Accessible alternative to the YouTube app

iOS & iPadOS

Hi everyone,
I have recently been experiencing issues with the YouTube app on my iPhone 8 running iOS 12.4.3. For example, when I am in the 'library' section of the app, and I scroll to the 'most recent' videos list, VoiceOver is only reading the durations of the videos and not the titles of the videos so I only know what I am watching when I open the video. Furthermore, I am unable to navigate to other sections in the 'library' including the main 'history' section and the 'watch later' section. I am also finding that when I watch a video, VoiceOver is not navigating to the description. Is anybody else experiencing these bugs?
I am planning to report these things to Google (I have waited a while just in case there was an update addressing these issues) but for now, could anyone recommend an accessible alternative? I know I could access YouTube through Safari but I prefer to use apps. If possible, I would like to be able to sign in to my Google account so I can access videos I have previously watched and suggestions based on my watch history. I also have a YouTube Premium subscription so if anyone could recommend an app that supports the features of YouTube Premium (no ads at least) then that would be much appreciated! However, any accessible app that allows me to watch YouTube videos will be fine for now until Google fix the issues in their own app!
Thank you in advance for your suggestions,



Submitted by Remy on Saturday, October 26, 2019

Uplayer was good for quite a while. But ever sine I upgraded to the Iphone XR I haven't been able to log in for whatever reason. They also haven't updated it in quite a long time.

Submitted by Lukas on Saturday, October 26, 2019

Hi, I think most of the issues you described are actually more closely related to usability and UX design rather than accessibility per se.
For example, on my XS Max and iOS 13.1.3, VO does in deed read the titles of the videos in the library section, they are just announced after the duration. You only need to let it talk for a little longer.
Or, to hear the video description, after double tapping on the Expand Description button, you only need to swipe back to the left once and let it read all the information about the video, such as the publication date etc. The description will eventually be read thereafter, too.
But I agree, it would be neat if VO could see the video description as a separate swipable UI element after it has been expanded, so you wouldn't need to listen to the other clutter about the video first, and if the sections in the library could be reached simply by rotor-jumping by headings. That would make navigation a lot faster and more comfortable.

For the last couple of years, I've found myself only using the official Youtube app. I found it has actually become the fastest, most accessible and most reliable to watch all types of videos compared to all the third party alternatives. You only need to learn to work around the UI in a few cases, I do agree about that, but everything I need and you described can certainly be done in the app. It's just not always entirely intuitive and efficient. So yes, they could certainly improve the UI as such. I am just starting to think we need to better distinguish the sometimes tiny differences between usability and accessibility. Especially since I started paying for Youtube Premium Family to get rid of the ads and to be able to just listen to the audio track from the video while having my phone locked and using my airPods, I find this to be the most comfortable experience among all the ones I've tried so far.

Just my two cents. Hope this helps at least a little bit.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, October 26, 2019

I think in my case youtube still acts normally, but I don't really watch videos, and I use youtube studion for my managing of my stuff. But I do believe it reads title, length, etc. I fit does not I'd just have it wat longer. It's annoying but not a show stopper.

Submitted by Luke on Monday, November 25, 2019

I agree with @Lucas's comment. YouTube is accessible but the user experience for screen reader users could be very much improved. Sometimes I wonder if these companies ever have an actual blind person try their products before agreeing on and releasing accessibility features. I'm guessing not, because if any of us were asked to give feedback, we'd have obviously told them to break some of those items (description, title, etc) into their own navigable elements rather than lumping them with other things.