Here’s how to watch YouTube videos without using much data

Rufaro Madamombe Avatar

YouTube Go is an app that aims to help people who are in countries with either expensive data or poor Internet connection to view YouTube video without breaking the bank. If you’d like to use it, you can always download it from unofficial sources as it is not yet available in Zimbabwe from the Google playstore. Anyways, here’s what it can do and some of the things I came across while using it.

Choose how much of your data you’d like to spend

We all like having options especially when it comes to spending our data. Before you watch a video, you get 2 options to select between which quality you want. Either you get a low quality or a standard quality version of the video.

The app also allows you to preview the video before you play it. Even though these features are available on the standard YouTube mobile app, you can’t preview. Furthermore, by the time you get to change the quality of the video to a lower one for data saving, it would have already loaded a part of the video in a higher quality and used your precise data…

Another great thing I noticed is that it shows you how much data each version of quality of the video will require and this happens before you play it. This means that you’ll always be stopped by that useful information and think twice before watching that video.

Save for offline viewing and watch as many times as you want

When you select a video, that prompt we just talked about that offers you to select video quality will also show you a download option. The same information of the amount of data required for each quality is the same that it says it will use for the download.

Something to note is that a person has to go online at least once a month. Well, it said that the first I tried to download a video but not sure whether it will magically make the videos I’ve downloaded because I was offline for over a month.

Share downloaded videos with friends

Once a video is downloaded, you have the option to send it to friends while offline. Even though you can share the video’s offline, the receiver has to connect to the Internet before they watch the video.

This is because the app needs to do a security check that will consume around 15Kb according to Google. Other than that, it is significantly cheaper to just have your data be used for that security check than for you to re-download the video.

What I hope will happen…

That’s all great. However, the app is still limited in terms of the quality options you have access to. The low quality comes out very pixelated that you might just end up watching the standard quality version of the video. If there were more qualities in between then you’d end up knowing which quality is decent enough for you and you can choose that one. I’m not sure if there are more qualities between what they’re referring to as the low and standard ones so if they aren’t then it makes sense.

Apart from that, whether it will make it big if it comes to Zimbabwe is up to the content creators both local ones and international ones. Local content creators should start to create more content on YouTube because it would have become more accessible since people now know how much data they’ll need for 1 episode of the show.

The other reason why it’s dependent on creators is that they are the ones who will decide whether their content can be downloaded and shared. I say this because, on some video that you try to download, the app will notify you that the content creator doesn’t allow you to download it.

Now, remember that this app is still in the test phase so we still don’t know how many features Google plans to put in the app but so far it’s a good and I could end up using it more. However, for content creators locally, it is something to actually consider when making content. Tell me what you think, is this app solving a problem or not? Will you use it now or wait for it to be officially available in Google PlayStore.

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  1. Christerbel Erica Mujaranji

    Thanks,…informative and nice to know, the app could really be problem solving,i will wait until its officially available on Google PlayStore to try it out

  2. tafara mutyaz


  3. Mik

    But the official app works very fine if you want to save also, You can select the quality you want and it stays till you change it again, giving all the options i think from 144p to 4k, you can save most content for offline viewing and a clean interface all safely connected to your account. I was thinking this app can work in some way like how opera works by basically using much less data for very similar quality options. I think i’ll just stick to the official app thanks

  4. Susan Sanfilippo

    Useful app. It would be nice if someone could answer me, can someone write a paper for me? Or you know where to find such sources or apps?