January 27, 2023

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YouTube is testing its Queue system for its iPhone and Android apps

2 min read

YouTube is starting to test out its queueing system on iOS and Android. The feature has been available on the web for years now, and shows in the YouTube apps under certain circumstances — users who control their Chromecast with their phones might recognize it, as will those who use the YouTube Music apps — but now YouTube Premium users who opt-in to the test will be able to add videos to a stack that acts like an impermanent playlist.

After you turn on the feature (which we’ll cover how to do in just a second), you’ll have access to a new “Play last in queue” button in the three vertical dot menu that appears on video thumbnails. Tapping it will add the video to the bottom of your queue — or will create a new queue if you’re currently not watching a video. Once the video you’re watching ends, the app will starting playing the next video in the queue, and keep going until you run out. You can also rearrange videos in the queue, or remove them. If you close the player, either by fully quitting the app or tapping the “x” button in the bottom bar, your queue will be deleted (though the app may warn you before that happens).

At the moment, the feature can be a bit pokey on my iPhone 12 Mini — but it largely works the same way it does on desktop.

When I opened the app on December 24th, I was greeted with a screen telling me that the feature was now available to test, and a button to turn it on. (YouTube started rolling out the feature earlier this month according to Android Police and 9to5Google, but the pop-up didn’t show up for me until today.) If you didn’t get that screen and you’re a Premium subscriber, you can manually enable it by tapping on your profile picture in the top right corner, going to Settings > Try new features, then scrolling to “Queue” and tapping the “Try it out” button.

According to that settings screen, the test will be available until January 28th.

The test isn’t necessarily a sign that non-paying users will be able to queue up videos anytime soon — YouTube’s picture-in-picture test for iOS ended months before the feature started rolling out. I also noticed that the feature isn’t exactly polished right now — the app failed to add a video to the queue at one point, seemingly because I tried to add another one too soon afterwards. Still, I’m excited to have this feature on my phone; it’s something I use almost every day on the desktop, and the fact that it’s made it to the YouTube Premium testbed makes me hope I’ll be able to rely on it in the app too someday.

Update December 24th 5:56PM ET: Added context that the YouTube Music app already has a queueing system.