YouTube’s latest experiment: pinch-to-zoom on mobile


YouTube is testing a new pinch-to-zoom feature on mobile devices.

The experiment is only available to YouTube Premium subscribers and will run until September 1st. At that point, YouTube will decide whether to make this feature permanent.

YouTube Premium subscribers can enable pinch to zoom on YouTube website(opens in new window) Then start using it on their iOS or Android device. (Although I had to restart the YouTube app on my iPhone before the experimental feature could work on that device.)

Given that pinch zoom has been a standard feature of smartphones since the first iPhone debuted in 2007, the feature works as you might expect. It provides a one-point adjustment to the current magnification (1.0, 1.1, etc.) with a maximum zoom level of 8.

There are natural limitations to this feature. For example, YouTube streams at a lower resolution by default on mobile devices, which means there isn’t as much detail to upscale. But even the higher resolution stream appears very blocky at 8x magnification.

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YouTube users may still appreciate the ability to take a closer look at some of the content in the video. For example, the feature might be useful for people looking for Easter eggs, or wanting to confirm their presence in the background of a video so they can brag about being famous on the internet.

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