Ads on YouTube are getting more obnoxious every day. Where you used to see a rare ad in the middle of a long video, now you’re virtually guaranteed to come across dozens just by watching short videos.
But what other alternative is there? Sure, you can get a premium subscription, but unless you’re willing to shell out a few bucks every month, there are very few reliable ways to watch YouTube videos without ads.
Enter NewPipe. It is an open source Android app that offers an ad-free experience of watching YouTube, all without paying a single penny.
But is it safe to use NewPipe? How does it work? Is it worth using? Here is a review.
Introduction to New Pipe
The concept of an alternative YouTube client is nothing new. Community developers have long tried to create apps that interact with the YouTube API to play videos without having to display ads.
YouTube Vanced was the most popular of these ad-free clients, at least until Google abruptly shut it down earlier this year. This left the market wide open for a competitor, and NewPipe has been rapidly gathering steam.
While it started out as a YouTube video client, it has since also been capable of playing content from SoundCloud, PeerTube, and Bandcamp. The power of it all is an easy-to-use interface that’s smooth and responsive, and thankfully free of intrusive ads.
How does New Pipe work?
When playing videos from a service like PeerTube, NewPipe only leverages the official PeerTube API to fetch the content. But that is not possible for proprietary platforms like YouTube, as the API is very restricted.
Still, YouTube videos, along with their metadata and subtitles, are publicly accessible. NewPipe works by parsing this content and presenting it with its own polished interface, giving you an ad-free experience when watching YouTube.
You still get all the features normally associated with YouTube: playlists, bookmarks, comments, etc. And since the app doesn’t depend on Google Play services, you can download and install it on any Android device, even custom ROMS without Google Play Store.
Is NewPipe safe?
Many people have doubts about using a little-known third-party app that is not even available on the Google Playstore. After all, there are malicious apps out there that steal user data, often disguised as useful tools.
But NewPipe has no such problems. It is an open source application hosted on Github, which means that its code base has been verified by thousands of developers around the world, who are actively working to update and maintain the application.
It’s not available on the Google Play Store as it competes directly with YouTube, not because it’s not safe. It is actually more secure as it also protects your data and privacy, instead of selling your information to advertisers.
How to install NewPipe on an Android phone
Since the NewPipe app is not available on the Google Play Store, you need to install it using a different method. If you use F-Droid (an alternative mobile app store), you can download it from there. Otherwise, you will need to install directly using the NewPipe apk.
Please note that while we demonstrate the process for Android phones, it is also possible to install NewPipe on Android TV. The app works great on TVs; you even get a button to share the video with Kodi. You will just have to download the apk after downloading it from NewPipe.net.
- Head over to the official website to download NewPipe. tap on the Get NewPipe button to navigate to the download page.
- Here you can choose between the latest version and the legacy version for older Android devices. For most users, the new version of NewPipe will work just fine.
- The browser will warn you about the risks of downloading an APK file. Select download anyway continue.
- To install NewPipe from this apk file, open the records on your phone (or any other file manager app you like to use).
- Navigate to the directory that contains the NewPipe app (usually the Downloads folder) and tap on the three dots next to its name. Select Install.
- By default, Android phones do not allow installation from apk files. This is to ensure your safety by preventing you from accidentally installing malware. Tap on Settings to change the permission and allow the installation to continue.
- Enable the Allow from this source lever. If you are concerned about security risks, you can always disable it again after installing NewPipe.
- You will now be prompted to install the app. Select Install continue.
Navigating the NewPipe interface
NewPipe is a very intuitive application to use. Most of the features you’ve come to expect from YouTube are already implemented, along with a couple of additional features. Still, here is a step-by-step tutorial to explore the app.
- There are three main tabs in NewPipe. When you open the app for the first time, you will be greeted by the trending page. This page includes suggestions influenced by your watch history, so take some time to learn your patterns.
- The second tab is for your subscriptions. Content from any channel you subscribe to will appear here. You can also categorize subscribed channels into groups, which is very useful for separating different types of videos.
- Lastly, there is the bookmarks tab. You can bookmark playlists to watch later and they all appear in this tab.
- The hamburger menu shows all of these tabs along with a few other options, including Downloads, History, and Settings.
- Settings gives you a list of submenus, each of which contains options for configuring a particular aspect of NewPipe. You can modify things like the appearance of the app, the location of downloaded videos, privacy settings, etc.
View and download a YouTube video in NewPipe
NewPipe not only allows you to watch YouTube videos without ads, but also download them to your device in the format of your choice. Here is a brief overview.
- Search for a YouTube video or channel by tapping the search icon at the top right of the app.
- Select the video from the search results.
- The video will open in a familiar interface. You can maximize the video to full screen or tap the headphone icon to play it in the background. The video resolution can also be selected from the top, where it shows the current video quality.
- Right next to the video quality option is the chapters icon. Tapping it will display a list of chapters created for the video, allowing you to jump to the corresponding section.
- At the bottom of the screen are three icons. The first is for comments and is selected by default. Switching to the middle icon shows recommended videos that will autoplay after this one.
- The third option at the bottom is for the video description.
- Now just below the video there are some useful options. the Add The button is for adding the video to a playlist, accessible from the bookmarks tab.
- And then of course there’s the Discharge button. Selecting the icon brings up a small window where you can specify a file name and choose the download format (both video and audio files can be downloaded). Play okay to start the download.
- Navigate to the Downloads tab from the hamburger menu on the main screen to see all the downloaded videos. You can view your progress, pause the download, or delete the videos you no longer want to keep.
The great thing about NewPipe’s download feature is that the videos are not attached to the app itself. This means that unlike the YouTube premium download feature, you can rip these videos and play them on any device without NewPipe installed. This makes NewPipe a great YouTube downloader, even if you’re not interested in the rest of its features.
How are other services streamed on NewPipe?
YouTube is not the only platform supported by NewPipe. The customer can also access other leading video and audio streaming services like PeerTube, Bandcamp and SoundCloud.
To switch to another service, pull down the hamburger menu and then tap the arrow next to YouTube. Now you can select any of the platforms supported by NewPipe.
Should I switch to NewPipe to watch YouTube videos?
NewPipe is an amazing client for YouTube. Because it blocks ads naturally, you don’t have to worry about ads interrupting your video playback anymore. Better yet, it blocks YouTube’s intrusive data collection, protecting your privacy.
And although the app started out a bit basic, it has gradually evolved into a fully functional YouTube client. You can even search for YouTube music in NewPipe and play it in the background, which was not possible with YouTube Vanced.
NewPipe also works quite well as a YouTube video downloader, giving you a desired quality MP4 or MP3 file of any YouTube video. This makes it a wonderful free alternative to all those poorly designed YouTube download websites.