YouTube occasionally tests new features with small groups of people, before rolling them out to everyone. The service is now experimenting with a pinch-to-zoom feature for videos, but only YouTube Premium members can try it for now.
YouTube Premium subscribers can now test an experimental feature in YouTube for Android, as pointed out by 9to5Google. Tapping your profile picture, then navigating to Your Premium benefits > Try new features reveals an opt-in feature to zoom on YouTube videos. When enabled, the feature adds pinch-to-zoom support for the video player.
The new feature could come in handy for videos re-uploaded from other sources, which often have letterboxing on all sides. The YouTube mobile apps already allow you to crop a video to match your screen’s width — a useful feature for phones with ultra-tall screens — and the experimental option adds even more flexibility.
Even though the option is available on my Galaxy S22, I’m not able to zoom in while a video is playing, so your results may vary. YouTube plans to continue experimenting with the feature until September 1 at the earliest, at which point Google may roll it out to more people or extend testing. It’s only supported on Android for now — sorry, iPhone and iPad owners.
YouTube Premium is a monthly subscription that removes advertisements from YouTube videos (while still paying the creators, unlike ad blockers), enables saving videos for offline play, and adds features to YouTube Music. Google also occasionally allows Premium subscribers to test new features before everyone else.