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YouTube might soon allow you to turn off the floating video player

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YouTube introduced the floating video player in version 5 of its mobile app back in 2013, and even though many parts of the app have been redesigned since then and the app has come a long way to version 12, the floating video player hasn’t received a significant change, both design-wise and feature-wise since it was introduced four years ago. Recent reports emerging from some quarters suggest that that is about to change, as the new code in YouTube APK version 12.17 shows that there might soon be an option to turn off the floating video player.

What is the YouTube floating video player?

You might not know what the floating video player is, but chances are that you’ve used or encountered it at least once, provided you’re a regular (or even occasional) user of the YouTube mobile application.

To get to the floating video player, start playing a video in your YouTube application, then swipe down from the top of the video. The video player gets miniaturised to the bottom right corner of the application while the video keeps playing, allowing you to do other things in the app while still watching the video. This is explained in the GIF below.

YouTube floating video player

This isn’t bad, why should it be changed?

This floating video player might not seem bad enough to require a change or toggle-off button, but the reality is that it consumes data without the user being aware of it. I’m not saying that YouTube uses extra background data when you use the floating video player, but the user might not know how to stop the video from playing when it’s in use, or might not even watch the video after miniaturising it while doing other things on the app, which causes unnecessary extra data to be used up.

Of recent, YouTube has been making design changes to its app and website, including the new material design and a new bottom bar layout with controls for the video player. Some additions to the latest YouTube APK file now suggest that the app would soon add an option to turn off the floating video player or allow it to function only when the device is connected to a WiFi network.

How will this work?

Cody Toombs of Android Police examined the code in the latest APK of the YouTube app and found some code that would work to provide an option to toggle the floating video player on and off, or restricted to Wi-Fi networks. This may be done by making it impossible (when the toggle is off) to bring about the floating video player at all as shown in the GIF above, but according to the code, it’s most likely that the video in the floating video player will just be paused when activated.

As there would now be three options for the floating player (on, WiFi only & off), the toggle will be set to On by default. Note that this function isn’t available to Android devices yet, and is only expected to roll out in future versions of the YouTube app, something that might not even happen at all.

Download YouTube version 12.17 APK file

Though you might not be able to see this new feature in the app,  if you’re interested in seeing the code that adds the feature or you just want to have the latest version of YouTube installed on your device, you can download the APK file from APK Mirror and sideload it in your Android smartphone.

How do you feel about this new upcoming feature?

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