Article in App of the Week category.
Play Brings YouTube to the Home Screen
YouTube has a somewhat storied history with iOS. Originally, it was a pre-installed app you’d find on every new iPhone. Apple and Google slowly went…
YouTube has a somewhat storied history with iOS. Originally, it was a pre-installed app you’d find on every new iPhone. Apple and Google slowly went their separate ways as Apple developed its own mapping solution, punting YouTube and Google Maps from the list of apps that show up on a fresh iPhone. In the years since, YouTube has still been cold to iPhone, limiting certain functionality and at times slow to add new features. Rather than waiting for YouTube to do things on its own, third-party developers have taken to creating their own apps. We’ve seen plenty of PiP apps for YouTube and now we have one that helps you save and organize your videos to watch.
Play, available for $1.99, is a great way to bookmark videos for later viewing. It isn’t always convenient to turn up the volume and watch a video. You also don’t always want to bust out your headphones just to watch the latest SNL weekly promo. Just save that for later! Play can help with that.
By using the Share Sheet, you can send any YouTube video to Play. Or even drag and drop multiple videos onto the app if using iPad or Mac. Developer Marcos Tanaka relies on iCloud to sync your list of videos between all your devices.
Once your videos are in Play, you can organize them. They can be sorted, filtered, and you can search within them. Bulk actions allow you to alter multiple videos at once. If you tap and hold on a video you’ll get a contextual menu full of quick actions. This would be better with 3D Touch… I’m still a bit bitter Apple killed that off…
For pro users, you can find plenty of actions within the Shortcuts app. That allows you to build save-for-later features into any automation you have. Scan a website and automatically extract YouTube URLs out and add them to Play. Shortcuts can be run from the Home Screen, automatically, or via Siri.
My favorite feature though is on the Home Screen. Play has a series of widgets that can be added. You’ll see all of your bookmarked videos on these colorful widgets, complete with video thumbnails. Tap and you’ll jump into the YouTube app to watch. Widgets can be customized including the order of the videos and the color to match your Home Screen.
Play is an awesome little app. It’s a simple function yet Tanaka has added so many features to it. It supports so many native iOS features (even dark mode!) and is a universal purchase that works across all your Apple devices. If you binge a lot of YouTube, Play is nearly a necessity
But enough about other people's apps.