YouTube is beginning to conduct testing on its Youtube Queue System for mobile devices running iOS and Android. Users who control their Chromecast with their phones might recognise it, as will those who use the YouTube Music apps, but now YouTube Premium users who opt-in to the test will be able to add videos to a stack that acts like an impermanent playlist. The feature has been available on the web for years now, and it shows in the YouTube apps under certain circumstances.
You’ll have access to a new “Play last in queue” button in the menu that shows on video thumbnails after you turn on the Youtube Queue feature (which we’ll cover how to do in just a second). This button is located in the three vertical dots that display on the thumbnails. If you are not presently watching a video, tapping it will create a new queue for you to add the video to if you are not already using one of your existing queues.
When the current video you’re watching comes to an end, the app will begin playing the next film in the Youtube Queue, and it will continue doing so until you have no more videos left to watch. You can also delete videos from the Youtube Queue or rearrange them in the order that they appear. Your Youtube Queue will be removed if you close the player in any way, including by force-closing the application or by hitting the “x” button in the bottom bar (though the app may warn you before that happens).
Gif illustrating the process of adding movies to the queue, rearranging their order inside the queue, and removing videos from the queue.
At the moment, the Youtube Queue functionality can be somewhat sluggish on my iPhone 12 Mini; but, it functions in a manner that is essentially analogous to how it does on desktop.
On December 24th, when I opened the app for the first time, I was met by a screen that informed me that the feature was now available for testing and provided a button that I could use to activate it. (YouTube began rolling out the feature earlier this month; however, the pop-up didn’t appear for me until today.)
If you didn’t get that screen and you’re a Premium subscriber, you can manually enable it by tapping on your profile picture in the top right corner, going to Settings > Try new features, scrolling to “Queue,” and tapping the “Try it out” button at the bottom of the screen. Alternatively, if you didn’t get that screen, you can disable it by tapping on your profile picture.
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This screen for configuring settings indicates that participants can take the test up until the 28th of January.
The test is not necessarily a hint that free users will be able to Youtube Queue up films in the near future. YouTube’s picture-in-picture test for iOS devices was terminated several months before the functionality was made available to the public. I also noted that the functionality isn’t exactly perfect at the moment; at one point, the app was unable to add a movie to the queue, and it seemed to be because I tried to add another one too soon after adding the previous one.
Still, I’m excited to have this feature on my phone; it’s something I use almost every day on the desktop, and the fact that it’s made it to the YouTube Premium testbed gives me hope that I’ll be able to rely on it in the app as well someday. Despite this, I’m excited to have this feature on my phone.