YouTube to keep serving videos on older version of its app

Even as it disappears as a pre-installed app on iOS 6, the company tells CNET it will keep supporting the old app indefinitely.

Casey Newton Former Senior Writer
Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.
Casey Newton
2 min read

YouTube fans who don't upgrade their iOS device to the latest version can relax: the company plans to continue supporting the old iPhone app indefinitely, CNET has confirmed.

A representative said the TV-cabinet YouTube app that has been a part of iOS from the beginning will continue to function on the older devices, even as it disappears as a pre-installed app in iOS 6. Users can continue browsing the selection of videos inside the old app, which are free of advertising.

Users who do not upgrade to iOS 6 will not have to download the new YouTube app unless they want to.
Users who do not upgrade to iOS 6 will not have to download the new YouTube app unless they want to. YouTube

It may not seem like much of a surprise that YouTube will continue supporting the old app, and it's possible that support was included in Apple and Google's original agreement. (Neither company will discuss details of the partnership.)

But it's notable in that YouTube executives have talked openly about chafing under the partnership's restrictions, which resulted in a more limited selection of videos inside the app than they would have liked and prevented them from shipping updated versions with expanded features. It also does not emphasize getting users to subscribe to "channels," a high priority for the company.

If YouTube was able to stop supporting the old iOS app, that would almost certainly have spurred downloads of the new one, which among other things drives revenue to the company with ad-supported videos.

But YouTube hasn't needed much help in that regard: its new app has been the top free app in the App Store from nearly the moment in launched. Millions of people buying iPhones this weekend will help keep it there. And given iOS 6's rapid adoption rate, YouTube might not have much to worry about in regard to iOS 5 holdouts anyway.

Incidentally, iOS 5 users can use both apps, if they like: the new YouTube app works on iOS 5 as well as 6, and the company won't force users to choose one or the other.