YouTube has announced that it will launch a new feature on its mobile apps enabling viewers to watch videos even when they are offline. The new update will be available in November.
The feature will let viewers add videos to their devices to store and watch for a short period of time when they are not connected to the Internet, “so your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute,” according to YouTube’s Creator & Partners blog.
This is a notable development because downloading videos is currently against YouTube’s rules, though there are plenty of third-party apps and browser extensions designed to let people do so.
People who currently want to download YouTube videos to watch later have to rely on third-party () apps and browser extensions. (downloading video is against YouTube’s terms of service). In June 2012, however, YouTube began experimenting with offline viewing by allowing users to watch precached videos in an update to its Android app . YouTube distinguishes between that feature and total downloading of videos by requiring viewers to watch at least the first second of the video while they are online.
Enabling viewers to watch videos offline is the latest of several updates YouTube has released over the past few months to increase engagement on its mobile apps. In August, for example, it made it possible for people to browse explore video recommendations even while one was already streaming, more closely replicating the viewing experience on YouTube’s Web site. These new features also make it more likely that viewers will use YouTube’s mobile apps with their smart TV systems, including Google’s own Chromecast.