YouTube Overhaul Removes Audio Shocks

John Lister's picture

YouTube is adding a range of new features and usability tweaks. A stable volume feature is the highlight, promising an end to sudden deafening changes in sound level.

The features have all previously been tested on small groups of Premium account subscribers and are now being rolled out to the general user base. While it's almost certainly coincidence, it may sweeten the blow for users upset with a recent crackdown on watching YouTube while using ad blockers.

The "stable volume" feature will be switched on by default on mobile devices. That makes sense as mobile users are often listening on headphones and particularly susceptible to unexpected changes in volume. (Source:

In theory YouTube video creators are not allowed to have sudden changes in volume during a video but, even if they do follow that rule, differences between the volume of different videos (and ads) can be jarring.

Fast Playback Easier

It will now also be easier to switch to 2x playback speed. When watching in full screen mode (or portrait on a phone) users can simply press/click and hold to make the switch. However, releasing the click or press will revert the video to normal speed. That means it's only really useful for searching for a particular part of the video. Users will need to go into settings as usual to leave a video playing at double speed, for example when listening to a video that's mainly speech without important visuals.

Another mobile YouTube change is a lock screen option when watching full-screen video on a mobile device. That should stop users accidentally tapping the screen and interrupting playback.

Navigation Improvements

Most of the other changes involve organization and navigation. For example, the separate pages for a user's account details and their library (which includes viewed videos, purchases and playlists) will now be merged into a single "You" tab.

YouTube also says it is "modernizing" the user interface on Smart TVs, including a new menu for accessing information about a video such as description, comments, chapters and subscribing. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do any of these changes sound useful? What other changes would you like to see in YouTube? Do you ever watch videos or listen to podcasts at anything other than normal speed?

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