There is no doubt that YouTube is one of the most pervasive video streaming services today; while Netflix and Hulu may have more commercial caches, almost everything on YouTube is free.
And although YouTube claims around 2 billion users worldwide, there are times when even such a large and reliable site runs into problems.
How to fix problems when YouTube isn’t working
Like any website that may not work, it can be difficult to know exactly what the problem is – there may be a number of problems with the site, internet connection, or device you are trying to connect with. Fix the problem with YouTube by trying each of the troubleshooting tips below until you discover the problem.
Check if you have a reliable internet connection
Despite a myriad of problems that may prevent you from successfully watching a video on YouTube, the most likely is also the simplest to fix: Do you have a reliable internet connection? If you’re on your phone, check the status icons at the top of the screen to see if you have a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. If in doubt, open your phone’s Settings app and turn Wi-Fi off and on again.
A safe way to test internet access is to try another app that requires a connection. You might check if you can start playing a video in the Netflix app, for example, or see if you can send and receive emails.
Check if YouTube is down
YouTube is a relatively reliable video streaming service, but the site has occasional outages. If you know your internet access is solid, it might be a good idea to see if the service is offline before wasting time trying other troubleshooting tips. The easiest way to check is to go to the YouTube status page on DownDetector or simply search for “YouTube down” in a Google search (DownDetector is usually at the top of search results). If the site is down, please wait a few moments and try again later.
Close the YouTube app and restart it
If you are trying to watch YouTube on a mobile device, the YouTube app may be misbehaving. The remedy? Force close the app and then restart it: here’s how to close an app on Android and close an app on iOS. If you were looking to watch YouTube on a smart TV or streaming media player, you can close and restart the app from there as well, though the steps vary depending on which device you own.
If you’re trying to watch YouTube in a web browser on your computer, you can close the browser and restart it, but an even better solution is to open a different browser (like switching to Firefox if it doesn’t work in Chrome).
If that doesn’t fix the problem, restart your entire device (for example, here’s how to restart an iPhone).
Try it somewhere else
One of the best ways to fix a problem that could have many possible causes is to try it on another device. If you’re watching YouTube on your phone, check if YouTube has the same glitch on a tablet, Roku player, or in a browser on your laptop. If you’re on a computer and don’t have easy access to other devices, you can try running YouTube in a different browser.
Clear your device’s app cache
If YouTube refuses to work properly on your phone or tablet but seems to work fine elsewhere, you may have a problem with the app or its cache.
If you’re using an iPhone, there’s no way to clear the YouTube cache without uninstalling the app, so do it: uninstall YouTube from your iPhone and reinstall it from the App Store.
If you’re using an Android phone or tablet, it’s a little easier. The steps may vary slightly depending on the version of Android you are running, but here is the general procedure:
1. Launch the app Settings .
2. Touch Apps and notifications .
3. Go to the app list (you may need to tap See all apps ) and touch YouTube .
4. Touch Memory and cache .
5. Touch Clear cache .
Check if your internet connection is fast enough
Sometimes the problem isn’t that the app doesn’t start or that it doesn’t work at all. If the video lags and stutters or the audio is out of sync, the connection may not be fast enough. You can run an online speed test such as Google’s Internet Speed Test to see how fast your connection is. You can do this on a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
YouTube states that your connection must be at least 1.1 Mbps for a standard definition 480p video, but the faster the better, and a high resolution 1080p video will need at least 5 Mbps.