YouTube video quality

This is how to change the streaming quality of YouTube videos on your Android device

There are several reasons you may want to change the streaming quality of YouTube videos. You may want to downgrade the video quality because you want to cut down on the amount of data watching the video consumes. Or you may want to upgrade the video quality because you want to see more detail. Just remember that the video quality will be limited by the quality in which the video is uploaded in the first place.

After you've signed in to the video sharing service, let's talk about changing the streaming quality of YouTube videos. We'll be using the official YouTube app.

Making the change

YouTube overflow menu

You can make the change when you're actually watching a video. Those three dots stacked on top of each other that you see in the upper right-hand corner of the above screenshot are pretty important (that's called the "overflow menu," just so you're familiar with the term). To bring up the overflow menu, you can tap the area of the screen where the video is playing and it'll pop up. It may also automatically show when you're waiting for the video to load.

I'm in a Beatles kind of mood, so I'll use that in the demonstration.

YouTube gear icon

Once you bring up the overflow menu, you'll see something that looks like this. Select the icon in the middle that looks like a gear.

YouTube change streaming quality

The gear icon will bring up a screen like the one above, where you can select the streaming quality. Generally, the higher the quality, the better the image will look. Just keep in mind that the higher-quality videos will eat up more data, which is particularly important to think of if you're not on Wifi and if you're on a limited data plan. And not every video is uploaded at 720p or 1080p.

After you alter the image quality, the video should start playing again on its own after taking a moment to adjust to the streaming change.

 

Reader comments

YouTube 101: How to change video streaming quality

33 Comments

Anyone else having issues with a Note 10.1 2014 edition that crashes youtube with any youtube update since early June? Every new update, since they've announced being able to select screen resolution, downloads fine, but when i open youtube, a popup window appears saying "Youtube has stopped". So I have to uninstall updates to get back to my version of youtube that works... anyone?

The new YouTube update is awful when it comes to buffering. I cannot watch a 3 min clip without having to pause and buffer every 4 secs. I thought it was BC of my signal. But I'm on vzw with 5 full bars... I cleared my YouTube cache thinking it was the reason... But its still slow when it has to buffer..

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Slow buffering is going to be a result of the connection between you and YouTube. Either Google's servers or Verizon's network could be overloaded, or more likely Verizon is being Verizon and intentionally crippling YouTube performance to try to coerce Google into paying them, just like they did to Netflix.

Does 1080p take that much more data? At home I have a 100mbps wifi connection. I connect via 5ghz channel and with 720p it loads up fast never buffering. When I choose 1080p it buffers every few seconds and sometimes even after pausing for a minute it never loads the video and continues buffering when I restart. Sound normal?

Sorry but 5GHz network isn't ideal for the mobile devices such as your phone. 5GHz is great on throughputs but horrible at penetrating walls. Hence the bad bandwidth even if it tells you that you have a good signal. Try 2.4GHz see if it has any performance difference. 5GHz is good for stationary devices such as desktop, internet TV, xbox, PlayStation, etc..

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I have been a Verizon customer for years on cellular and FiOS and have never had any streaming issues. Nor do I know any Verizon users that have either. I often wonder how much of this is actually a Verizon issue and how much is just people wanted to blame them because they're hated. YouTube is notorious for buffering issues no matter who the service provider is. That's why they started that Dash Playback BS.

Verizon is causing the issue. They are screwing with the YouTube bandwith so it uses less data. Many on veriaon are having this issue.

I have a Nexus 5. I got 1080p two weeks ago, it's been available since June 13th. Google has to enable it for your account.

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I've had it since Android Police posted the apk. I don't have 1080 on my Nexus 5 either its 720, how can I get 1080 ?

I have a Galaxy s 4 and i search 1080p videos all over youtube. And it max out in 720p. Not sure why. I used lte and wifi and i dont have the option to 1080p.

The YouTube app does not render at the maximum possible resolution of the device. Rather, it renders one step below that. Your Nexus 5 has a resolution of 1080x1920, but the YouTube app maximum will be 720p. The top photo shows the 1080p option because the phone is a LG G3, with a resolution of 1440x2560.

Ummmm no my galaxy s5 shows 1080p content on YouTube

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

New feature, slow roll out. I have a Nexus 5 and I got it two weeks ago, but it's been available since June.
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"Generally, the higher the quality, the better the image will look. Just keep in mind that the higher-quality videos will eat up more data, which is particularly important to think of if you're not on Wifi and if you're on a limited data plan. And not every video is uploaded at 720p or 1080p." That's all good to know. Especially since its common sense...

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I like the new update. It now locks me into 720p and loads instantly without any buffer. I have to manually change it to 1080p but most of the time 720p is good enough. Before it would start off at 360p 480p then buffers until it detects my connection is fast enough which took about 10 seconds.

I wish you could select a specific default quality and if that quality isn't enabled then it goes down to the next best. With a default you wouldn't have to select 720p every time for example.

I only have 720p as my MAXIMUM resolution on both Nexus 5 and 10!! Drives me crazy and I want 1080p now!!

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Same, it's killing me having a 1080p screen but not being able to watch YouTube videos in full HD :(

Posted via Android Central App on my N5 with Android L

This needed to be posted?? News slowing down in the world of Android, huh?

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