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Top 8 YouTube Music app tips and tricks to make the most out of your subscription

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  • 11 min read

YouTube Premium is available in dozens of countries and was launched earlier this year in India at INR 99 for either YouTube Music app or YouTube app and INR 129 for a combination of the two. YouTube Music offers ad-free song listening experience as well as the ability to play songs in the background or on a locked screen. It can be customised manifolds, and with the latest update, YouTube Music will also be able to play the songs saved on your device as Google phases out its failed Play Music app.

YouTube Music is currently available in India for a month-long free trial and a monthly subscription fee of INR 99 after that, unless you plan to go for the combo at INR 129 — which is a pretty sweet deal if you want an ad-free experience with added features such as PIP mode across your YouTube experience. And it’s even sweeter if you’re a student or wish to take the family plan, which is available at INR 59/month and INR 149/month, respectively.

If you’ve just started using the YouTube app, have been using it for a while or are going to buy a subscription soon, here are the top seven tips and tricks that you should check out to make the most of your subscription while saving your data and securing your privacy.

Before moving ahead, let’s quickly go through the steps required to get to the YouTube app settings, which will be needed in every tip mentioned here in the article. From the Home, Hotlist or Library tab in your YouTube Music app, click on your profile picture on the top-right of the screen. Then on the next page, tap on Settings.

Also read: How to share a YouTube video from a specific time

Adjust audio quality: Better the quality, better the beats

Music always sounds better in the quality recorded by the artists — isn’t that how they intend it to be? So, if it has to be music to your ears, it ought to be in the highest quality possible. To make the most out of your membership, it’s vital that you switch to high-quality audio or at least normal quality — low is just disrespecting the track.

If you’re worried that your data might run out, YouTube Music has got you covered with separate settings for audio quality over mobile network and WiFi. So, if you’ve got a metered WiFi connection or limited data on your mobile, you can set the sound quality to a lower setting. But if you happen to be in India and enjoy virtually free internet, keeping the audio quality to Always High comes highly recommended.

  • To control the audio quality of your YouTube app, go to your YouTube app’s settings and find Audio quality on mobile network and Audio quality on WiFi. 
  • A pop-up menu will be displayed when you tap on either with four options — Low, Normal, High, Always High. Tap on Always High to get the best music quality. If you’re running a bit low on data on either of the connections, you can choose a lower setting.

Ps. For those who’re low on internet data, scroll down to the last tip of the article, where we explain the best possible ways to save your data while using YouTube Music.

Also read: Top 5 websites to identify songs

Play files stored on your device

If you’re an old-school tech user, have been through various iPods or MP3 players and happen to travel frequently, you know that spotty internet connection is real and you can’t always rely on online services as you might not be able to stream music at certain places with low or no internet connectivity. In such cases, the songs on your device are the only respite, and I kid you not, they’re essential.

To enable YouTube Music app to read music files on from your smartphone, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • In your app Settings, tap on Library and downloads.
  • On the next page, toggle the switch on beside Show device files.

YouTube Music app will ask for your permission to access your media files, and once you allow it, the app will be able to show and play the music files on your phone — just the way Google Play Music did. But there is a catch. Your device files can’t be added to the same playlist or playing queues where YouTube Music songs are already added and playing. These songs can’t also be cast to another device.

Now with that out of the way, here we’ve mentioned how to find your device songs on YouTube Music app, and you don’t need to access app settings for these. To find and play files from your device on YouTube Music, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Tap on the Library tab at the bottom of the screen on the YouTube app.
  • Tap on Songs
  • On the next page, tap on Device Files

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Enable Family-friendly/NSFW mode

YouTube Music has this cool feature called Restricted mode that will hide videos that have been flagged by the users or by YouTube as inappropriate content. Although this feature isn’t a 100% accurate, it will still filter a significant majority of videos that you wish to avoid playing when with family, around kids or at work. To switch on the family-friendly NSFW Restricted mode, go to the YouTube Music app’s Settings, then scroll down to find Restricted mode and then switch on the toggle button.

Enhance your privacy

YouTube Music also lets users control how much of their activity data is saved and shared with Google. If YouTube Music app’s offline mixtape feature (now Smart downloads) good enough for you, then you don’t need your watch, search or location history on the YouTube Music app to be saved. Even if you wish to save your search and watch history, you can do so without that influencing your recommendations.

To stop the YouTube Music app from saving your watch history, search history and location history, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Go to your app settings, then scroll down and tap on Privacy & Location
  • On the next page, you can switch on the toggle for Pause watch history and Pause search history to stop the app from saving your data related to those two things. You can also stop location or activity-based recommendations by switching on the toggle buttons beside them on the same page.
  • Click on Location History to pause the app from saving that; you’ll be redirected to your Google account settings, where you can switch off the toggle button to pause location history from being saved to your account.

If you wish to keep your videos, subscriptions and saved playlists private, tap on Manage account privacy > History and privacy. You can do all of those mentioned above, as well as clear watch and search history. You can also switch your location in the YouTube app on the same page by tapping on Account and then Location and control the Restricted Mode from here as well. You can also manage notifications here.

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Increase/Decrease seek time

If you’ve been a YouTube user for some time, you must already know that double-tapping on either side of the screen reverses or forwards a video by 10 seconds. YouTube Music app allows you to control the seek time with five additional options — 5, 15, 20, 30 and 60 seconds. To modify the seek time on your YouTube app, head over to Settings, scroll down and tap on Double-tap to seek and six options will appear in a pop-up menu. The default value is set to 10 seconds; tap on the one you like and tap on the back button of your device.

Low on internal storage? Download music to SD card

An important setting if your phone is running low on internal storage and you’ve got an option to add external storage to the device. To download your music directly to the SD card, go to the app Settings, and tap on Library and downloads on the next screen. Then toggle the switch on beside Use SD card. YouTube Music app will now save the downloaded music to your SD card.

Also read: What is the Download Limit on YouTube?

Enable Smart Downloads for seamless music all-day long

Smart Downloads is one of the coolest features of YouTube Music. Previously known as Offline Mixtape, this feature automatically downloads your favourite music tracks over a WiFi connection every night. All you need to do is pick the number of songs you wish the Smart Download feature to save for you and it’ll do the needful. You’ll also need to ensure that your phone is charged for the feature to work.

If you wish to enable Smart Downloads on your YouTube app and select the number of songs to be downloaded, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Go to the YouTube Music app Settings and tap on Library and downloads.
  • On the next screen, scroll to the bottom and switch on the toggle button beside Smart downloads.
  • Once that’s done, you’ll be able to interact with the slider that controls the number of songs that are downloaded via this feature. You’ll also be able to see the approximate size of the total downloads.

Smart Downloads feature can save up to 500 songs.

Note that the size of the download will not only depend on the number of songs that you have set the counter to but also the audio quality that you’ve set in the app — as explained in the first tip in this article.

If you wish to clear downloads, you can do so via the Clear Downloads option present at the bottom of the Library and downloads menu.

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Save Data on YouTube Music app

There are several ways that you can implement to save data while using the YouTube Music app.

  • Turn off music videos: If you’re running YouTube Music app in the background, it makes more sense to play audio-only or album versions of the songs instead of music videos. To stop playing music videos, got to app Settings and switch on the toggle button beside Don’t play music videos.
  • Play HD videos only on WiFi: If you don’t want to strain your mobile data with HD videos, go to Settings and switch on the toggle button beside Limit mobile data usage.
  • Stream via WiFi only: If you’re low on mobile data, you can direct the app only to use the WiFi connection to stream songs. To enable this, go to Settings and switch on the toggle beside Stream via Wi-Fi only.
  • Download over WiFi only: To download songs only when the device is connected to a WiFI network, go to Settings, tap on Library and downloads, and switch on the toggle beside Download over Wi-Fi only.
  • Control audio quality of downloads: If you wish to lower your data consumption while streaming, you can always adjust your sound quality download settings and reduce the quality so that less data is consumed. Go to Settings, tap on Library and downloads and then on Audio quality. Choose from Low, Normal or High.
  • Control video quality of downloads: You can also control the video quality of YouTube Music downloads from the same screen. Click on the Video quality option (in Library and downloads settings), and you’ll be shown HD (720p), Medium (360p) and Audio only. Choose Medium if you want the video playing on the lowest quality else choose Audio only — as suggested above.

You can also control the audio quality while streaming to lower your data consumption, as discussed in the first tip of the article.

Also read: Top 3 apps and gadgets for music production


Writes news mostly and edits almost everything at Candid.Technology. He loves taking trips on his bikes or chugging beers as Manchester United battle rivals. Contact Prayank via email:

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