If you were scrolling through TikTok and noticed a new screen-tilt button, you are part of the limited test group TikTok is rolling out the feature to. The new tilt button allows users to shift the screen and watch horizontal videos full-screen on TikTok.
Before the update, if a user uploaded a horizontal video, it would have a black border on the top and the bottom, so that the video could fit the 9:16 ratio. This formatting style was inconvenient for users because it reduced the clarity of the horizontal video and also made it difficult to see as it wasn't full-sized.
Horizontal videos uploaded will still look that way when you come across them on your feed. However, you can now click the button to make a video full-screen and watch it like you would a YouTube video. TikTok has yet to publicly announce the feature but has confirmed the feature is testing to TechCrunch.
This feature further bridges the gap between YouTube and TikTok, which have been dueling with each other to become the go-to video-sharing platform. TikTok is currently ranked higher in the Apple App store at number seven while YouTube is at the twelfth spot.
Upon seeing TikTok's success, in 2021, YouTube introduced YouTube Shorts to the US, which is YouTube's take on vertical videos. The Shorts model is virtually indistinguishable from what you would find on the TikTok app.
In September, YouTube announced that content creators would be able to monetize their Shorts content, another attempt to compete with TikTok and encourage creators to post vertical videos on the app.
TikTok, which began as a short-form video app, has slowly crept into YouTube's space by first introducing 3-minute videos and then, at the beginning of 2022, introducing 10-minute videos. The introduction of a screen-tilting feature just furthers TikTok's attempts to grow from being more than just a short-form video app.