Removal of Built-in YouTube App in iOS 6 Was YouTube's Decision to 'Take Back Control of Our App'

In August 2012, iOS users began noticing that the default YouTube app had been removed from Apple's software in iOS 6 Beta 4, becoming permanent with the public debut of the software in the fall of 2012. For the five years prior, YouTube was a mainstay on the iPhone, launching as a default app on iPhone OS as far back as the original iPhone in 2007.

Animosity between Apple and many Android smartphone makers has been well-documented over the years, becoming abundant in 2012 through an ongoing lawsuit related to Apple's suing of Samsung for copying the iPhone design with Android devices, as well as an Apple lawsuit aimed at Google-owned Motorola focusing on Slide-to-Unlock.

Now, in a series of Tweets, former YouTube employee Hunter Walk has said that it was YouTube and Google's decision not to renew an agreement with Apple for YouTube on iOS, so that the company could "take back control of our app" (via Business Insider).



Walk sent out nearly one dozen Tweets on the topic last night, starting off by explaining how Apple approached Google for YouTube on the first iPhone, Apple's control of building the app, the lack of an official "YouTube" name on the icon, and the overall success of the app as a way to entice customers to buy an iPhone for video streaming.

When the license agreements ended five years later in 2012, Walk said YouTube's time to take back the app came, so the company -- "still operating pretty independently from GOOG at that time" -- made its move. Walk went on to Tweet that the decision paid off, with most consumers reinstalling the YouTube app from the iOS App Store upon noticing that the default app had disappeared.

The former YouTube employee ended his series of Tweets, which he said was possible because the "statue of limitations on any nondisclosures" had expired, by stating that this period of YouTube was "one of the most interesting & consequential series of product decisions during my time at YouTube," emphasizing that it was, "Not w/o controversy internally."

Google remains the default search engine on iOS devices, and in 2016 it came to light that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to retain that status on iPhones and iPads. In 2012, Apple removed another default Google app from iPhone -- Google Maps -- and replaced it with Apple Maps in iOS 6.

Tag: YouTube


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9 months ago
One thing they're not mentioning is that the biggest issue for YouTube was that they couldn't play the ads in front of the videos in Apple's version of the app. That's the first thing that showed up in YouTube's new app.
Rating: 33 Votes
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9 months ago
YouTube is a prime example of someone who's completely forgot where they came from. They were made by the people and could be just as easily left behind by the same. All this nonsense about not being able to play content in the background without paying is absolutely insane. Not to mention the loss of revenue for creators due to their own systems messing up constantly. They are extremely bloated now. I wish someone else would just copy their original concept, and get rid of all the corporate garbage they'd be so much more successful.
Rating: 14 Votes
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9 months ago
I hate YouTube, I wish Vimeo had more content.
Rating: 12 Votes
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9 months ago

...so that the company could "take back control of our app"


Ads. They wanted to add more ads and tracking.
Rating: 9 Votes
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9 months ago

I hate YouTube, I wish Vimeo had more content.


how do you not use youtube?

hate is a strong word .

Though i hate trump .
Rating: 8 Votes
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9 months ago
I mean, I always assumed it was something like this. Doesn't seem super newsworthy, but whatever. At least the app we have today is much better, but Google still limits it on iOS.

Unlike YouTube, however, I always assumed that Apple replaced Google Maps with Apple Maps because Google was holding back a lot of their features. For instance, Android had turn by turn directions. Have any employees come forward to talk about that? It was also about five years ago, so maybe those NDAs are expired too.
Rating: 8 Votes
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9 months ago
"Take back control" means inject ads + spyware.
Rating: 6 Votes
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9 months ago

It's still missing one HUGE feature, and that is PiP support on iPad. With other video playing apps you can exit the app and keep watching the video in a window. YouTube purposefully blocked that for some reason.

That's so you can get YouTube RED and get that feature. They held it back so you'd subscribe and pay for it.
Rating: 6 Votes
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9 months ago

It's still missing one HUGE feature, and that is PiP support on iPad. With other video playing apps you can exit the app and keep watching the video in a window. YouTube purposefully blocked that for some reason.

They also blocked background playback even in Safari. ):
Rating: 6 Votes
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9 months ago

The stand-alone YouTube app has had its ups and downs, but all-in-all it has been an uphill journey. The app today is way better than it ever could have been under Apple's control.


Lol, that is CRAZY talk!!!!
It was YouTube, minus the ads.... w/ a clean wrapper. You could play a video w/ the screen off!!
In a pig's eye is the purposefully hobbled, ad-filled "genuine" YT alternative as good as Apple's version.
Rating: 4 Votes
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