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Bring back YouTube to your iPad with Jasmine

When upgrading to iOS 6, you lose the preinstalled YouTube app. Until Google releases a YouTube app for the iPad, I would encourage you to try Jasmine, which is free and awesome.

Note: This post was updated on November 15, 2012 to reflect changes introduced with the app's most recent update.

Google better hurry up. A YouTube app does not come preinstalled with iOS 6, and while Google has released a YouTube app for the iPhone, it has yet to release such an app for the iPad, arguably the better device for watching videos. Google says a YouTube app optimized for the iPad will be out in the coming months, but by then it might be too late because it shouldn't take more than a day for you to come to enjoy Jasmine, a free app for watching YouTube videos that is feature-rich, slick, and responsive.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Jasmine features an interface of swipeable panes. From the left-most pane, you can search for or browse videos, including favorites, playlists, subscriptions, and recently played. From the middle column, you'll see thumbnails and titles of the videos you are browsing. Tap the thumbnail to view the video in full-screen, or tap the title of a video open a third panel to the right, which will display a larger thumbnail of the video with the video's description, comments, related videos, etc. below. There is also a share button, for broadcasting your love of a video via e-mail, text, or Twitter.

Night mode. Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In the narrow strip along the left edge of the screen are two buttons to access settings or a brightness control. Give three quick taps to the top edge of the screen to toggle between day (white background with black text) and night (black background, white text) modes.

The biggest drawback to Jasmine when I first looked at it was the following error message you would frequently encounter when trying to play a video:

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With its most recent update on October 26, however, this issue has been corrected or, at the very least, greatly minimized. I've tried stumping Jasmine by playing a number of music videos, which were typically the type of video that would not play, and I have yet to find a single video that won't play.

So, that's a huge plus and worth a small drawback that the latest update introduced. Before, you could start a video and close Jasmine, and the audio would continue to run in the background. You can still play audio in the background with Jasmine, but when you close the app, the audio stops. To resume playing the audio, tap twice to call up the shortcut menu and then swipe right to reveal the audio controls. You'll notice that the Jasmine app icon is showing. Tap the play button and the video you were watching resumes, letting you listen to the audio. You can also tap the Jasmine icon from this control and the app will open without the video and audio stopping. I have not found another YouTube app for the iPad that lets you play audio in the background.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

I didn't test it, but Jasmine also supports AirPlay. There is also a $1.99 Pro version of the app that provides parental controls.

Which app are you using to watch YouTube clips on your iPad? Please share in the comments below.