A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

A simple swipe will soon take users in an endless full-screen YouTube binge. Google recently shared an upcoming update to the YouTube mobile app that allows a swipe gesture to move to the next video, or a swipe to the left to head back. The feature, which has been under development for two years, according to Popular Science, joins gestures like double tapping to skip forward inside the mobile app.

The swipe takes users to the next recommended video and works in both full-screen horizontal mode and on the vertical video page — where users can see what video is next before swiping. Swiping back will go to the previous video and resume play at the last spot instead of restarting the video.

The gesture was added without ditching the usual tap — users can still scroll down to the Up Next section to tap on a recommended video and ignore the new feature entirely. But when that full-screen video starts to bore, a swipe could be faster than going back to that “Up Next” list.

YouTube says the feature, code name “Swipey Watch,” wasn’t taken lightly. During the two years of development, the engineers also consulted YouTube creators during development, before bringing a version to beta testers.

Swipe gestures are becoming increasingly common as a way to navigate mobile apps, now an option for looking through Stories across multiple platforms as well as, of course, swiping through matches on dating apps. Some user experience experts suggest that a swipe may take less energy than a tap. 

But swipe gestures aren’t always widely appreciated by users — last month, Instagram accidentally widely rolled out a test that switched from a scroll feed to a Stories-like swipe option. Instagram pulled the feature after users complained about the swipe-style navigation.

Mobile views now account for around 70 percent of YouTube’s traffic — so it’s safe to assume updating the mobile app experience ranks high on the company’s list of priorities. YouTube Stories recently left testing and launched to a wider base of creators, while recent updates also include an incognito mode and a tool to remind you to take a break from the screen.

The swipe gesture update is expected to roll out this week for iOS users. YouTube hasn’t yet shared a date for an Android launch.

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