SkyTube: open source YouTube app for Android with ad-blocking and video downloading

SkyTube is an open source third-party YouTube application for Android that users may install and use instead of the official YouTube application. SkyTube offers a view-only experience, which means that it does not support signing-in with a Google or YouTube account; this does not mean that it does not support the essentials. You may subscribe to channels and bookmark your favorite videos, read comments, and use the built-in search.

SkyTube supports features that Google’s own YouTube app does not support, including the ability to block channels, block all ads on the site, including in-vidoe ads, and the option to download videos for offline viewing.

You can download the app either from its website or from F-Droid. The F-Droid version is fully open source and free software, but app updates take longer to appear, and it does not support the official YouTube player.

Tip: check out this guide to find out how to play YouTube videos on your Fire TV without ads.

SkyTube displays videos of the featured category by default. You may switch to a language-specific tab to display trending videos, a chronological feed of videos by subscribed channels, bookmarked videos, or downloaded videos.

The system language is used by default, but you may change it in the settings under video player.

There is a search at the top to search all of YouTube, and a menu with settings and the option to paste a video URL directly. The second icon at the top opens the video blocker preferences. It may be used to block channels, but comes with additional filter options that users may find useful.

Users may set a preferred region and language to filter videos in the “Worldwide (ALL)” category. Other options include filtering low views videos or videos with a high dislike count.

The menu that is displayed underneath each video displays several options, including options to download the video, bookmark it for later viewing, block the channel, or mark the video watched.

You cannot subscribed to channels from that menu, and need to tap on the channel to display it and the subscribe option.

Videos play directly once you have selected one in the app. The navigational controls are hidden by default but appear when you interact with the screen.

The app supports gestures that you may use to display comments, or change the volume or brightness. These gestures can be disabled in the preferences.

The video player supports the usual options, such as seeking, using the position slider to jump to a position, changing playback speed, or setting videos to repeat. An option to change the video quality appears to be missing.

The player remembers the last position of videos and prompts you to resume the video from that position; this can be disabled as well.

Closing Words

SkyTube is a well-designed third-party YouTube app for Android. It blocks ads and does not depend on Google Apps. The app is open source and supports video downloading, subscriptions, and channel/video blocking. The only thing that is missing is the ability to change the playback quality manually.

An alternative are YouTube Vanced.

Now You: do you use YouTube’s official app, or third-party apps?

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