Using YouTube in the Safari browser isn’t the best experience. The YouTube app isn’t much better, as it lacks some essential features. A new Safari extension called Vinegar replaces the YouTube player with a small HTML one.
The new extension is developed by And a Dinosaur (via Daring Fireball), which also made a Web Inspector, a developer console for Safari, a tool that redirects AMP pages called AMP Shockwave, and others. Basically, it replaces the default YouTube player in mobile Safari with its own player (similar to YouTube5).
This is important because it removes in-video ads, prevents YouTube from tracking your play and pause activities, adds picture-in-picture functionality, keeps the videos playing if you switch to another tab, and lets you play an audio-only stream. Whether you’re on the dedicated YouTube website or watching a video embedded in another site, these features work.
These features have been missing from YouTube on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, even though they were significant selling points of the operating system for other video apps.
Vinegar isn’t a free extension, but thankfully it’s just a one-time $1.99 payment to get it, so you won’t need to deal with the subscriptions or in-app purchases that are all over so many other applications nowadays. If you’ve always wished YouTube had these critical functions on iPhone, then it’s worth a look.