FreeTube is an open source private YouTube client
FreeTube is an open source cross-platform client for YouTube that promises better functionality and improved privacy. The free application is available for Windows, Linux and Mac devices. Windows users may download a portable copy and run it without installation.
At its core, FreeTube is based on Electron, which some dislike. Those who do not mind, get a well-designed YouTube client that comes without any advertisement and better functionality than the original.
FreeTube's core features include an ad-free experience, no tracking, options to follow channels and publishers without account requirement, and lots of customization options.
The app starts with a blank screen by default, as it loads subscriptions, which are likely empty on first run. Subscriptions may be added without Google account, and they may also be imported from YouTube.
A click on trending or most popular displays videos, so does searching for content using the search box at the top.
A click on a video starts the playback immediately. The page looks very similar to the original YouTube page. The video takes up most of the screen estate, but you get channel information, related videos, the description and even comments, if you so desire, as well.
Autoplay is supported, but it can be turned off. There are options to save and download videos, share them, or change the video format. You can change the video resolution, use picture-in-picture mode, change the playback speed, and toggle subtitles.
Videos can be played in FreeTube, but there are options to play them on YouTube, an Invidious instance, or an external player that you specify instead. There is also an option to open YouTube links displayed in a web browser in FreeTube; this requires the installation of an extra extension, though.
A quick check of the player settings reveals even more options. There, you may change various defaults, including the default volume, fast forward and rewind interval, the default playback rate, desired quality or default video format.
The settings are extensive. Open the distraction free section and you find a good dozen options to deal with annoyances on the site. From hiding recommended and trending videos to disabling live chat and streams, to hiding chapters.
When it comes to playback, FreeTube uses two different options. A built-in option that is used by default or Invidious. To further improve privacy, it is possible to use an external proxy such as Tor.
Another interesting feature of FreeTube is the ability to subscribe to channels without requiring an account. Just hit the subscribe button and you find new videos under Subscriptions in the program interface. To make this even better, profiles may be used to group subscriptions and better distinguish between them.
FreeTube is a desktop client for YouTube that provides better functionality than the original. It is privacy-friendly on top of that. Note that it is still considered beta at this point.
Now You: do you watch YouTube videos? If so, which clients do you use for that?