Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The top 6 new YouTube features and design updates (out of literally dozens)

YouTube is about to look very different. Here's what to expect.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
YouTube on iPhone

Get ready for a brand new YouTube experience.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

YouTube is one of those apps and sites that changes so subtly that most users don't even notice until they look back at a screenshot from a decade ago. 

Also: YouTube's new program means more money for creators and more ads for viewers

But today, YouTube is hoping you'll notice at least some of the three dozen updates it's rolling out to make the user experience more seamless.

These are the top 6 new YouTube features

Many of these updates will be available today, while others will roll out gradually over the coming weeks. 

The new features include new ways to seek, the ability to lock your screen on a video to prevent tapping out of it, new designs for the headers, collections, intro animations, and video descriptions, and incorporating the ambient theme into the light theme. 

1. Press and hold to increase playback speed

Increase playback speed

We all know YouTube videos can be unnecessarily long. Like wanting to get to a recipe on a website, sometimes we just want the host to get to the point. 

Also: How to download YouTube videos for free, plus two other ways

Now, you can press and hold to increase the video's playback speed to 2x. This helps you get through long videos faster when you need to. 

2. New formats for video descriptions

New formats for video descriptions

YouTube is making the video descriptions scrollable and giving creators greater ability to format them. New formatting for social media links will make them easier to find and click, and even include the social media platform's logo for better scannability. This is a big change for creators, but it'll also make it easier for viewers to find the host's information and other creators through the video description.  

3. Sing to search for that earworm you can't name

Search by voice or song

When you're looking for a song that you can't remember the name of, you can play it, sing it, or even hum it, and YouTube will use artificial intelligence (AI) to match that sound to the original song. This feature will initially only be available on YouTube for Android in the coming weeks.  

4. New 'live' animations


YouTube is also adding more visual features. During a video, if a host asks viewers to like or subscribe, these buttons will animate in sync with the words on the video. If viewers press one of these two buttons, then a small explosion will appear. 

Also: 10 best podcasts and YouTube channels for Apple analysis and product coverage

The activity will also look more lively, with top comments that automatically rotate below the video description as well as real-time view and like counts within the first 24 hours after a video is uploaded. 

5. New seeking changes

Seek with ease

If you want to replay a portion of your video, YouTube is making it easier than ever to seek the right spot. Not only are the preview thumbnails larger than before -- if you're pressing and holding the bar to seek a keyframe and decide not to, you can just release to cancel the seek action and return to the last place you were watching. 

6. You Tab

You Tab

The Library tab and your account page are now working in unison and can both be found in the You tab, which will take the place that the Library tab used to have. This change makes for a more intuitive location for your YouTube activity, combining your watch history, playlists, and purchases with your account settings and channel information. 

Editorial standards