TikTok is testing full screen horizontal videos

It could make TikTok an even bigger competitor to YouTube.

Anatoliy Sizov via Getty Images

TikTok said last year that it reached one billion monthly active users worldwide, so whatever it's doing is clearly working. That hasn't stopped the ByteDance-owned company from testing and introducing new features, though, including those that put it in direct competition with YouTube. Case in point, its latest experiment that gives select users worldwide access to a horizontal full screen mode for videos they watch on their phones.

The company has confirmed to TechCrunch that users chosen to be part of this test will see a button on square or rectangle videos in their feed. If they tap on that button, the video will expand horizontally to take up the whole screen. TikToks are famous for being short vertical videos, and creators still have to put a "turn your phone" message at the beginning of theirs if they filmed in landscape mode. If the company does launch this feature, they wouldn't have to do that anymore, and other creators might be more inclined to film landscape videos. Of course, a wide release depends on testers' response to the feature, among other factors.

This is but the latest move the company has made in an effort to capture audiences who might like YouTube's format better. Earlier this year, for instance, TikTok extended its maximum video length from three minutes to ten minutes. That said, it's not exactly lagging behind the Google-owned video platform: According to a previous TechCrunch report, kids and teens have been spending more time on TikTok than YouTube since the middle of 2020.