Can You Watch YouTube on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite?

YouTube on Nintendo Switch

Whether you’re a gaming enthusiast or a casual player, the Nintendo Switch is where gaming meets on-the-go entertainment. Yes, the Switch offers a diverse gaming library, but one of the common questions people have about the Switch, Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch OLED is, “Do they have the ability to allow users to watch YouTube?”

This question isn’t surprising since YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site on the Internet and as of 2020 it already had more than 2 billion unique users per month. So it isn’t surprising that people who have just purchased or are thinking about purchasing a Nintendo Switch might be wondering, “Can I watch YouTube on the Nintendo Switch?”

In this article, we’ll uncover how the Nintendo Switch family provides a seamless YouTube viewing experience alongside its gaming prowess and uncover any unexpected quirks or limitations.

Can You Watch YouTube on Nintendo Switch and Switch OLED?

The answer is a resounding yes. Since November 2018, the Nintendo Switch has been home to the free YouTube app, allowing users to immerse themselves in the world of online video content. Whether you’re using the original Nintendo Switch, the portable-only Switch Lite, or the vibrant Nintendo Switch OLED model, the YouTube app is designed to complement the console’s play modes. With a simple download from the Nintendo eShop, you can log in with your Google account to dive into your personalized playlists and channels, or even browse content without signing in. Furthermore, this app allows you to watch YouTube videos in each of the play modes that your Switch supports.

While the YouTube experience on Switch is comprehensive, there are a few platform-specific restrictions that we’ll explore in this article.

Can You Watch YouTube on Nintendo Switch Lite?

The Nintendo Switch Lite, a compact and lightweight member of the Switch family, is tailored for gamers on the move. Despite its inability to connect to a TV, the Switch Lite doesn’t fall short when it comes to entertainment options. YouTube enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the YouTube app is fully functional on the Switch Lite, offering the same access to a vast array of videos as its dockable counterparts. While watching YouTube on a big screen isn’t an option with the Switch Lite, the device still delivers a satisfying viewing experience on its built-in display.

So let’s talk about how to get the app on your Switch and how to use it.

How to Install the App and Watch YouTube on the Nintendo Switch

If you want to watch YouTube on your Nintendo Switch, you will need to download the free YouTube app. Thankfully, as with most things with the Nintendo Switch, it is a really simple process. So let us lead you through the steps to get YouTube up and running on your Switch.

1. Go to the Nintendo eShop

Look for the yellow shopping bag icon at the bottom of the main menu.

Nintendo Switch eShop icon

2. Search for YouTube

By Navigating or tapping on the screen of the console, select the “Search/Browse” option on the left side of the screen, at the top. Then go right, and select the “Search by Keyword” box. Once selected, use the keyboard to type in “YouTube” and hit enter. Remember that to search for or later download the app, your Switch must be connected to the internet connection via a Wi-Fi signal.

Search/Browse Inside Nintendo eShop

3. Select and Download the Free YouTube App

Youtube will be the highest result, and you must navigate to the rectangle and press A, or tap on the rectangle, on the screen of the console. You will then be brought to a screen with a button labeled “free download”, you will want to select that option.

Nintendo Switch eShop search results for YouTube

Then you will be brought to another screen where you will want to select the button with the same label, “Free Download”.

Nintendo Switch eShop YouTube free download button

4. Click on Close and Return to the Home Menu

Then, select the “Close” option, to return to the Main menu.

5. Launch the YouTube App

From the main menu, navigate through your recent applications to find your new YouTube application, and select it. Choose the account you would like to use the YouTube app with, and have fun watching your favorite videos.

Launching the YouTube app on Nintendo Switch

Frequently Asked Questions About the YouTube App for the Nintendo Switch

Can I download videos?

Unfortunately, this is not possible on the Nintendo Switch version of YouTube. However, on a mobile device, you can download videos for when you are on the go with a subscription of YouTube Premium.

Can I use YouTube Premium benefits such as ad-free playback and background playback?

If you use an account that has an active YouTube premium membership, you will experience ad-free videos and YouTube original content. However, you cannot play videos in the background on the Nintendo Switch version of YouTube.

Are there settings to restrict the use of the YouTube app?

If you’re a parent of younger children, you may want to restrict the use of the YouTube app to prevent them from accessing inappropriate content, or maybe you want to keep them from using the YouTube app entirely.

There are actually a couple of things parents can do.

Use Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

All of the Nintendo Switch consoles come with some great parental control options to help ensure that your children can only access age-appropriate games and content. To access these features, select the “System Settings” icon shown in the image below.

Nintendo Switch System Settings

Once you are in the “System Settings” you will see a bunch of menu options on the left side of the screen. One of these menu options is “Parental Controls.” After selecting “Parental Controls” you will see an option to view a video that introduces and explains the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls. Beneath that, you will see an option for the Parental Control Settings – select that as shown in the picture below.

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

Within the Parental Controls, you will have the option to set your desired Restriction Level.

The YouTube app is rated T for Teen, which means that if you select the “Pre-Teen” and “Child” Restriction Levels, the Nintendo Switch app will be locked. For the “Teen” and “Not Restricted” levels, the app is unlocked.

Use the Restricted Mode setting within the YouTube app

If you want to allow your child to have access to the app, but want to shield them from inappropriate content on YouTube, you can enable “Restricted Mode” in the app’s Settings. This will hide content that has been flagged as inappropriate by users and YouTube’s filter. While this won’t filter out all inappropriate content, it should filter out most of it.

The Restricted Mode option in the settings menu of the app is shown in the picture below.

YouTube Restricted Mode

Do I need to buy a subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service to use the YouTube app?

Fortunately, no! As long as you have an internet connection, you can use the YouTube application.

Can I use the screen capture and video capture functions when using the YouTube app?

No. Both the screen capture function and the video capture function are not supported by the YouTube application.

Can I purchase content to watch through the app?

No. However, if you have previously purchased content from YouTube using another device you will be able to watch it on your Switch. All you need to do is go to the Library tab of the YouTube app and then go to purchases where you will be able to see the content you have already purchased.

In what location is the YouTube app available?

The YouTube application for the Switch is currently only available in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Is YouTube TV available for the Nintendo Switch?

No, YouTube TV is not accessible through this application.

What resolutions can I watch videos in? Is there a 4K option?

In handheld mode, the built-in display has a maximum resolution of 720p. But while docked, a resolution of 1080p can be achieved.

Can the YouTube app be used to live stream my gameplay?

At the moment, it isn’t possible to stream off of the YouTube application.

Why is the YouTube app used for the Switch for Consoles & TVs and not the app that is found on mobile devices?

Since the Nintendo Switch can display videos on the TV screen by docking the console, the decision was made to have the app be compatible with televisions, which is what was done for YouTube on other gaming consoles.

Can I watch YouTube on the Nintendo Switch Lite too?

Yes. The YouTube app works on both the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite. The big difference when using the app on the Nintendo Switch Lite is that since you can’t dock the Switch Lite you won’t be able to enjoy watching videos on your television like you can with the Nintendo Switch.

Does the YouTube App also work on the Nintendo Switch OLED version of the console?

Yes, the YouTube app in the Nintendo eShop is also compatible with the OLED version of the console.

Final Thoughts

The Youtube app is a great, and free addition to anybody’s Nintendo Switch. For viewing videos anywhere with the handheld mode, and an incredible transition to watching videos on your TV, the YouTube app is an enjoyable experience and a flexible one at that. The ability to switch from handheld mode to docked mode is what sets this aside from the experience on a phone. Given the experience it provides, this free application is definitely worth the storage space.

About Dan G.
Dan G.

Dan is a video game enthusiast who has been playing games for over three decades. Starting out as an "old school" gamer, Dan has since embraced the modern age of gaming, thanks in part to his kids who inspired him to explore today's current consoles and games.

With a passion for video games and a desire to help others, Dan has become an expert in the field, specializing in video game consoles and hardware. Through his numerous articles and reviews he enjoys answering questions and helping parents understand the different options available for their kids.

If you're looking for expert advice on video games and consoles, Dan is a go-to source for reliable and informative information.