How to Watch 4k YouTube Videos on iPhone & iPad

Sep 25, 2021 - 1 Comment

How to Watch 4k YouTube Videos on iPhone & iPad

Do you want to watch YouTube videos in 4K resolution on your iPhone and iPad? If you have one of the supported iPhone models, you can watch full 4K high resolution videos on YouTube.

Previously, the resolution for the videos played in the YouTube app capped at 1080p HD even if it was uploaded in 4K. Sure, the current iPhone and iPad flagships don’t have displays that are 4K resolution, but they’re still higher than Full HD and support HDR. With iOS 14 and later, Apple has unlocked 4K playback for YouTube by adding support for Google’s VP9 codec.

How to Watch YouTube 4K Videos on iPad & iPhone

First of all, you need to check if your device is running iOS 14/iPadOS 14 or later. Also, make sure you’ve installed the latest version of the YouTube app from the App Store. Then simply do the following:

  1. Launch the YouTube app and try to find a video that was uploaded in 4K to test. You can type 4K HDR in the search field to start.

    YouTube icon
  2. Tap on the video to access the playback menu. Now, tap on the triple-dot icon at the top-right corner, as shown below.

    How to Watch 4k YouTube Videos on iPhone & iPad
  3. Now, you’ll get a pop-up menu at the bottom of your screen. Here, choose “Quality” located right at the top to continue.

    How to Watch 4k YouTube Videos on iPhone & iPad
  4. Here, select “2160p” resolution instead of Auto or anything lower which was pre-selected based on your internet speed.

    How to Watch 4k YouTube Videos on iPhone & iPad

That’s it. The video will now continue playing back in 4K resolution on your iPhone and iPad.

It’s very important to note that not all devices are supported. If you own an iPhone with OLED display, you should be good to go. Then again, my iPhone X doesn’t currently support 4K videos in the YouTube app for some reason, but this wasn’t the case during the beta phase. For now, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11 models, all iPhone 12 models, iPhone 13, and newer iPhone models can certainly enjoy 4K content on YouTube. Considering older models can record 4k video it’s not entirely clear why not all of them can play it back through YouTube, but perhaps that will change over time.

On the other hand, the newer iPad Pro models that support HDR content should also be capable of supporting 4K YouTube videos using the VP9 codec in the app, but we didn’t have the models to test it out. So, if you’re an iPad Pro owner, let us know if it worked for you.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that you don’t need to watch videos at 4K resolution to unlock HDR as they’re available at lower resolutions as well within the YouTube app. However, since the newer iPhone and iPad models have display resolution closer to Quad HD, you should see a visual difference when you switch to 4K.

We hope you were able to take advantage of the 4K content that has been uploaded to YouTube. Does your iPhone or iPad model support 4K videos within the YouTube app? If not, which model are you currently using? Do share your valuable opinions and experiences in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Carol Sandt says:

    My 2018 iPad Pro running iOS 15 offers only this choice for higher resolution:

    Higher picture quality
    Uses more data

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