How to disable YouTube’s new Ambient Mode playback feature

Google today announced the launch of a new design on its YouTube website. After gathering input from “thousands of viewers around the world,” Google decided to give YouTube a “cleaner, more vibrant design.”

YouTube glow videos

One of the most notable changes is a new Ambient mode that displays a glow around the video area that matches the background color of that area to the main color of the video. In dark mode, ambient mode is automatically activated. Google notes that it has updated the dark mode theme “to make the colors really pop on users’ screens”.

The feature, which will be rolling out on desktop and mobile versions of YouTube, seems to be getting controversial. Google claims to have received “overwhelmingly positive reactions from users” during the test, but initial reactions on sites like Twitter or Reddit paint a different picture. Some like the ambient mode, some don’t like it. Some find it distracting, others don’t want it to change the dark mode color scheme when playing videos.

Good news is that it’s easy to turn off the glow on YouTube’s new Ambient mode. This is how it’s done:

On desktop and mobile devices:

  1. While playing a video, select the Settings button.
  2. Locate the Ambient Mode setting in the list of settings.
  3. Turn it off to disable ambient mode for all videos on YouTube (in this browser).

Other options are provided by user scripts. For example, the YouTube Watch Page Update Reverter script resets the watch page to the classic one. Note that it has not yet been updated to reflect the changes announced today. Keep an eye on other user scripts as well.

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Another alternative is to use third party apps or services to watch YouTube videos. NewPipe is an excellent YouTube client for Android, but there are other YouTube client alternatives. Desktop users might want to try extensions like LibRedirect, which redirects YouTube to mirror sites operated by Invidious and others.

Table of Contents

Other YouTube design changes

there is more Playlists now show more detail and have received the same color treatment, according to Google. To reduce distractions, Google decided to turn links in video descriptions into buttons. Common actions, like sharing or downloading, are “formatted to minimize distractions.”

There is also a new pinch-to-zoom feature and a precise search feature available for all users on Android or iOS. Pinch to Zoom allows users to zoom in and out on videos during playback. The zoom level persists once the action ends on behalf of the user.

Precise search is designed to improve the search for a specific part of the video. It works by dragging or swiping while searching. In this case, YouTube will display a series of thumbnails of the video that help users navigate to a specific part of the video.

Now you: What do you think of the design changes on YouTube?


How to turn off YouTube's new ambient mode playback feature

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How to turn off YouTube’s new ambient mode playback feature


Learn how to turn off the new ambient theme mode that YouTube displays in dark mode on web and mobile.


Martin Brinkman


Ghacks technology news


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