Jul 27, 2011

Some fixes for slow Youtube app on iPhone and iPad over WiFi connection

Update! : The original Apple built-in app for YouTube has been removed as of iOS 6.  Be sure to go to the App Store and get the new official YouTube app from Google.   This new app is much nicer though it does still seem to suffer from the same ol' problem of slow loading videos.  

One issue that I've run into many times that doesn't seem to have a 100% solid fix is dealing with the really slow loading of YouTube videos using the native YouTube app on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Sometimes it's really slow over a WiFi connection but it will work fine on the much slower 3G connection.  Seems backwards.  The theory is that the native YouTube app is pulling in whatever the highest quality HD version of that particular video is - so it might be loading a very large 720p or 1080p video, which can take some time.

One workaround is to skip the native YouTube app provided by Apple and instead use the m.youtube.com mobile site. The site defaults to "high quality" but doesn't pull in the really large HD versions of videos so it loads faster in theory. Plus it has some nice searching and sorting features that are not present in the native app.

As far as fixing the native app, I've tried all sort of suggestions.  One popular suggestion is to change the DNS servers that your WiFi connection is using.  People have suggested using Google's DNS servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) or some other DNS provider like OpenDNS.  I've also seen people recommend changing channels on your WiFi router or disabling Wireless N and only using Wireless G networks, but there is no way I'm turning off Wireless N just to get some dumb videos to load faster!

But the one thing that DOES seem to work for me is to clear the cache for your Safari browser.  I'm not sure how this is related to slow loading YouTube videos but it does work for me most of the time - at least better than any other fixes I've tried.

How to clear your Safari cache:

  1. Go to Settings app
  2. Scroll down and click on Safari
  3. Click on Clear Cache
  4. Confirm that you want to Clear Cache on next window
Update! : In the latest version of iOS, it seems that the "Clear Cache" button doesn't exist now so you need to hit "Clear Cookies and Data" instead.

Now try your YouTube videos and see if they load any faster.  If it's not working immediately, you might want to trying forcing the YouTube app and/or Safari app to close. (Double-click home button to bring up running apps list. Hold finger on Youtube or Safari until it starts to wiggle. Hit the red X to kill it.)   Or you could also try rebooting the phone.  

I hope this helps!  Please comment if it works for you.  Or do me a favor and click on an ad or two. :)


6 comments:

Mathias said...

Hi, thanks for the tip. Clearing the cache seemed to speed things up! Changing the DNS didn't make any difference for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Task Manger tip. I had new iPad3 for less than 24 hrs and was searching high an low for the workaround for the slow Youtube problem. I could clearly see my Dell laptop downloading from same WiFi so much faster. Closing about 15 instances of apps helped. The DNS change didnt help for me, the Safari History wipe clean did not help for me. I guess the more web enabled apps are up and running, the slower the IP stack will become. I guess nearly all apps maintain somesort of web access, therefore the number of "sockets?" is proportional to number of running apps. So double click button to get control bar - then hold app until it wiggles, and away with it by tapping (-) spot.

Anonymous said...

The iPad3 Youtube app doesnt let me choose the video quality. For example laptop Firefox browser let me click on the settings button. Change from 360p to 240p, helped to keep the download in par with the playing speed. I noticed that some YouTube clips have problems on both iPad and other computer, but it would be great to be able to pick a lower resolution video on the iPad to see the video without stops inbetween.

Anonymous said...

I have an iPhone 3GS running iOS 4 and i was wondering why the the built-in Youtube app is not working. I have done everything correct and it is still running VERY slow. Hope you can help thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks so much for the tip- it really worked for me! i have an iphone 4 and the vids were loading really slowly...but after clearing the cache it sped up drastically..thanks again:)

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks so much for the tip! i have an iphone 4 and the vids were buffering sooo slowly. But after clearing the cache they sped up drastically...thanks again:)