YouTube on Android phones just got a great feature upgrade

This Android phone YouTube upgrade means you'll never need to sit through the boring bits ever again

A person using YouTube on an Android phone
(Image credit: Pexels | Cottonbro)

One of the best things about YouTube on your PC or Mac is coming to Android phones of all kinds, from the best Android phones to the best cheap phones. The video transcriptions that currently only appear when you're using the desktop version of YouTube are coming to mobile. 

That's great news for anyone who appreciates accessibility features, as well as for those of us who'd rather skip through the transcript than watch what should have been a short article stretched out until it squeaks. I can't be the only person who thinks YouTube clips are getting much longer lately, or who'd much rather scroll through text than try and work out where the good bits of the clip are.

The feature is only just starting to roll out, so it might not have made it to your phone yet, but it's coming to all users. You'll know you've got it when you see a "Show Transcript" button below the expanded description of the clip.

Get the update without installing any updates

According to Android Police this is a server-side update, which means that it's happening on Google's servers rather than inside the app code: when it's available to you it'll just appear, no software download required. It's hard to miss: the Show Transcript button is in big capital letters and takes up the full width of the screen.

There's one important difference between the mobile and desktop version, it seems: there's no search feature to help you locate specific things in the transcript. Because the desktop app works in your browser you can use your browser's Find feature (on my Mac that's Command+F; on a PC it's Ctrl+F). But as the YouTube app is self-contained that feature isn't included yet. Maybe we'll see it in a future update.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (