It’s no secret that using YouTube in the browser on your iPhone or iPad is a rather unpleasant experience. And in many ways, YouTube’s “native” app isn’t much better. This is where a new Safari extension called “Vinegar” comes in to save the day.
Update December 4, 2021: Vinegar has 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 switcher toolbar.
- For people with expensive data plans, you can also switch to 144p and 240p.
- You can toggle Theater mode with the keyboard shortcut “T” or click the “Theater” text below the video.
- Supports keyboard shortcuts like “J” to rewind, “K” to pause, and “L” to forward.
- Videos should be playable if you’re signed in with YouTube Premium.
- Videos should be added to your watching history if you’re signed in.
- Fixed a bunch of 3rd-party website embeds.
- Sound no longer plays when you go back to the homepage.
- It should preserve timestamp when you switch video quality.
- Timestamped URLs (i.e. URLs with &t=123) should now work.
- Clicking the chapter links in the description should bring you to the correct time.
- You can now select quality for live videos as well.
- Privacy-wise, it’s “safer” because now it only has access to web content on 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 Daring Fireball). This is similar to the days of YouTube5, which was a similar Safari extension back in the days when the YouTube player was written in Adobe Flash.
Developed by Zhenyi Tan, Vinegar replaces the YouTube player in Safari with a native HTML video tag, bringing a host of associated improvements:
- The removal of in-video ads.
- Prevent YouTube from tracking your play/pause/seek activities.
- Restore picture-in-picture functionality.
- The videos don’t stop playing if you switch to another browser tab.
- You can choose the audio-only stream to keep the music playing when Safari is in the background.
The app works just as you would expect it to, and it makes the experience of using YouTube in your browser significantly more enjoyable. It works both directly on YouTube’s website and on videos embedded on third-party websites.
You can download Vinegar from the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s a one-time universal purchase of $1.99.
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