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These new YouTube features can take your experience to the next level

Video chapters are great.

Youtube logo with blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

YouTube is still the main place that people go to for streaming video, whether that video content is how-tos, let’s plays, or any of a million different niches that the site serves. The site is constantly adding new tweaks and features to enhance the viewer experience, and some huge updates were announced back in October.

Those range from video chapters so video content can be broken down into sections, to reorganizing the buttons shown on the video screen for ease of access, and some new gesture-based navigation tricks. Here’s what’s new.

Video chapters

Now you don’t have to skip through videos to find the parts you want, as YouTube has enabled creators to add Video Chapters to their content. You’ll see them on the timeline if enabled, with timestamps and a brief explanation of what that chapter is about. Super handy for skipping all the talking when you need to find out how to do something specific, or skipping through let’s play content to find that one location that eludes you in-game. There will also be thumbnails of each chapter, so you can easily find the part you want.

Not every video will have chapters, as video creators will have to opt into them manually and add the chapter markers when they upload their content. You can see them in action in the video above.

New gesture controls

Did you know you can just swipe to get your video into full-screen mode? Just swipe up, anywhere on the video and it’ll expand to full-screen. Swiping down will put it back into normal mode, but if you’re doing it on an iPhone, make sure you do it from the middle of the screen so you don’t swipe down your phone’s home screen.

Easier captions access

Youtube app onscreen controls including closed captioning

Image: KnowTechie

If you need closed captions or prefer watching with them on, now you don’t have to wade through several menus to enable them. Just tap the CC icon on the top of the video being played to turn captions on and off. You can also toggle Autoplay without having to leave the video as well, which is really handy.

Bedtime reminders

Youtube app bedtime reminder

Image: KnowTechie

It’s all too easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of video suggestions on YouTube. There’s a handy set of features inside the YouTube app that can help, either by reminding you to take a break, or to log off and go to bed. To use it:

  1. Open the YouTube app
  2. Tap on your profile picture at the top-right
  3. Tap on Time watched
  4. Scroll down and turn on the toggle for either Remind me when it’s bedtime or Remind me to take a break. Fill in your start and end times, and decide if you want YouTube to wait until you’ve finished the current video before reminding you

Suggested actions

YouTube is working on bringing more suggested actions to the app, so your viewing experience is enhanced. That could be things like having a prompt to turn your phone, if the video you’re watching is better viewed in landscape. It could also tell you to watch the video in VR, to get the experience the creator intended.

Now you know some more handy features in the YouTube app. Know any that we missed?

What are some of your favorite lesser-known YouTube features? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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