleting YouTube for iOS from your device. Doing so will cause all YouTube links to always open in Safari.

A $9.99 per month YouTube Red subscription, pictured above, is required if you’d like to take advantage of such features  saving clips for offline playback, watching ad-free clips without interruptions, playing videos while using other apps or with your screen off, and more.

Be sure to read our tutorial on using YouTube Red features on iPhone and iPad.

Before signing off, don’t forget that you can browse videos in YouTube’s fullscreen mode by pulling up from the bottom of the screen and skip forward and back ten seconds by double-tapping on either side of the video player.

If you like this tip, please share it with friends and support folks.

  • GUY

    My work around for this is using safari in guided access mode but this wouldn’t work on an Messages link so thank for the tip.