Google announced a feature drop today for YouTube Premium users. Perhaps the most anticipated addition is iOS SharePlay support, which follows the release of Google’s equivalent feature in Meet video calls.
The company says iOS SharePlay support will arrive “in the coming weeks” for YouTube Premium subscribers. Apple launched SharePlay in 2021 in the wake of pandemic lockdowns, allowing people to watch media together through Apple’s video-calling service. However, YouTube is late to the party as a long list of video streaming services — including Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu and many others — 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.
Google is also adding YouTube video queuing to mobile devices. Premium subscribers can now add new videos to watch next — 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.
Also arriving “in the coming weeks” is enhanced 1080p streaming 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 (YouTube sends more data per second), 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.
Premium subscribers on Android, iOS and the web will also soon see a new feature that lets them easily 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. Of course, if you don’t want to waste storage, you can turn off the feature in the app’s settings menu.