Tired of the way YouTube promotes mainstream media? Or how it removes videos without warning and doesn’t let you listen to podcasts in the background? With the right tools, you can fix all these YouTube failures and limitations.
Just because YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing platform, doesn’t mean it’s free from flaws.
If anything, the YouTube trouble list grows as it tries to be a place for everyone. This often means that it has to comply with the demands of big advertisers and brands while sacrificing the user experience.
But don’t worry, enterprising users and developers provide solutions to all the restrictions imposed by YouTube.
SEE ALSO: How to Delete or Restore YouTube Video
1. Defuse YouTube (Chrome, Firefox): remove mainstream media from YouTube
It’s not your imagination, you tend to see more mainstream media content on YouTube these days. In fact, YouTube is often criticized for sidelining independent channels (which made the platform so great in the first place) and for promoting mainstream media instead.
De-Mainstream YouTube is a browser extension that hides these mainstream channels. There is a long list of channels from different countries including from the BBC to Fox News. Besides traditional media, you can hide new media like Vox as well as talk show channels like The Late Show or The Daily Show.
Thanks to the browser extension, you can choose which ones you want to block or allow, or click the simple button Select all to hide them all. If a channel you don’t want to see isn’t listed yet, you can ask the developers by going to the extension’s GitHub page and submitting suggestions as a new issue.
Download: Disable YouTube for Chrome | Firefox (free)
2. PocketTube (Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS): manage YouTube subscriptions
Once you have found some trending and awesome YouTube videos, you need to subscribe to the channel to find out more. Over time, your subscriptions will accumulate. But YouTube doesn’t offer any easy way to manage and organize subscriptions. That’s why you need PocketTube.
It’s one of those apps that YouTube should buy and make it an official part of the interface. With PocketTube, you can create groups in subscriptions and add channels to them. So all your sports subscriptions are in one group, the cooking channels in another, etc. The process of adding strings is as easy as it gets and makes the app easy to set up and run.
Once you have your groups, PocketTube makes things even better when browsing YouTube. You can filter these groups, search within them, or turn them on and off to get exactly the content you’re looking for. An extremely handy switch hides videos you’ve already watched.
The plugin offers other ways to improve the navigation interface, like hiding pop-ups when hovering over channels. And you can sync your preferences with the PocketTube mobile app to browse YouTube on the go.
Download: PocketTube for Chrome | Firefox (free)
Download: PocketTube for Android | ios (free)
3. ListenBox (Web): Turn YouTube into a podcast
The YouTube app does not allow you to listen to a video in the background on your phone unless you have upgraded to YouTube Premium. But with so many podcasts, lectures, audiobooks, and other great audio on YouTube, it gets really boring. ListenBox solves this problem by turning YouTube videos into audio for your podcast feed.
All you have to do is copy and paste the URL of a YouTube video, channel or playlist into the box provided. Then copy your unique podcast RSS feed and add it to your favorite podcast app. While you can use the website without an account, it’s best to use it by signing up to keep the feed syncing across devices.
ListenBox has some cool integrations for Android and iOS that add your RSS feed to the Share menu. So when you come across a cool video and want to turn it into a podcast, share it on the ListenBox link and it will automatically be added to your podcast feed.
ListenBox is free to add individual videos and grab up to 50 videos from channels or playlists. If you want it to grab more than 50 videos, you will need to subscribe to a paid account, which also gets updates for new videos.
4. Floating for YouTube (Chrome): popup panel for YouTube
Sideplayer was one of the best Chrome extensions for YouTube, allowing you to pull out any video and view it in a floating panel while browsing other tabs. Although Sideplayer is no longer available, the Floating for YouTube extension is a worthy replacement.
The Chrome Web Store is filled with several options for this feature, but Floating for YouTube does a couple of things very well. Click on the icon and the pop-up panel is ready in a jiffy. It stays on top, so when you switch tab windows you don’t need to call it back. And it’s easy to move to any part of the screen.
The player also includes basic native controls for YouTube, which several others do not. You can play / pause, control volume, turn closed captions on / off, add it to Watch Later, and even share the link. Floating for YouTube is nothing special. It provides the basics perfectly, and that’s what makes it worth using over and over again.
Download: Floating for YouTube for Chromium (free)
5.Deleted Video Finder (Chrome): Find deleted YouTube videos
Sometimes you will come across a YouTube link while browsing the web. But when you click on it, you only see a black screen with a red logo with an emoticon and a message that says “This video has been deleted”. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? But hey, there is always a way to see it.
You see, nothing is ever deleted on the Internet. Websites like Wayback Machine catalog anything that has been downloaded online to create a virtual backup of what the internet looks like. And an enterprising developer has created a neat YouTube extension to find these videos through Wayback Machine.
After installing Deleted Video Remover, when you come across deleted video, right click on it and choose Find a video . It will instantly launch a Google search for that URL, as well as another tab with a link to the Wayback Machine archive of the clip. Pretty cool, right?
Download: Deleted Videos Remover for YouTube for Chromium (free)
READ ALSO: 8 sites with more than 1000 royalty-free music for YouTube creators
Now fix YouTube recommendations
These apps and tools help get rid of common YouTube failures, but there is a bigger problem that needs a more in-depth solution. If you often find that YouTube doesn’t give great recommendations, you’re not alone.