NewPipe lets you watch higher quality YouTube videos in India
Most of us are staying at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While it means more work for some and leisure for others, the burden on the internet has increased multi-fold as people seek new ways to keep their spirits high while in quarantine. This anticipation of the burden on the internet has led stakeholders and content providers to throttle the quality, especially of videos, to forestall the internet from collapsing. Following the nationwide lockdown announced in India last week in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we noticed that YouTube also started restricting the quality of videos on smartphones to 480p in the country irrespective of the nature or quality of the internet connection. If you dislike this forced change, an unofficial and ad-free YouTube client called NewPipe is a great alternative to watch YouTube in the maximum quality supported by your phone.
NewPipe works without the YouTube API or Google framework libraries so you can install it on any Android device, even those without Google Mobile Services. You don’t even need a Google account to use NewPipe – in fact, there is no method to log in. You can simply subscribe to the creators you like within the app and enjoy without any restrictions or ads.
As can be seen in the screenshots above, NewPipe allows playing the same video at 1080p 60fps which has been restricted to 480p on the official YouTube app. Trying with different videos yields the same results. NewPipe supports video playback at up to 4K but the highest available resolution may be limited depending on the resolution to your phone’s display – and that’s 1080p in my case.
Other than using NewPipe, you can also use a VPN to watch YouTube videos in higher quality. But note that doing so will cost you a lot of data, so only use a VPN if it either has a reasonably fair usage limit or unlimited bandwidth.
Features that NewPipe offers include direct import of YouTube subscriptions, picture-in-picture (PiP) video playback, and background playback even when the display is off. Additionally, the video player interface supports swipe gestures for volume, brightness, and double tap for play or pause. You can also import your YouTube subscriptions manually to have the same experience with NewPipe.
The latest version, released recently, also gets Feed Grouping for stacking similar channels in a single folder. It also introduces a new mute button which saves you the effort of lowering the volume step by step.