Video quality

To give you the best viewing experience possible on your computer, YouTube adjusts the quality of your video stream from standard definition (such as 240p or 360p) to high definition (720p or 1080p), based on the speed of your Internet connection (bandwidth). This is why you may notice that the quality of your video changes as you watch videos.

Here are some other factors that determine video quality:

  • Video player size: By default, the quality setting will be on “Auto” and YouTube will use the highest quality based on your video player size.
  • Quality of the original uploaded video: For example, if the video was recorded in standard definition, it will not be available in high definition.

Change video quality

Change the video quality by going to the gear icon in the corner of the video player, and selecting your preferred quality.

On mobile devices, adjust quality settings by touching the  menu icon, then the gear. This option isn’t available on all devices (e.g. TV/game consoles), or connections (e.g. iOS on a mobile network).

If you’re signed in to YouTube on your computer, you can set default video quality preferences for all videos. Note that default settings won’t apply to YouTube on mobile.

Never play high-quality video

If you have a slow Internet connection, you can make the video load more quickly by using a lower quality setting.

  1. Go to your Settings page
  2. Select I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video
  3. Click the Save button
Always play HD on full screen

If you have a fast Internet connection, you can change your settings to make sure videos always play in HD quality when available:

  1. Go to your Settings page
  2. Select Always play HD on fullscreen (when available)
  3. Click the Save button