Apple TV users give new YouTube app a big thumbs down
The YouTube app for Apple TV received an important update last week, bringing some major design changes. While YouTube was “excited” about the update, the kind of user-response the new app has received until now is damning to say the least.
We know updates generally get mixed responses, but in this case, we went through hundreds of comments, and couldn’t gather even a handful that were positive.
Users are not at all pleased with the changes YouTube has implemented in the app, and they have been strongly voicing their displeasure on the company’s official forums as well as other platforms, calling the update “disappointing,” “awful,” “downgrade,” “piece of garbage,” “shitty,” and so on.
Some of the major complaints are about horizontal scrolling subscription list, latency in remote control initiated actions, and UI in general. A few users even called the new app “a wrapper for the web-application.” Following is a collection of user comments from the official YouTube forum.
First impressions are that it’s awful. A real downgrade from what went before. The subscriptions list is a single horizontal line instead of a grid so it takes 10x longer to scroll through them. There doesn’t seem to be a way to shuffle playlists. Everything that I actually want to do just seems further away from me than it used to be, if it’s even possible at all. You’ve ruined it, and now I’m sad and annoyed I didn’t turn off auto update quickly enough.
Never posted to an online forum before. But I have been a very faithful longtime YouTube subscriber, and had been using my Apple TV for the majority of my viewing. The new app is…very disappointing. The UI is very clunky, jumps too quickly between settings. There is considerable latency between pressing a button and getting a response. Whenever an option pops up on the screen it takes FOREVER for the screen to clear back to the rolling video. I subscribe to a large number of channels, and the horizontal scrolling to look through my subscribed channels is so slow and difficult to use that I’ve abandoned it completely. This is a miserable situation. This is in stark contrast to the excellent UI on my phone and tablet and the other Google products which I love (translate, search, word processing…). I’m loathe to leave a comment because I’ve seen very little evidence over the past few years that your team listens to constructive feedback — but here’s hoping your executives will pay attention.
This updated app is just awful. I’m sorry for all the effort you folks put into it, but it’s awful. The UX just doesn’t fit with the rest of tvOS. It’s infuriating to navigate, because the Menu button doesn’t do what it ought to (i.e. returns to the Home feed, rather than open the menu!), the Subscriptions page is a nightmare, and all the fluidity is gone — scrolling is so janky, and the thumbnail images changes when they’re selected, it’s tough to know what I’m doing. I could see a video I want to play, but the scrolling is so painful, and the thumbnail can change so drastically, I really don’t always know if I’ve navigated successfully to the video that I want. And this seems like such a fundamentally basic concept. See a thumbnail, play the video. But it’s PAINFUL now. I can cope with change. Change is great. But this is a downright demonstrably worse experience than we had before. If you tried less hard to be “different” and wrote an app with more standard tvOS interface, then it would be more predictable, discoverable, and supply the kind of experience that Apple TV owners paid for. Right now, this app is so jarringly different from the rest of the Apple TV experience, it’s infuriating to use. Please, give us the old app back while you work on the usability — and give us an app to be excited about later in the year?
What a shitty upgrade – giant subscription icons – makes scrolling useless, takes forever to find channels – cannot scrub thru ANY videos – cannot scrub throughs ANY live streams – poor remote response – generally bad interface design. Are your designers retards??? Did you test any of this?? And these problems found after 2 minutes of use – You made Youtube on Apple TV near useless for my needs. Won’t be using it until you fix all the problems.
The new AppleTV app is a huge step backwards. The remote app for iPad and iPhone no longer works, even though it works perfectly with every other app. When I try to watch something where there are a lot of vids (such as a collection of old TV shows) it does not let me pick the one I want to watch. It starts playing the first one and I have to scroll through all of the, to find the one I want to watch. The quality control folks must have been in vacation. This gets a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10
How can anyone be exited about this amateurish piece of garbage? Youtube is an essential part of a home theatre (like Netflix, Plex etc.) My family has been using Apple TV for ages due to its consistent, easy interface and suitability for less experienced users (children) and for low light conditions. Yes, we needed a ‘like’ button (how rude not to like). But to completely butcher the app and deliver an inconsistent, sluggish, confusing piece of unusable garbage seriously damages the reputation of both Google and Apple. I am now faced with having to find some other device with a decent consistent interface. Many families must be suffering the same problem. Shame on you.
I wholeheartedly agree with all of the negative reviews and brutal feedback regarding this update. This new app is HORRIFIC. It is obvious what is going on. Google/Youtube has decided to normalize all TV / Leanback apps to the lowest common denominator and implement a single unified experience on all platforms using HTML. This was a horrible corporate bullshit decision. As a developer myself, I have been involved in these discussion and it is never the UX designers/engineers that abandon native apps, it is always corporate management that think it is such a great idea to have a single codebase for all devices. Bullshit! You have abandoned the native look & feel of the AppleTV. Maybe it is because you are so ashamed of Android TV app performance that you wanted to cripple your AppleTV app to make it less obvious how bad Android TV actually sucks – maybe you are too cheap to license accelerated scrolling from Apple or are again are embarrassed that you don’t own that technology – so you decided to do away with using the native controls/tvOS in your AppleTV app. Who knows how this decision was made. What we all know is that this decision was not made in the interest of your customers. It feels like one of the most selfish corporate decisions I have witnessed in a long time. Shame on you Youtube/Google.
This is the worst update of all time. I can’t scrub videos or pause without filling the screen with your clunky ui. Now that you moved subscriptions and recommended into the sidebar (HINT: sidebar only works well with a mouse or touchscreen) I have to scroll back through every video to get to the side bar. And now the channel icons are a foot tall and in a single list instead of the grid they used to be. I’m sure the google devs would have been against this forced decision from management to just port the same app to every platform. Now I have to go figure out how to sideload the old version of the app and turn of updates. I’m speechless that google values having the app look the same across platforms over its usibility which has now been retarded.
Twitter is also flooded with complaints:
I didn’t think the YouTube app on Apple TV could get worse, but OH MY GOD…. IT’S SO BAD!
— Abdel Ibrahim (@abdophoto) February 7, 2018
gaaaaah what the fuck did they do to the Apple TV YouTube app
— Steven Schapansky (@Legopolis) February 9, 2018
Wow, the new @YouTube app on Apple TV is a so much worse experience. The old one was way more Apple-like. Scrolling in the new app is odd especially with the remote app.
And you thought Apples software quality is bad. #onlyGoogle
— christianraddatz (@speedlimiter) February 7, 2018
FYI @YouTube – I've had to unsubscribe from 70% of the channels I followed, because your new Apple TV app is virtually impossible to navigate, and the only way to speed it up was to jettison a load of channels. IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?!???!!!!
— Paul Rose (@mrbiffo) February 8, 2018
The new Apple TV YouTube app is a big downgrade. Looks like @YouTube just slapped on the web interface and got rid of all the smooth intuitive Apple TV controls. Makes you wonder if it got tested at all. Shame on you @YouTube, shame on you. pic.twitter.com/NdpwlKKfvC
— Peter Hol (@Pjotter) February 11, 2018
A lot of Google/YouTube bashing is going on over at Reddit as well:
And if all this isn’t enough to reflect that the new UI has failed on almost all fronts, just take a look at comments on the coverage of this update by some of the leading tech websites – Macrumors and 9to5mac.
There has been no official word from YouTube or Google over whether or not they are considering any further changes in near future. However, the company seems to be on back foot, clear from the response a Google Products expert offered to a complainant:
With so much great music to enjoy, we hope the ability to shuffle playlists won’t be something you’ll miss for long but it’s something the team will consider for future versions of the app.
Appreciate the feedback about the subscriptions list!
Have you also been using the new app? How has your experience been? Let us know in comments below.
Feature image credit: MacRumors
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