While Google’s official YouTube app offers a really solid video experience on the iPad, there are a few key features missing that you may be able to find elsewhere.
This includes background playback, advert-free viewing and extensive parental controls simply not found in Google’s official app.
What Do You Get with Google’s YouTube App?
Google’s own native YouTube app is nothing to turn your nose up at. It provides tablet-based access to all the key features that you would expect out of YouTube: easy access to your subscriptions, playlists, viewing history, and liked videos. There is also quick and easy access to the “Best of YouTube” in case you’re stuck for content.
In addition to these standard viewing options, with the Google YouTube app, you can also add videos to playlists, your ‘watch later’ list, cast videos to Chromecast, or share videos to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or via email or message.
You can also upload videos directly from your iPad (not that I’m encouraging you to shoot video with your iPad).
Play Videos in the Background
If you use YouTube to listen to music, you’ll probably want to be able to continue playing YouTube videos in the background after closing the app. With McTube, you can do just that. If you want to multitask using your iPad, simply launch the video or playlist of your choice, play it, and close the app as you would normally.
You can even toggle the video off in the app. When playing a video, hit the headphones button and it will show a screenshot from the video instead.
Unfortunately, with McTube, playlists created on the YouTube website do not appear in the app, but you can create your own playlists directly within the app. Using these playlists will give you constant, uninterrupted background music as you work on your iPad. Playback controls include shuffle, repeat all, and repeat one video.
Other features that you’ll find on McTube include a decent search feature, the ability to browse your YouTube viewing history, closed captions, sharing videos through social media apps installed on your iPad, and full commenting.
One drawnback to using McTube is the inability to skip ads, something the official app includes.
How to Access Videos from the Notification Center
Want to access videos directly from the notification center of your iPad? You can do that with Video Tube. After installing the app on your iPad, drag down your notification center and hit the Edit button. From there, you can add Video Tube to the list.
Launching the app allows you to select the precise settings. You can choose how many videos appear (4, 8, or 12), and pick one of sixteen categories to appear in the notification center (for example: featured, film and animation, travel and events, news and politics or science and technology).
Logging into your YouTube account using the free app allows you to access your playlists and your Watch Later list.
You can also add comments to videos in the righthand tabbed menu, and also browse more videos from the same user, related videos, and comments.
How to Watch Videos Without Ads
Blocking internet ads may be a controversial topic, but it’s very possible to watch YouTube videos on your iPad without ads. One of the easiest ways to do this is with the Ad-Blocker Browser. The free trial app allows you to test the service for a limited time, after which you will have to upgrade to the pro version ($9.99).
With Ad-Blocker Browser, as the name indicates, you have to watch the videos directly from the app’s browser. Any other content you browse using Ad-Blocker will also be ad free.
The pro version of the app also includes Chromecast and AirPlay support, the abiliy to open multiple tabs, and provides a desktop browsing modes so you can view full websites rather than tablet versions.
Enable Parental Controls
There’s a lot of great content on YouTube for “curious little minds” — which is were the YouTube Kids app comes in. Created by Google, the app gives parents far more control (and peace of mind) if they want their children to access YouTube content, minus anything they deem inappropriate.
The app was designed with children in mind, with an easy-to-use interface that kids won’t find daunting. Parental controls allow you to completely customize the app based on what you want your children to see. Additionally, with YouTube Kids, parents can turn off the YouTube search function altogether, limiting what kids can see only to the kid-friendly categories: Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore.
If you’re looking for more kid-friendly content on YouTube, be sure to check out these five learning channels for little ones.
No Offline Viewing?
One feature you’re not going to find in any third party app is offline viewing. YouTube’s API prevents offline viewing or downloading of videos so no app is going to provide that feature if Google doesn’t want it to. There were a handful of third-party apps that used to offer this functionality (and you’ll still find tutorials online) but offline viewing is presently only available in Google’s official app for Android.
Looking for more YouTube iOS apps? Here are a few more unique alternatives to Google’s YouTube app.
Now it’s your turn: how do you best make use of YouTube on your iPad?