Reddit users have recently discovered that YouTube refuses to stream newly uploaded 4K video in its native resolution if the website is accessed through Safari web browser.

The issue was first raised almost a month ago by Reddit user GezimS, who wondered why the option to view 4K videos in 2160p was no longer available.

YouTube 4K
Other users soon chimed in to confirm the anomaly, noting that it only seemed to occur in recently uploaded 4K video and that accessing the same content in Chrome or Firefox still offered up the preferred 2160p resolution as a viewing option.

After some digging, user themcfly recently discovered that the issue is being caused by a change to the way YouTube encodes video and serves it through its website.

Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p.

Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website.

Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different browser.

Tags: YouTube, Safari, 4K

Top Rated Comments

itsmilo Avatar
70 months ago
Safari is still the world's best browser. Safari alone is one of the best reasons you can have for choosing to use macOS and iOS.

Nothing compares to Safari when it comes to buttery smooth browsing experiences, world class security, privacy built-in, and obsessive attention to detail that delivers all of us a completely delightful experience every time.
Did you copy paste this from the product website?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
critter13 Avatar
70 months ago
V9 is a horrible codec though, I hope Apple don't put it into Safari, and nor Firefox follow suit to prevent this adoption - they should be using the far better H.265, not only is it better quality but it's set to be the industry standard - the iPhone has already decoded it for two generations, many video cards enable efficient processing for it - V9 has none of this, there is no hardware decoding for what is (even if it had it) a worse codec.
New Kaby Lake processors have hardware decoding for VP9, calm down
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dumastudetto Avatar
70 months ago
Safari is still the world's best browser. Safari alone is one of the best reasons you can have for choosing to use macOS and iOS.

Nothing compares to Safari when it comes to buttery smooth browsing experiences, world class security, privacy built-in, and obsessive attention to detail that delivers all of us a completely delightful experience every time.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iamMacPerson Avatar
70 months ago
*Article regarding macOS Safari*
*Posted on iOS Blog*

Anyway, it's getting hard to use Safari if Apple doesn't start supporting these newer formats. I understand the battery concerns, but it only needs to be enabled when a user wants to watch a video in 4K if done right. Although that might be a little bit more coding needed on YouTube's end instead of Apple's.

Still better then Chrome for battery efficiency.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jabingla2810 Avatar
70 months ago
What am I missing? I just played 2 videos in 4K on my 2016 MBP using Safari. I searched "4K video" and played the 2 top search results at 2160p.o_O
Read the article. Not just the headline.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleWarrior Avatar
70 months ago
Safari is still the world's best browser. Safari alone is one of the best reasons you can have for choosing to use macOS and iOS.

Nothing compares to Safari when it comes to buttery smooth browsing experiences, world class security, privacy built-in, and obsessive attention to detail that delivers all of us a completely delightful experience every time.
Seriously? I love the look of Safari, no doubt. And it is a good browser, but this adoration is unfounded. Safari stops working a lot. If you go to a website it will get stuck on its way there, and you have to shut the browser down and restart for it to operate normally again. And, if you had other tabs open that you navigated to throughout various searches, you lose them and have to find them again. This is extremely frustrating. Other browsers do not do this to me. So, I wouldn't call Safari a delightful experience every time, and that nothing compares to it.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
iOS 16 mock for article

Which Devices Will iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 Support?

Thursday May 12, 2022 7:29 am PDT by
While there are as yet no concrete rumors related to which devices iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will support, the discontinuation of the iPod touch earlier this week may be an indication that as many as nine devices could be about to lose support for Apple's upcoming operating systems. iOS and iPadOS 13, 14, and 15 support all of the same devices, with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus,...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
sony

Sony Unveils Redesigned WH-1000XM5 Headphones With Improved Noise Cancelation

Thursday May 12, 2022 9:26 am PDT by
Sony's flagship WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones have been among the best on the market for some time, and today Sony announced its fifth-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones, boasting a new design and several improvements over the previous model. The redesigned headphones replace the shrouded arms that swivel on the XM4's with an exposed arm that has a single contact point at the earcups,...
apple tv 4k design clue

Kuo: New Apple TV to Launch in Second Half of 2022, Lower Price Possible

Friday May 13, 2022 7:58 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch a new version of the Apple TV in the second half of 2022, according to well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a tweet today, Kuo said the new Apple TV will have an improved cost structure, suggesting that the device could have a lower price that is more competitive with other streaming media players like Google's Chromecast line, Amazon's Fire TV line, and the Roku line. ...
iPhone 14 Purple Feature

Full Range of iPhone 14 Color Options Revealed by Purported Leak From China

Wednesday May 11, 2022 2:20 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models will be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color, according to a recent rumor. The claim comes from a post on Chinese social media site Weibo by an unverified source and purports to reveal the full range of color options for Apple's upcoming iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. Compared to the selection of color...