Back in October, YouTube rolled out a major redesign across its mobile apps and web. YouTube for Android is currently testing a more discreet video progress bar that doesn’t always appear red.
12/30 update: Many Android devices and accounts, including incognito mode, show this white progress bar. This continues to be specific to the dark theme, and appears to be YouTube’s attempt to keep his UI out of the way.
original 12/20: On one of my Android devices, the YouTube progress bar (when watching videos passively with the dark theme enabled) is now white/grey instead of the usual red. In this situation, YouTube doesn’t even record how many videos have been loaded.
Manipulating the scrubber or tapping to reveal the controls reverts to the previous behavior and completes the loading state. This helps fade out the UI, something YouTube has been working on, as seen in background mode.
Outside of the video player, red is used in the main feed and everywhere else, so this change is clearly aimed at the viewing experience. Red will never go away as an accent color on YouTube.
On the other hand, using the light theme on the same device leaves the usual red progress bar. It’s not clear if that’s the intended behavior (not noticeable red on white) or if it’s part of an A/B test.
This change has not been widely rolled out and will only work on that one phone, even if you are signed in on multiple devices.
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