YouTube will look very different if your watch history is off

Watching YouTube on the Google Pixel Fold in Tabletop Mode
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube has announced that it will disable the home feed for users that turn off their watch history.
  • The move is to encourage users to turn on their watch history so YouTube can better recommend videos.
  • The change went into effect on August 8 and will roll out slowly over the coming months.

Starting this week, YouTube is making a very drastic change for select users of the platform. The company announced that it will disable the home feed for users that turn off their Watch History turned off.

The company explains that without the Watch History turned on, YouTube can't recommend videos since it needs to know what types of videos you've watched to get a feel for what you're interested in. This is particularly true for users that "have no significant prior watch history," which is the second prerequisite to trigger the change, in addition to having the Watch History turned off.

"One of the benefits of having YouTube watch history on is that it enables YouTube to provide video recommendations you may be interested in," the blog post states, noting that some users prefer to turn off and clear their watch history.

So if you're someone who prefers to leave your watch history clear, you'll no longer have access to the YouTube home feed. Instead of a home page filled with videos to watch, you'll only have access to the search bar and the side navigation menu, "with no feed of recommended videos thus allowing you to more easily search, browse subscribed channels and explore Topic tabs instead."

YouTube says this will create a more streamlined approach for users that just prefer to search for videos rather than scroll through recommendations, which doesn't sound passive-aggressive at all.

The change went into effect this week on August 8, but it will take some time to roll out over the next few months. In the meantime, users can always change their Watch History settings if they prefer a more lively YouTube home page.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.