The feature was under testing only a few weeks ago
If you’ve hung around YouTube for long enough, you might’ve been bothered by the fact that the video progress bar turns from white to red as time elapses. That red really shows up in when you’re in fullscreen mode on mobile. But last month, we learned a less obtrusive gray or white color was in testing with some users of the Android app. This wasn’t going to be a big inclusion by any stretch, but it would make nighttime YouTube binging a little less straining on the eyes. This feature is now rolling out more widely, including on our Pixel 6a.
9to5Google heard from a number of users that the gray progress bar is now appearing on more devices this week. The progress bar turns red when the user plays, pauses, scrubs through, or otherwise interacts with the video. However, once the heads-up interface disappears, that bar turns into a light gray color if a device is on dark mode.
The progress bar remains red when the device or app is on the light theme, so the feature was almost certainly designed with nighttime YouTube consumption in mind.
The gray video progress bar is a persistent presence in portrait viewing, but only appears for a short beat when the video is viewed in landscape before getting out of the way of the video.
We at Android Police have also managed to spot the new progress bar color on the YouTube apps for iPhone and iPad, so it should be available across most mobile devices right now. Updating the app to its latest version may enable the feature, though it appears to be a server-side push — if it hasn’t popped up on your Android or iOS device, it probably will very soon.
YouTube had an eventful 2022 to say the least. The company announced breaching the 80 million subscriber figure collectively with YouTube Premium and YouTube Music in November. While the latter is still nowhere close to Spotify or Apple Music’s figures, the steady progression in subscribers certainly bodes well for Google.