YouTube launches a new ring indicator to show you when a channel is streaming live

Google has rolled out a new indicator that will appear around a channel avatar on mobile whenever that channel is broadcasting live on YouTube.

  • Google has launched a new indicator in form of a TikTok-style ring which appears every time the channel is broadcasting video on YouTube live.
  • It makes it easier to tell if your favorite channel is broadcasting live on the platform. Touch the ring around the channel avatar to jump straight into the live broadcast.
  • The new Live ring indicator is rolling out in stages on iOS and Android, so check back later if you don’t see it after updating your copy of the YouTube app.

How to know when a YouTube channel is streaming live?

The new TikTok-style ring with the word “Live” appears around the channel avatar whenever that particular channel is broadcasting live on YouTube. Hitting the ring will immediately take you to the live stream session. The feature, already present in the desktop version of YouTube, makes it easier to find live content as you browse YouTube.

The new YouTube Live ring indicator was officially announced by Neal Mohan, Alphabet’s chief product officer for YouTube, in a post on Twitter. “Really focused on making it easier for users to find livestreams on YouTube so we’re rolling out the Live rings feature on mobile,” it reads. “YoTube creators streaming live will now have a ring around the channel avatar and clicking on the avatar will take you directly to the livestream.”

If you saw similar rings indicating live broadcasts on TikTok or Instagram, you’ll feel right at home. Instagram, too, puts a ring around the channel avatar when there’s live content in progress. We couldn’t confirm whether the new YouTube live ring appears for shorts, too.

For what it’s worth, we didn’t see the new Live ring indicator on the YouTube app on our devices at the time of writing. This isn’t something to write home about: Major developers—and Google is one of them—prefer releasing new features in stages. The new indicator is available in the latest version of the mobile YouTube app for iOS and Android.

If you don’t have it already, check back later.

iDB’s take on YouTube’s Live ring indicator

YouTube’s Live indicator expands on the ways users can tell that their favorite channel is in live-streaming mode. It’s a meaningful improvement that brings parity between the desktop version of YouTube, which has had these rings for quite some time now, and its mobile counterpart. Read: YouTube not working on iPhone or iPad? Here’s how to fix it

This isn’t the only way Google makes it easy to get notified when your favorite channel is about to start a scheduled live stream. For instance, the service can send you a push notification when a specific broadcast goes live. You can see that feature in action whenever an Apple event is about to be streamed via YouTube.

First, Apple publishes a live video on YouTube that isn’t really broadcasting live but serves as a placeholder for the upcoming live stream. Users can then choose “Notify Me” if they’d like to receive a YouTube live stream push notification for that channel.

Other YouTube improvements

Device screenshot showing the new YouTube fullscreen video player in landscape on iPhone
Image credit: Ishan Agarwal / Twitter

Google is also working on other improvements and enhancements for YouTube, like an updated desktop interface that permits you to read comments and watch videos at the same time. A similar feature was recently brought to the mobile app, with a refreshed video player providing instant access to the Like, Dislike, Share and Comments buttons in fullscreen mode, as evidenced on the image above.