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Why does YouTube default to 360p?

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  • 3 min read

Are you wondering why YouTube defaults to 360p when viewing videos on the platform, even if your internet speed works fine?

YouTube offers various video quality modes such as 144p, 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p. The reason for offering a wide variety of video quality modes is to cater to the needs of a much larger global audience.

In this article, we’ll discuss why YouTube sometimes shows a video in 360p by default.

Why does YouTube use 360p often?

Although 360p resolution is one of the lowest on the YouTube platform, it offers several benefits.

First, as the 360p offers a much lower sharpness and detail, it consumes less bandwidth than the platform’s higher resolutions.

Second, the videos can load much faster because it consumes less bandwidth.

Third, 360p videos require much less data to run. This resolution is better for areas where the data is very expensive or where internet connectivity is poor.

Fourth, this video resolution is compatible with almost all devices and browsers. Even the old mobile devices can run 360p resolution.

Therefore, YouTube uses 360p to provide a viewing experience for everyone, irrespective of their internet speed, location or device. You can always change the video resolution depending on the internet bandwidth and screen quality. In the next section, we will explain how you can do exactly that.

Also, if you’re regularly witnessing low video quality on YouTube, check your internet connection and WiFi, update the YouTube app, and permanently change the video resolution on the platform (which we will explain in the next sub-section below).

Also read: YouTube vs YouTube Go: What’s the difference?

How to permanently change the YouTube resolution?

If you want to permanently change the video quality on YouTube, follow the instructions given below:

  • Open a YouTube video and tap on the gear icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Next, tap on Quality.
  • Look at the bottom and then tap on Settings > Video quality preferences.
  • Now, select Higher picture quality in the Video Quality On Mobile Networks option. Do the same for Video Quality On WiFi.

Also read: How to download your own Youtube videos?

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: