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Google today announced several new features for YouTube Premium subscribers, including support for iOS SharePlay, video queuing for mobile devices, enhanced 1080p streaming on iOS, and a new Smart Downloads feature.
Perhaps the most anticipated addition is iOS SharePlay support, which allows people to watch media together through Apple’s video-calling service. However, YouTube is late to the party as many other video streaming services, including Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and more, have been compatible with SharePlay for months, if not years. Netflix is a remaining holdout. Assuming YouTube SharePlay works like Google Meet Live Sharing, only the person setting up the call would need a Google account subscribed to YouTube Premium; other participants wouldn’t.
YouTube video queuing is another new feature for mobile devices. Premium subscribers can now add new videos to watch next, just like they’ve been able to on the web since 2019. The mobile version of the feature initially appeared late last year in beta under the Android app’s “Try new features” section.
In addition to iOS SharePlay and video queuing, enhanced 1080p streaming is also coming soon for YouTube Premium subscribers on iOS. Google acknowledged the feature was under testing in February after a small group of users reported seeing the option. It uses a higher bitrate, which should lead to a better-looking picture. During the beta test, Google claimed the quality of standard 1080p streaming would be unaffected, meaning it wouldn’t nerf video quality for free users to drive subscriptions.
Finally, Premium subscribers on Android, iOS, and the web will soon be able to pick up YouTube videos where they left off on another device. Additionally, the new Smart Downloads feature on mobile will automatically add recommended videos to your library (when connected to WiFi) for offline viewing. Users can turn off the feature in the app’s settings menu if they don’t want to waste storage.