Tips for Using YouTube on the iPhone

High-Powered Phone
Now that our phones have the technological power to run video, users and developers are trying to figure out ways to use mobile devices for both new and common video consumptive activities. With the iPhone 4s, the iPod capabilities include video, but having full internet access leads to a desire to use internet resources for streaming video on a wider scale. The phone includes YouTube mobile on the desktop as a standard program, and this has its own type of interface that is somewhat different than what net surfers may be used to.  Here are a few tips for learning to work with YouTube in this unique environment.

YouTube on the iPhone offers many of the same features that the regular website does. You have options to view featured vides, the most viewed videos, and the ability to search for and bookmark specific videos. Just like when watching on your home computer you are able to get a brief description, the name of who posted it, and a list of similar titles. This is pretty much the end of what you can do from this application. You cannot upload videos, even if they were stored on the iPod section of the phone. There are other areas that are limited, but you can view comments on things and allow for some sort of interaction.  You do not have to browse YouTube anonymously on your iPhone 4s either, and can sign in so that you can check the status of videos you may have uploaded in your channel.

Be Specific and Casual
With these limitations in mind you need to curtail your use. If you are looking to browse the videos of a specific user you will need to find the name for that user and then enter it into the search option. YouTube mobile is designed mostly for casual use, which is shown by the fact that the Featured and Most Viewed tabs are the most prominent. This means that interactivity is down and you will not be able to do complex searches for videos.

Since you will most likely be using the 3G network and not a wireless internet connection the videos will load very slowly. Longer videos are often difficult to watch on your iPhone, especially if they have a high resolution or base size. At the same time, if you are waiting for a long time for a more sizable video to load up YouTube will close, especially if you have your screen on an auto-lock function.  This may change as we move into a world of full LTE, but right now the 3G network is still somewhat limited.  Wi-Fi always going to be the answer for iPhone 4s users who want a dramatic amount of internet media playback, especially if they have newer plans where their standard internet use is probably at a maximum of 2 GB per month.

The sound is reasonable on the speakers coming from the iPhone, but if you want to receive quality audio from the videos you will need to use headphones. Since video tends to have a lot of peripheral sound it can end up being a very cluttered sound that comes out of the small speakers. If you cannot use headphones for some reason you may want to choose only videos that have had a reasonable sound mixing, and not ones that have recorded a live event with on-board recording equipment.

The main reality of using YouTube on the iPhone, as well as the iPad or iPod Touch, is that you options are going to be greatly decreased.  You are not going to have access to every video on the YouTube library, and will find that you will have to be creative in your searches if you are looking for specific content such as videos containing popular songs.  There are a number of different reasons for this, from bandwidth to the settings involved.  A major factor is that many users can actually deny the viewing of their videos from mobile devices, which is under the syndication setting when managing videos.  This is automatic, and irreversible, for many videos that are uploaded with recognizable copyrighted music.  This is often why it is more difficult to just listen to music through YouTube on your iPhone than it is on the website at home.

Good Device
The iPhone is great for viewing the actual videos, and the resolution for the device is comparable to most computer monitors. Try to be as broad as possible when searching for video titles, and add as many bookmarks as you can when you find videos you want to view often. Remember that this is a phone primarily, so extended use is not a priority of the developers. Either way, having YouTube on your iPhone is one of the most entertaining applications you could ask for.

Best Tip
The best iPhone YouTube tip for many people is to actually forgo the YouTube app altogether and instead approach the mobile website through Safari.  Instead of having to open up Safari on a regular basis to use the website version you can actually put a direct link to this on your iPhone desktop to select just as you would with an app.  To do this, go into Safari and go to the YouTube website.  Once here hit the middle button on the bottom of the screen, which looks like an arrow coming out of a box.  This gives you several actions you can do in relation to this website, such as add a bookmark, reading list, or email a link to the page. One option you can do is to “Add to Home Screen.”  This will then give you the option for what to name this new home screen addition, and then once you hit the Add button in the upper right hand screen an icon will appear on your iPhone desktop for the YouTube page.  When you select it you will be able to open up a YouTube specific page in Safari that operates in the mode of the mobile site and not the app.

About shaneburley