YouTube is updating its mobile app to make it easier to navigate through videos. The company announced it will this week roll out a new horizontal swiping gesture that lets you move forward and backward through the videos you’re watching. Swiping forward takes you to the next recommended video, while swiping back will take you to the last video you watched.
The video will also resume where you left off, in that case, says YouTube.
The change is designed to give users more control over video playback on mobile — the platform where now 70 percent of YouTube viewing is taking place.
It’s not the only adjustment YouTube has made for mobile users in recent months. The company last year added other features aimed at mobile users, including short-form creator content called Stories, screen time controls, a dark mode, autoplaying videos on the mobile app’s homepage and more. It also in 2017 added in-app video sharing and messaging, and began its work to better support different video formats when viewed in the app.
Plus, YouTube has been thinking of ways to better use gestures on mobile. For example, in 2017 it first introduced a feature that let you double-tap a video to jump forward or back by 10 seconds. The swipe feels like a natural extension of this earlier feature.
With horizontal left-right navigation, YouTube is making it easier to move through its app, which, in turn, may increase user engagement with its video content. It also could see people start to use the app for longer periods of time every time they launch it — which means more opportunity to monetize users through advertising and other in-app purchases, like merch and virtual currency (Super Chat).
The new feature is rolling out this week to iOS users, YouTube says. The company declined to say when the feature would hit Android.