Can You Watch YouTube on Nintendo Switch?

YouTube on Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video game consoles out there at the moment, and it’s easy to see why. The Switch has a solid range of video games to offer, which cover all types of genres, and is a great option for those who like to take their gaming experience on the go, but as with all portable devices sometimes people just want to relax and watch a video.

YouTube is a video-sharing website where users can upload and share videos. It 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 who are thinking about purchasing a Nintendo Switch might be wondering, “Can I watch YouTube on the Nintendo Switch?”

Thankfully, in November of 2018, the free YouTube app for the Nintendo Switch was released. It doesn’t matter whether you have a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, this app enables you to watch YouTube videos in each of the play modes your Switch supports.

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 parental control settings to restrict the use of the YouTube app?

This can be done through the “Parental Controls” section of the system settings of your Nintendo Switch. Accessibility to the application can be restricted to certain age groups such as “Teen”.

How can I enable Restricted Mode?

Restricted Mode can be enabled through the Settings in the YouTube app. It will hide content flagged as inappropriate by users and YouTube’s filter. This will not filter out 100% of all inappropriate content but it should filter out most content.

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

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 max 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 through 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.

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.