YouTube is awesome. It’s the best video-streaming website for general purpose videos, and it’s choc-a-bloc full of great features. But with a few tweaks, it can be even better.
The many problems with YouTube are well documented, from a comments section that often draws trolls and miscreants, to more benign annoyances like the cluttered and distracting interface. Most of these can be solved with the use of extensions and add-ons for a browser. Some of them require third-party websites, but it’s still easy to do.
1. Healthy Productive YouTube (Web): Remove Distractions, Focus on Good Content
YouTube can be a major source of distraction and an endless rabbit-hole in which you keep finding new things to watch. Healthy Productive YouTube is a simple userscript that seeks to fix that problem.
Userscripts are an easy option to customize how a website appears to you. You can use Stylish to install Healthy Productive YouTube in your browser. The script removes the “Trending” tab from the homepage and replaces it with content that you already subscribe to and want more of.
Similarly, it removes distractions like recommended videos, “Watch Next”, and the comments section, so that you are simply watching the video you came to watch, and don’t get involved in an argument with a stranger on the internet.
Download: Healthy Productive YouTube (Free)
2. Tune by Google (Chrome): AI to Remove Toxic Comments
Google’s experimental think-tank Jigsaw released a new tool to combat the rise of toxic comments on the internet. Tune is a Chrome extension that promises to make comments more productive and positive.
Tune uses Perspective, a machine-learning tool that “reads” comments and figures out how they might affect the conversation. You can set Tune to show it all, blaring, loud, medium, low, or hide it all. In the settings, you can choose to filter only toxic comments or try the “experimental” filter which filters comments that are profane, sexually explicit, insulting, or identity attacks.
Tune works on more than just YouTube, and takes a little while to work on each page. After a video page loads, wait about 10 seconds before you scroll down to check the comments. Tune will have spruced things up by then.
The extension also works for several other comments-based sites on the internet, including Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.
Download: Tune for Chrome (free)
3. Mirror The Video (Web): Flip Any Video Horizontally
YouTube is excellent for all kinds of demonstrative tutorials, whether it’s learning how to dance or someone showing you exercises. Mirror The Video makes these better by flipping the video horizontally.
What you see from a person’s demonstration on screen can be difficult to follow, since it’s an inverse image. When they are facing you and go right, you instinctively go left. A simple flip of the video will have them say “right” and mean your right.
Mirror The Video works fast to flip any YouTube clip. Simply change the “youtube.com” part of the video to “mirrorthevideo.com” and the app will take care of the rest.
4. Yout-ube (Web): Make Any Video Full-Screen, Ad-Free, and Repeat
YouTube has a lot of non-skippable ads that show up at the beginning, end, or even sometimes in the middle of a video. If you’d rather not have your experience ruined by these, just add a dash between the letters “t” and “u” in the URL, and press enter.
Yout-ube takes any video and turns it into a full-screen video without ads, and on endless repeat. Yout-ube also works with videos banned in your region, so you can use it as an effective bypass
The endless repeat part might not be particularly useful all the time, but if you have a clip that you need to keep showing for the duration of an event, this would be a quick and easy way to do it.
If you like this, you should also check out other awesome YouTube URL tricks.
5. Bookmark It (Chrome, Firefox): Add Bookmarks Within Videos
YouTube plays host to long videos, including full-length TV episodes, documentaries, and even full movies that you can watch legally and for free. Bookmark It lets you add bookmarks within the video, along with notes, so that you can quickly jump to that point.
After you install the extension and sign up, while watching any video, press “b” and add a note. The moment you press Enter, it’ll be automatically saved and the video resumes playing too. It’s perhaps the smoothest and most seamless way of saving points in a video, while still enjoying your viewing experience.
You can check out these bookmarks later on any browser, as Bookmark It syncs across computers by using your Google login.
The Best YouTube Extensions
These add-ons, web apps, and extensions are all about quick tweaks to make YouTube better. If you like these, there are a whole bunch more that you should check out.
Extensions and add-ons are the easiest way to make YouTube behave just the way you want it to. You will find a fix to almost every common problem, such as not having videos autoplay as soon as you open them, or pause videos when you switch to a new tab. You can install individual extensions for them, or all-in-one solutions.
Start with this list of the best Chrome extensions for YouTube, and then search the Chrome Web Store for any other aspects you want to tweak.