YouTube today announced a number of updates that are designed to improve the look and performance of the popular video player on desktop and on mobile devices.


An “ambient mode” changes the background color of the app in a subtle way to match the video that is playing, an effect that YouTube says is meant to draw viewers into the content. Ambient mode will be available on the web and on mobile when the dark theme is enabled.

The dark theme has also been updated to be even darker than before, a change made due to user feedback.

As for the video player, YouTube links in video descriptions will turn into buttons, and actions like share and download have been updated to minimize distractions. The subscribe button has an updated shape and color, with YouTube doing away with the red shade.

On iOS and Android devices, a pinch to zoom feature that’s been in testing is rolling out as of today. Users can zoom in and out of a video, and when the zoom in function is used, the rest of the video stays zoomed until the user zooms back out.

Precise seeking has also been implemented to make it easier to rewind to a specific spot in a video. Users can drag or swipe when looking through a video to see a row of thumbnails that will help them find the exact part of the video they’re looking for.

YouTube says that all of these changes will begin rolling out gradually over the course of the next few weeks.

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