Improved YouTube! is a cross-browser extension designed to add more customization options and features to the YouTube web experience. The extension was ported to Firefox recently, reason enough to take a look at the extension and see what it does in detail.
Installation of Improve YouTube! is straightforward. Head to the Chrome or Firefox extensions store, and follow the instructions to install it. The GitHub page lists many other browsers it is compatible with, including Microsoft Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi and Safari. The extension requests permission to access data on YouTube, but nothing else.
For those wondering, the extension is open source, you can check out its source code on GitHub.
Click or tap on the icon that it places in the browser's address bar to display its menu. It lists entry points, e.g. player, appearance or themes, and then a list of features, and sometimes even more options to dive deeper into the structure.
Instead of going through all functionality the extension offers, more than 80 features and counting, I decided to highlight some of the features first.
One of the first things that you may try is changing the theme of the site. Just select another, e.g. Dark or Night, and the change is applied right away.
You may also set your own font for the site, your own custom theme colors, or schedule colors, e.g. darker at night and lighter during the day.
Appearance allows you to change visual settings; the settings are divided into site elements, e.g. header or player, and let you modify YouTube's site design to a large degree. Among other things, you may:
These two options alone provide users with lots of options to customize the appearance of YouTube in the browser.
Selecting the main Player menu, allows you to configure autopause on tab switch, a useful feature for some. You may also disable autoplay here, enforce a different playback speed, or disable subtitles. Other options include setting a desired quality and audio volume, or enabling ad blocking.
You may also set the player width to fit the window or turn on automatic fullscreen playback. Here is a screenshot of the "fit to window width" option with hidden sidebar content.
For playlists, it is possible to disable autoplay or set them on repeat or shuffle instead. Shuffle could really be useful for certain types of playlists, e.g. music playlists.
The channel startpage, autoplay of the trailer, and featured content can be modified under channel.
Shortcuts offers options to manage keyboard shortcuts. You may change shortcuts such as play/pause, next or previous video, or add new ones, e.g. for the quality of stats for nerds to the site.
Plenty of extensions exist to modify the YouTube experience. Improve YouTube! is open source and it adds lots of features to YouTube, leaving virtually no stone untouched on the site.
Ad blocking is a welcome addition, so are options to blacklist channels or videos, to autopause video playback on tab switches, to shuffle playlist playback and set desired qualities and audio volume.
All in all, an excellent extension for Internet users who watch videos on YouTube in their browser of choice.
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