October 2, 2022

YouTube is testing a new “pinch to zoom” feature on mobile devices.

The experiment, which is exclusive to YouTube Premium subscribers, will run until September 1. At this point, YouTube will decide whether or not to make this feature permanently available.

YouTube Premium subscribers can enable pinch-to-zoom on YouTube Website(Opens in a new window) and then start playing with it on their iOS or Android devices. (Although I had to restart the YouTube app on my iPhone before the experimental mode was available on this device.)

The feature works as you’d expect, since pinch-to-zoom has been a standard feature on smartphones since the original iPhone debuted in 2007. It offers one-point adjustments to the current zoom (1.0, 1, 1, etc.) up to a maximum zoom level of 8.

There are physical limitations to this feature. YouTube defaults to streaming at lower resolutions on mobile devices, for example, which means there aren’t as many fine details to zoom in on. However, even higher resolution streams will look quite blocky at 8x magnification.

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YouTubers may still appreciate the ability to take a closer look at something in a video. The feature could prove useful to people hunting Easter eggs, for example, or wanting to confirm their appearance in the background of a video so they can brag about being internet famous.

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