YouTube IOS App Update Silently Adds HDR Support For Apple’s iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

YouTube has extended its support for high dynamic range (HDR) videos to Apple’s latest flagship phones. The video-sharing service has now made it possible for users to watch videos in HDR quality on their iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max.

Apple released the new phones on Friday, but users have eventually noticed that unlike the iPhone X, 8 Plus, 8, and iPad Pro, the new devices could not play HDR content from YouTube.

The video streaming service apparently did not have the feature ready in time for the launch of the devices, but it did not take long before it rolled this out.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, YouTube introduced an update to its IOS app that quietly added HDR support on Apple’s latest phones. In comparison, it took time for the company to extend HDR support for the older Apple devices. It just rolled out the HDR support for the 2017 iPhones in May.

Apple Insider reported that the update to version 13.37 of the iOS YouTube app has added new options for video quality settings. Compatible clips now show HDR next to the resolution to indicate an HDR content.

The option is selected manually but the Auto quality option can also enable HDR if it is available for a video that is currently viewed.

HDR allows display of a wider range of colors on a compatible screen. The effect makes brighter, detailed, and clearer picture will less color banding.

YouTube for IOS extends Hdr video support for Apple's new iphones
Featured image credit: Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The iPhone XS and XR use OLED display that offers high contrast ratios so they are suitable to view HDR content created by onboard cameras, and those streamed or downloaded to the device through online services.

YouTube did not officially announce the addition of HDR to the app for the XS range of iPhones. The release for the new version simply stated that the update includes improved performance and bug fixes.

Despite the update, iOS device users still have no options to play 1440p or 4K videos. Apple devices still do not support Google’s VP9 code. This means that users of iPhone, Ipad, Apple TV and Mac are stuck with 1080p despite having been built with hardware powerful enough to support higher resolution content.

The codec, described by the YouTube developer blog as “the most efficient video compression codec in widespread use today,” requires less bandwidth to play high-resolution videos.

It still remains unclear if Apple will include support for VP9 in its software and devices.