How to Preload YouTube Videos in Android?

If you are an Android user, YouTube must be one of your favorite applications. YouTube experience in Tablet or a Smartphone is way better than in computer. But YouTube is a bandwidth intensive application. If you want to stream a video with no interruption you need high speed as well as reliable broadband service.

When you are at home, you may have high speed, highly reliable fiber optic and Wi-fi router. But when you are on the move it’s not the case. Mobile broadband services are fast but not really reliable. If you try to stream YouTube video on the move most of the time you won’t be able to enjoy uninterrupted video streaming.

Best thing you can do for this is download YouTube videos when you are home and store them in your phone. This is not allowed and even if you come up with a workaround still it’s illegal. But Android YouTube app has come up with similar and smarter solution for this problem.

How-to-Preload-YouTube-Videos-in-Android

How Preload Video Feature Works?

After you enable preload video feature in YouTube android app, it will automatically cache videos if you are in a Wi-fi zone and charging. This could be your home or may be public hot spot, everything happens in background. When you are away from a Wi-fi zone you can watch preloaded videos. YouTube app is not preloading videos using mobile data connection. It’s only using Wi-fi.

How to Enable Preloading Videos?

  • Make sure you have latest YouTube app in your Android device.
  • Open the YouTube app and then go to Settings -> Preloading

How-to-Preload-YouTube-Videos-in-Android-Settings

  • There you can select what are the videos to be preloaded.
  • Given options are Subscriptions and Watch later list. Check them as appropriate.
  • Preloaded videos will be indicated with down arrow in a circle.

How-to-Preload-YouTube-Videos-in-Android-Preloaded

  • Now whenever you are in a Wi-fi zone and charging your phone, YouTube app will preload above selected videos. So you can enjoy them later with no interruption.

The best configuration you can come up with is preload watch later list. Then all you have to do is add videos to watch later list and they will be preloaded. If you select subscriptions to be preloaded make sure you have only few subscriptions or it will consume massive amount of bandwidth.

Always remember, preloading video is not a solution for you to watch video when you have no data connection at all. In that case YouTube app won’t even start properly.

It’s a great idea to preload videos in home wi-fi and watch them on the move without wasting mobile data cap. I have tested this on Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. It worked just fine. You may try this, may be in a different device with another version of Android and share your experience as a comment below.

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37 Responses to "How to Preload YouTube Videos in Android?"

  1. Aswani says:

    Hi Mailnda…thanks for sharing this useful tip. I am going to set the same in my youtube app. One of my friends was asking me for an app to download youtube videos on android device. I told that there isn’t such app. Let me know if there’s any. Thanks..!

  2. Alan Peery says:

    I’ve seen elsewhere that the downloading device must be charging to download videos. This is probably a sensible thing for a device that is a phone, less so for a tablet that has a big battery.

    For a YouTube downloader, check TubeMate on the Amazon Apps marketplace.

  3. Flori says:

    Does the Youtube App have to be running for preloading to work? Or does it also work when its closed? Ideal would be, to add an option to just preload the latest “x” videos in a channel or even better in a playlist.
    I watch videos of a guy thas publishes 8 videos a day, and already has hundreds of videos in his channel. Preloading these would not make sense. But preloading all videos of the last 1-3 days. That would make sense. Possibly an idea for future versions.

    • It works as a background process. So you need not to keep the app open.

      There is such a feature, still I couldn’t figure out the limit. But I have noticed that it’s not pre-loading few days old videos in my subscription list.

      I’ll try to find it’s limitation and let you know soon. :)

  4. Yasser says:

    I tried this the other day and it works. But it seems to me that once the phone stops charging, the videos stop preloading. Can you confirm this? Thanks.

  5. Mailer2010 says:

    This Youtube App for Android need to be re-designed. The preload-function is absolutely useless.

    For me, I add several (4) videos to my watch later list. It only preloads 1 video. If I add a new – fifth – video, the preloaded data of the other video is deleted, and the last added video is preloaded. So this feature is useless.

    • It’s not a polished feature but not completely useless. I have enabled channel feed preloading. so in the morning I have many videos ready to play without buffering.

      I know, too bad that you can’t set preloading buffer size of number of videos.

  6. babs says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the preloading guide. Its better than the FAQs.

    A question: I have downloaded a video that is 2 hrs long. I can’t watch the whole video in one sitting. So if I play-pause YouTube app more than twice, then the preloaded video gets deleted. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Tx
    Babs

  7. kishan patel says:

    Hi,

    A quick question. Where do the videos save after I have preloaded them?

  8. Rick Linhart says:

    I am seeing where I have multiple videos in the Watch Later folder show green and some white (to be downloaded) arrows. Then later in same day all arrows gone except for maybe one. Does adding a new video to this folder remove the status of previously cached videos? As of this writing I did unplug the charger cable. Does that have some effect on status?

  9. Rick Linhart says:

    Update: After plugging in charge cable many previously cached videos started recaching (white arrow). Some show no arrow. So it seems you can lose status bynot watching soon or unplugging cable or ssomething. This service is obviouslyflaky and confusing. I wish YouTube would better explain how it works. My thought to cache at home then watch at a hotel is not panning out! PS. I am using a tablet, not that it should matter.

  10. Rick Linhart says:

    So now lately I have noticed that when my tablet is NOT plugged in I am seeing some videos showing the green arrow indicating that video has been cached. Now as long as I have a WiFi connection it does indeed play. However, it does NOT indicate it is playing in HD mode. So…some progress and the videos are still plenty watchable. Once plugging in again videos indicate they are playing in HD mode.

    • Yeah, While caching it’s showing a white arrow and once it done it turns to a green arrow. When caching it uses default quality for Wi-Fi which is HD and not showing while it’s playing.

      I noticed that it’s start caching first 7 videos in subscription feed. Still unclear what will happen once a new video comes in to subscription feed while preloading.

  11. Bobk says:

    It’s still not working for me. I selected a video to preload last night, by adding it to my watch later list. I woke up this morning, and the video was in my watch later list, but it had not preloaded (there was no green or white arrow). The video underneath it preloaded just fine, and they are both from the same author, whom I am subscribed to.

    What gives YouTube? Suck less please!

    • You can check whether preloading is working properly by plugging the phone to charge and open YouTube app. You should be able to see white arrows on videos in subscription feed or watch later list depending on configuration.

      In my Galaxy Nexus it’s working fine. May I ask what is the device you are using?

      • Bobk says:

        I’m using a Galaxy S4. The phone IS plugged in, and connected to WIFI. I’m the senior help desk analyst for a large corporation, so I know my tech. I’ve confirmed all of the necessary settings, preloading is set to enabled for my watch later list.

        What’s strange is that the preload feature will randomly work. I’ll look at my videos, and two or three of them will be fetching, while one of them is doing nothing, no indicator symbol at all. It’s very odd. I’d attach screenshot if I could. I think it’s a combination of my phone, and the app.

  12. Rick Linhart says:

    Bob, I can tell you that you won’t see all of your Watch Later videos cache at the same time. I usually only see about 5 our so that will be fully cached at one time. As for the Feed list, I think it seems to only grab newly posted videos. Imagine all YouTube users having ALL off their subscriptions caching in full PLUS the Watch Later list…YouTube’s pipes would be bursting trying to serve up all that content.

  13. sean matrai says:

    ok just to summize some things prior to my questions..
    these get saved as cache files, not playable with a standalone media player.. i understand that.. also as of this time, there is no setting for how much space to cache for videos..

    … but it is known where they are cache’d so, hence, my question —

    can someone make an app to at least allow us to delete individual cache files of videos that, maybe, we no longer need cache’d so that others we want can be stored??

    • It’s not that controllable. You can’t purge single video. Only thing you can do is clear all cache.

      In Android app data you can find YoTube cache. But those files are pretty much meaningless without YouTube app.

  14. jackson says:

    I tried this on my android but it won’t preload. Is this because of the length of the video or something else?

  15. James says:

    I have an Alcatel OneTouch Fierce and while YouTube is working great, the pre-loading feature only pre-loads about half of my watch later videos. Is there a reason for this?

  16. Johnn says:

    First, youtube forbids other apps to download their videos on android. 2. their watch later feature on their app is terrible: it destroys randomely already preloaded videos and it makes no sense at all.

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