You probably use YouTube every single day, but it's not something you think about tweaking the way you do, say, Gmail. Yet YouTube is filled with annoyances, like obnoxious autoplay, intrusive ads and mind-numbingly stupid comments (to name a few). Here's how to make YouTube more bearable.
Chrome: Tweak Every Corner of YouTube with the YouTube Options Extension
Chrome users are lucky: You have one amazing extension that fixes all of YouTube's annoyances and then some. It's called YouTube Options for Google Chrome, and it can do all of the following things with just a few checkboxes:
- Set the size and/or quality of every video you visit. The viewing size will actually make the video take up more space on the page without going full screen, while the viewing quality will only adjust the resolution each video plays in.
- Hide ads and annotations.
- Disable auto-play, though you can enable autoplay for playlist videos if you so desire.
- Automatically replay videos when finished (perfect for 10-hour long Nyan Cat sessions).
- Hide the header, headline, video description, comments, video suggestions, footer and playlist sections of the window. This is great for cleaning out the things you don't like looking at. You can also automatically expand the video description instead of hiding it, which works great in conjunction with the "hide comments" feature.
- Darken the background of your videos
- Download videos to your hard drive
- Much more
And if that weren't enough, a lot of these features also work on other video sites, like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Metacafe and lots more. We've actually mentioned it before, and it's still the simplest yet most powerful YouTube tweaker out there, and it'll single-handedly rid it of all its worst annoyances. If you're using Chrome, you need this extension.
Firefox, Chrome and All Other Browsers: Get Rid of Annoyances with the Extensions You Already Have
If you don't have Chrome, you're unfortunately not quite as lucky. Most user scripts and Firefox extensions built for these purposes have become obsolete and are no longer being updated. However, you can still get rid of YouTube's annoyances with some of the extensions you probably already have. Here's what you can do.
Hide Annoying Comments: If you're sick of YouTube comments, you have two choices: use something like YouTube Comment Snob to try and filter out the comments you don't like, or block the comment section altogether with AdBlock Plus. Both options work fairly well.
Stop YouTube from Autoplaying: The only reliable method I've found for stopping autoplay is to just use the Flashblock extension for your particular browser. This will keep all videos from playing until you click on them. Unfortunately, Flashblock blocks all Flash, not just YouTube -- and while you can whitelist certain sites, there's no way to allow Flash on all sites except YouTube. So, it isn't a perfect solution, but it'll get the job done and probably fix annoyances on other Flash-based sites too.
Block In-Video Ads: The best way to block YouTube ads is to use the previously mentioned AdBlock Video extension for Firefox. Unfortunately, it doesn't keep up very well with Firefox's rapid release schedule, so it doesn't currently work with the Aurora or Beta channels -- just the stable one. If you're on Aurora (or you use a browser other than Firefox), you'll have to resort to AdBlock Plus, which doesn't work quite as well -- you'll still have to sit through a blank screen for a few seconds before some videos -- but it'll block the other popup ads just fine.
Automatically Play Videos in HD: Unfortunately, there isn't currently a user script or good Firefox extension to manually set the quality for your videos, but there is the YouTube High Definition extension, which will automatically play each video at the highest possible resolution. This is annoying if you'd rather play at 720p than 1080p, but it's either that or you manually set it yourself, unfortunately.
Got any other tips or extensions for dealing with YouTube's annoyances? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below.