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YouTube's Working On A New Offline Download Feature For Multiple Devices

YouTube is experimenting with the ability to download offline videos across devices for some Premium users, before taking the settings down immediately.

YouTube's offline downloads is the easy way of watching your online content without the online part. In an attempt to save data when travelling, users with the app (apologies, desktop users) can pre-emptively download videos from their favourite channels and binge on the go! A useful feature, with limitations as it were. For example, similar to usual streaming, not all videos are available in every region. Therefore, some videos would be unavailable for downloading in some regions e.g in Asia that would otherwise be accessible in the USA.

Certain eagle-eyed users were quickly able to spot the new cross-device service that was taken down within the hour. While not many screenshots of the service in action have been spotted yet, it did appear as a non-functional option in the settings tab for Premium users. Tapping on the cross-device would allow people to select devices that one's account is linked to, then have downloads automatically transferred to them as well. Settings could be further tweaked could allow for cross-downloads to only occur when the secondary devices have access to Wi-Fi, with certain quality limitations, etc.

Speaking of Premium, let's establish what the service is. Formerly known as YouTube Red, it essentially asks users to pay $11.99 per month, and in exchange offers tweaks that most YouTubers yearn for. These tweaks include ad-free streaming, the ability to listen to music with the app minimized, and access to some movies and paid content. It has, however, received a mixed reception in the community, which sees no point to paying for a platform whose appeal lies on free content.

There are certain videos that aren't accessible for the general public, limited only to YouTube's Premium users. This also lines up with the cross-service download feature only being accessible for Premium users. Then again, this feature was only available for a very short while and no official news has been touched upon the subject. So, its actual release has no established timeframe, and could even take years to see the light of day.

While this new feature has only been spotted in the wild now, it has been speculated at for a while. As part of an update teardown conducted in 2018 by certain users, in which code lines were laid bare, certain strings mentioned a "cross_devices_offline" feature, which was immediately speculated to be an update to the offline download feature. And while that certainly seems to have been realized for a short while, it took 2 years to happen. Perhaps users will have to wait for quite a while before the feature finally hits their apps.


H/T: AP.

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