You may not think of YouTube in the same breath as Netflix or Disney+, but it’s sneakily the most popular streaming platform out there. That makes YouTube Premium a pretty awesome subscription to have. Let’s make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
YouTube isn’t bad without a Premium subscription, but there are certainly some very nice benefits to paying the $13.99 per month. Removing ads is obviously the big reason to get YouTube Premium, so that won’t be included in this list. Hopefully, you’ll find some features you didn’t know about.
1080p With Enhanced Bitrate
Everyone has the ability to change the video quality on YouTube, but Premium subscribers get an extra 1080p option with enhanced bitrate. The “1080p Premium” option makes videos look a little more crisp and clear. It’s a similar effect as switching to 4K resolution on a sub-4K screen.
To use 1080p Premium, simply change the quality like you normally would—it’s available on the desktop and mobile apps—and choose “1080p Premium” from the options. Keep in mind that this feature is not available on every video.
Add Videos to the Queue on Mobile
For a long time, it’s been possible to add videos to the playback queue from the YouTube desktop website. This is a handy feature for watching a bunch of videos back-to-back without having to manually start each video. YouTube Premium subscribers can also do this on the YouTube mobile apps.
The feature works exactly like it does on the desktop. Simply minimize the currently playing video to go back to browsing YouTube, then tap the three-dot menu icon next to a video to select “Play Next in Queue” or “Play Last in Queue.”
Watch Videos With Friends Over Apple SharePlay
There are a few ways to watch YouTube videos simultaneously with friends over the internet, and we don’t mean the ol’ “1-2-3 play!” trick. Google Meet can do this as long as the presenter has YouTube Premium, but that’s not surprising as a fellow Google product. You may not know it also works with Apple SharePlay.
Apple SharePlay allows people with iPhones, iPads, or Macs to watch content together over FaceTime. In early 2023, the functionality was added for YouTube Premium subscribers. Technically, you can do this without Premium by screen sharing, but it works a lot better with SharePlay.
Listen to YouTube With the Screen Off
One of the lesser publicized features of YouTube Premium is the ability to listen to any video in the background on your phone with the screen off. This is obviously useful for music videos—though the included YouTube Music Premium is probably better at this—but it’s also great for video podcasts and long videos in general.
All you have to do to take advantage of this feature is be a Premium subscriber and leave the YouTube app while on your phone. If the feature is enabled (Settings > Background Play), the video will continue playing audio with the screen on or off.
Download Videos for Offline Viewing
Similarly to Spotify Premium, YouTube Premium includes some handy features for offline viewing. After all, you may not always have an internet connection when you want to watch some videos.
You can download a video for offline viewing in the YouTube mobile app. Simply tap the three-dot menu icon underneath the video thumbnail and choose “Download” from the menu, or tap the “Download” button underneath the video’s title while watching it. You can find these downloads on your “Library” tab.
Chances are you already knew about a couple of these features, but hopefully, we’ve helped you learn something new. YouTube Premium is a pretty great subscription, though it’d be nice if you could get it without the bundled YouTube Music, too.