My most used (nearly) Android app

May 23, 2023

My experience with NewPipe - an alternative YouTube client for Android devices.

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Some time ago I wrote a post about reducing my presence on Telegram. There is also another platform where I spend a lot of time - YouTube! For quite a long time I have been looking for more suitable for me options to consume its content. And in this new post I would like to talk about what I came to in my search.

About four years ago I decided to start paying for YouTube Premium, because I realized that I consume quite a lot of content there and that the functionality of the free YouTube mobile app is not enough for me. However, after some period of using the premium version, I realized that it is not enough for me too. Finally disillusioned with the original YouTube app, I started looking for other options and then found YouTube Vanced. At that moment, it completely satisfied my needs and for some time I actively used it. When at some point Google decided to start fighting against this project and in fact killed it, I like many others switched to ReVanced.

However, at some moment due to increased government’s censorship and repressions, it became quite unsafe to watch and be subscribed to some YouTube channels, the authors of which opposed the state’s official course. Leaving comments, likes, or being seen in some other way interacting with “forbidden” content was also dangerous. And because For normal stable operation, ReVanced required the presence of MicroG and authorization through a Google account, I realized that I needed to look for some more secure alternatives.

And that’s how I found NewPipe! This is also an open-source alternative mobile client for YouTube, which DOES NOT require a Google account to work. I can also note the following features (although many of these are also in ReVanced, and in the original YouTube (Premium) app):

  • the ability to import a list of subscriptions from your YouTube account,
  • quite flexible appearance settings (for example, you can choose what you want to see on the main screen and which other tabs to show - your subscriptions, trends, new items, playlists, etc.),
  • subscriptions can be sorted by groups,
  • video can be launched in a window or watched (or rather listened to) in the background and with the turned-off screen,
  • you can download videos or audios in different formats, and even its subtitles,
  • the absence of those fucking YouTube Shorts 🔥🔥🔥,
  • in addition to YouTube, it supports also PeerTube instances and SoundCloud,
  • you can collect videos into playlists, as well as bookmark other people’s playlists from YouTube,
  • videos play without YouTube ads,
  • and there are also a lot of different forks, for example, with built-in SponsorBlock.

Well, the last point is rather controversial from an ethical point of view, because for many authors on YouTube, earning from an advertiser is really very important, but almost always you have the opportunity to support authors with donations.

This list is not exhaustive but only includes what is important for me personally and what I could remember. A complete list of their features can be found on the official website. But overall I am very happy with this app and would recommend it to anyone who cares about privacy on YouTube. And while Google doesn’t start more actively trying to drive everyone into their own app or try to close/break NewPipe, I will definitely continue to use it!

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