Whether or not you’re planning to upgrade to iOS 6 (though, really, why wouldn’t you?), the new YouTube iOS app is well worth the download. A compact version of what we already find on its desktop app, the new YouTube is superior to the existing iOS YouTube app — and is nearly identical to YouTube for Android, with a few tweaks
A left side panel that includes a channel guide, subscribed channels, and other video content can be accessed by swiping the left side of the the screen. Share functionality that integrates with iOS has been added, as has the ability to view comments while watching a video. Search has been updated with an auto-complete feature that will suggest similar videos as you type in your search query. And tens of thousands of official music videos, a significant change that indicates that YouTube has finally integrated ads onto the new iOS app.
YouTube has been a long-time partner with Apple, providing Google with real estate on all iOS devices for a native YouTube app that sat front and center on the front page of Apple’s mobile devices. When the licensing period ended and Apple decided to part ways, Google confirmed that YouTube would be absent from iOS 6 devices. Mobile usage of the YouTube app on iOS devices could dip slightly due to the lack of a pre-installed YouTube app on iOS devices. Currently, as much as 25 percent of total YouTube views come from its mobile apps, which equates to a whopping 1 billion daily mobile views.
While the change may be bad for Google, it seems like a win for users. YouTube’s native app was noticeably neglected by Apple. Under the terms of the partnership, Apple was responsible for designing the app in the first place based on YouTube guidelines. So the infrequent updates and outdated user interface were Apple’s fault, not Google’s.
While YouTube lost valuable real estate and Google scrambled to design a standalone iPhone app in preparation for the iOS 6 release, Google is finally free from Apple’s regulations, and we can expect regular updates Google develops a product that provides a superior user experience for its users.
For now, the app will be available for the iPhone and iPod touch only, but YouTube has confirmed that its team is working on an optimized version for the iPad, which will debut in a few months. The app was released internationally beginning today, and it can be downloaded here.