YouTube tested a way to sync downloads across devices

The somewhat obscure feature was first sighted back in 2018.
Nathan Ingraham
N. Ingraham|12.21.20

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Nathan Ingraham
December 21st, 2020
In this article: gear

One of the most notable YouTube premium features is the ability to download basically any video for offline playback. According to Android Police, YouTube briefly tested an extension of that feature that would use your account to sync downloads across multiple devices (like a phone and a tablet). The new feature was apparently live in both stable and beta versions of the YouTube Android app, but Android Police was unable to actually make it work.

In the settings menu, a “cross device offline settings” button would show a pop-up asking which device you want to sync as well as a toggle that would “allow downloading to this device.” But testing this feature between two phones didn’t sync downloads between two Android phones they tried it on. We also checked for the feature on a couple different Android phones and didn’t see it show up — whether it’s still out there for limited testing or has been pulled entirely remains to be seen.

This isn’t the first time this feature has been spotted; Android Police also saw code referring to it when they looked at a “tear-down” of the YouTube app back in 2018. Given the fact that it’s still hanging around more than two years later, it’s entirely possible YouTube finally flips the switch on it. But given how small the Android tablet market is, this likely isn’t something that people will use very often. Most people don’t have two phones they’ll want to sync downloads between, and phones are probably the main place where this feature would be used.

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