YouTube has new features to try. Here's how to use them

These new additions are available on Android and iPhone.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Ready for new YouTube gestures, chapters and more? 

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For years now,  YouTube  has been your go-to for streaming videos of all sorts -- from music videos, how-to tutorials, product reviews and even movies. In October, the video streaming service, which has over 2 billion users, announced several new features designed to expand how you watch videos.

From adding video chapters and helping you find your place, to reorganizing buttons on the video screen, YouTube's new features bring some welcome additions.

All of these features are available on iPhone and Android in the YouTube app, and some will also work on your desktop browser. If you don't see the new features, you may need to update the YouTube app on your phone.

Here are YouTube's five newest tricks for watching videos.

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Video chapters to easily find sections

Instead of skipping through a video while trying to find the specific part you were looking for, you can now browse through chapters. YouTube's new Video Chapters feature lets you navigate videos by letting you jump forward to a specific section of a video and rewatch a portion of a video. You can either select the video blocks on the video itself, or you can view the chapters as thumbnails. The chapters give a brief description of what the section is about.

Not all videos will have chapters, however. The video creator will need to manually opt in to including them on their videos by listing timestamps in their description. See the video below for an example of what it looks like on your desktop or phone.

Easier access to the captions button

Previously, to turn on closed captions for videos, you'd have to maneuver through several video settings. Now, the option to turn on captions is located on the video. All you need to do is tap the CC icon in the top-right corner of the video screen to turn the captions on and off.

YouTube has also moved the autoplay button to the video screen so it's easier to switch on and off. Currently, it's only available on phones , but YouTube is testing it for desktop.

YouTube has new gestures for viewing videos

You're used to tapping the full-screen icon in the lower-right corner of a video screen when you want to watch a video in full-screen mode. Now you can simply swipe up on the video to enter full-screen mode, and swipe down when you want to exit. 

A note for iPhone users: When swiping down to exit full-screen mode, swipe from the middle of the full screen, rather than the top -- otherwise, you'll end up swiping down your iPhone's home screen.


Many YouTube videos look better in landscape mode, rather than vertical.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Suggested actions

YouTube is rolling out suggested actions to enhance your video-viewing experience. The actions will prompt you to rotate your phone or play a video in VR for a better experience. For example, if the video you're watching would look better in landscape mode, you'll see an action below the video that says Rotate. You can also dismiss the actions by pressing the X button.

YouTube says it plans to introduce more suggested actions in the future.

Bedtime reminders

You can get sucked into YouTube videos for hours without realizing it. Now you can prevent that with YouTube's Bedtime Reminders feature. The new tool lets you set reminders for specific times to stop watching videos.

To set up a reminder, open the YouTube app on your phone and tap your account in the top-right corner -- it'll either be the first letter of your name or a picture. Then select Time watched and toggle the switch on for Remind me when it's bedtime. You'll then select a start and end time, as well as choosing whether you want YouTube to wait until you finish watching the video before sending the reminder. Under the same settings, you can also have YouTube remind you when it's time to take a break.

For more YouTube tips, check out these nine hidden YouTube features we found, six YouTube tricks you didn't know about for watching videos on your TV and five tips for YouTube TV.

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