It’s no secret that using YouTube in your iPhone or iPad browser is a rather unpleasant experience. And in many ways, The “native” application of YouTube isn’t much better. That’s where a new Safari extension called “Vinegar” comes in to save the day.
Update December 4, 2021: Vinegar received a nice update today with a host of new features:
- On videos (and devices) that support 4K, you should see 4K video options in the quality selector toolbar.
- For people with expensive data plans, you can also upgrade to 144p and 240p.
- You can switch to Theater mode with the keyboard shortcut “T” or click on the text “Theatre” under the video.
- Support hotkeys such as “J” to rewind, “K” to pause, and “L” to forward.
- Videos should be playable if you’re signed in to YouTube Premium.
- Videos should be added to your watch history if you are logged in.
- Fixed a bunch of third party website integrations.
- The sound no longer plays when you return to the home page.
- It should keep timestamp when you change video quality.
- Timestamped URLs (i.e. URLs with &t=123) should now work.
- Clicking on the chapter links in the description should take you to the correct time.
- You can now also select the quality of live videos.
- As far as privacy goes, it’s “safer” because now it only has access to web content from youtube.com.
“Vinegar” is a Safari extension for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that was released earlier this month with the goal of replacing the YouTube player with a minimal HTML player (via Bold Fireball). This is similar to the days of YouTube5, which was a Safari extension similar to when the YouTube player was written in Adobe Flash.
Developed by Zhenyi Tan, Vinegar replaces Safari’s YouTube player with a native HTML video tag, bringing a host of related improvements:
- Removal of in-video advertisements.
- Stop YouTube from tracking your play/pause/search activities.
- Restore picture-in-picture functionality.
- Videos do not stop playing if you switch to another browser tab.
- You can choose to stream audio only to continue playing music when Safari is in the background.
The app works as you would expect and makes the experience of using YouTube in your browser much more enjoyable. It works both directly on the YouTube website and on embedded videos on third-party websites.
You can download Vinegar from the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Mac. This is a universal one-time purchase of $1.99.