Popular YouTube alternative NewPipe broken, bugfix needs complete reinstall
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
Now that Spotify’s arrival in India is (almost) confirmed, music lovers are going to have another option to choose from. But the big brother is the Mountain View backed YouTube whatsoever, one of the earliest and most prominent name in the world of streaming.
YouTube’s premium features (formerly YouTube Red) or the music only service YouTube Music are yet to be launched in India. But people have already found legit open source ways to achieve such premium-only features like ad-free streaming, background playback, offline downloading etc. via NewPipe.
Based on another excellent free and open-source software (FOSS) youtube-dl, NewPipe is extremely lightweight and entirely free from Google’s proprietary APIs. In less than 6 MB, about one-sixth of the official app, it packs a long list of features “without annoying ads and questionable permissions”.
NewPipe does not use any Google framework libraries, nor the YouTube API. Websites are only parsed to fetch required info, so this app can be used on devices without Google services installed. Also, you don’t need a YouTube account to use NewPipe, which is copylefted libre software.
Before you get curious, bringing NewPipe to Google Play Store is slightly complicated.
As it can be seen, NewPipe needs to parse YouTube pages to get the contents. Thus, any changes done by Google on the server side may hamper the functionality of the app which is not uncommon.
Speak of the devil, and now users are facing strange issues while playing videos with NewPipe. F-Droid, an alternative of Google’s Play Store and the official distributor of NewPipe has acknowledged the issue too.
Newpipe isn't working 😭. @youtube, can you not break third party apps out of spite. Perhaps make your own app better and then everybody wins.
— Kie (@KieranGreenwood) January 19, 2019
#Newpipe 0.14.2 can't play YouTube videos anymore. Downgrading to 0.14.1 seems to work for the moment. (Need to uninstall the latest version first.)
The problem is fixed upstream in version 0.15 which will be on fdroid (1/2)
— F-Droid (@fdroidorg) January 19, 2019
In fact, downgrading to v0.14.1 or earlier is not a definite solution – especially for newer videos. The required changes to handle such videos on YouTube have been recently fixed on youtube-dl’s end.
NewPipe developers have quickly released an hotfix build of v0.15.0 based on the changes, but it doesn’t follow F-Droid’s signing protocol. It makes updating to this build a lot more difficult for end users, as they need to remove the existing version altogether before updating.
On the other hand, users who are installing the v0.15.0 build from GitHub release will face similar issues when they will try to get back to F-Droid’s builds, due to signature mismatch.
There are suggestions about maintaining two separate versions, but another more feasible solution is in work. The later will drastically minimize such problems by introducing multi-signature support and quicker building.
Meanwhile, users can export their existing history, subscriptions and playlists (Settings => Content => Export database) before wiping and reinstalling NewPipe. Importing them is similar: Settings => Content => Import database.
Have you tried NewPipe as an alternative to YouTube? If so, do let us know about your experience by commenting below.
F-Droid people have finished compiling newest version of NewPipe (v0.15.0), and now they are waiting for the index to update.
So, yes #NewPipe is finally built, waiting for the next index update. What a week… 😅
— F-Droid (@fdroidorg) January 26, 2019
The package index is still not updated at the time of reporting.
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