7 ways to navigate YouTube like a pro

These tips will help you make the most of YouTube's features for your next viral video binge.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Watch this: How to navigate YouTube like a pro

On the surface, YouTube can be a bit boring. Sure, the videos you watch are entertaining, but the app or website itself doesn't offer much. Or does it? 

As it turns out, there's a whole heckuva lot to YouTube, on mobile and the desktop. Below are a few features you should memorize and put to good use. 

Skip ahead or back with a tap

A quick double-tap on the left or right can jump you forward or backward in a video.


When watching a video on a mobile device, double-tap either edge of the screen to skip back or ahead in 10-second increments.

The left side of the screen will take you back, while the right will skip ahead. Convenient for those times when you didn't hear what someone said, or are bored and want to get to the good stuff.

Tap to view related


See related videos with a quick tap on the screen.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With a quick tap on the screen when a video is playing, YouTube will display related videos just below the playback controls at the bottom of the screen. Swipe up to put them in full view. Tap anywhere on the screen to make the recommendations disappear.

Save a video for later


Can't watch a video right now? You can save it for later.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Find a video you want to watch, but are stuck at work and probably shouldn't? Click on the clock icon in the video thumbnail to save it to your Watch Later list. Or if you've already started the video, only to realize it's best you come back to it later, click on the watch later icon (a plus sign with three lines).

Naturally, you'll want to be logged into your account for this to save.

Try the new design

YouTube is in the process of redesigning the site and wants you to help test out the new look. Right now you have to opt-in to testing out the new design, but that's as simple as visiting youtube.com/new and clicking on the giant "Try It Now" button.

Oh, and there's a dark mode


You can give YouTube a darker makeover.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

I almost forgot part of YouTube's new look is a dark mode. You can activate it with a couple of clicks on the website, which CNET's Matt Elliot walks you through right here. However, if you run into trouble, the bottom portion of Matt's post shows how to activate it using developer tools in Chrome.

Preview a video

Mouseover a video to watch a preview.


If you want to check out a video before committing precious minutes of your life to it, you can preview the video simply by hovering your mouse over the video's thumbnail on the website.

The preview is admittedly short, but it gives you a glimpse of what's behind the play button nonetheless.

Go slo-mo or warp speed

Using YouTube on a PC gives you the added benefit of playing a video in slow-motion or in a sped up mode.

Adjust the speed of any video by clicking on the Settings gear > Speed and then selecting a speed.

Speeds range from 0.25 (super slo-mo) to 2x (warp speed).

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