YouTube Removes Tap Seekbar-to-skip Feature

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What is the Problem?

A few small tweaks to the YouTube player UI for Android have caused a few issues of touch responses. In summary: it’s hard to touch stuff right.

YouTube app for Android has been experimenting with this new player UI for some time now, but as it rolls out to more and more users, some issues are cropping up. The progress bar is now a little too responsive given the placement of the “full-screen” button in the portrait UI. 

The new YouTube UI places the “full-screen” button directly above the progress bar for the video, whereas previously this button sat to the right of the bar.

The newer layout changes this up, obviously, and the end result is a lot of accidentally fast-forwarded videos.

Instead of pressing the full-screen button as intended, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll accidentally trigger the progress bar instead and seek to the end of the video – which is understandably very annoying. Granted, it’s really only a problem in portrait view, as in landscape, the full-screen button still resides to the right of the video progress bar.

What is the Solution?

A YouTube app update tries to remedy that problem by preventing the bar from responding to single taps at all — you now need to hold and slide your finger to seek.

If that seems familiar, this behavior is default on the iOS YouTube app and also first surfaced on Android back in 2018, when YouTube said it was an issue that it eventually fixed. It looks like the developers have now decided that this behavior is actually beneficial to avoid frustrating accidental scrubs on Android, too. 

The New Seek Bar

The new seek bar behavior makes a ton of sense on paper, but it seems buggier than the previous version. When you tap to seek, the video buffers for a second without losing its current position. There is also no tutorial or indicator alerting you that you can no longer tap to seek. This could have helped understand that this is not a bug, but a feature.

The new seek bar behavior appears to be rolling out as a server-side change. You could be particularly annoyed by the missing tap-to-scrub functionality. Users can revert to the pre-installed version of YouTube by uninstalling all updates. 

Users could possibly miss out on new features. Additionally, older versions could stop functioning at some point. 

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