Back in the day (2011), YouTube was the centre of a bit of a spat between Google and Microsoft, of course. The latter made a rather good Windows Phone 8 (Silverlight) client for Google's YouTube but without the possibility of adverts. Which then annoyed Google, who forced Microsoft to first cripple and then remove the client altogether, despite promises to bring it back. After all, by then, Google had its own mobile ecosystem in Android and why would it encourage access to one of its crown jewels from a rival OS?
Happily, a combination of Google official APIs and reverse-engineered web-scraping cleverness enabled at least half a dozen third party clients, at least two of which still work pretty well today, in late 2021. But which ones, and what other options might there be?
I revisit the various YouTube clients several times a year as part of maintaining my Windows 10 Mobile Services page, of course, but I thought this service deserved an up to date briefing. Not least because I'm a huge YouTube fan and spend at least an hour a day browsing around, enjoying creators, enjoying old retro clips, enjoying music concert videos, enjoying sporting moments... it's all there on YouTube.
Although it's possible to view most of YouTube without signing in, you do get all the benefits of playlists, history, and so on, if you sign in. So for the testing below, I signed in fully from scratch through my Google two-factor authentication, making sure that this was still possible even on 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile.
(The title links go to the Microsoft Store.)
This UWP client still works, but I should note that it's perhaps the least responsive of the options on this page and is awaiting updates from its developers (I'll keep readers posted).
Updated only yesterday, this is by far the most updated and active YouTube UWP client. Credit to the developer for still compiling for Windows 10 branches that encompass phones.
I should explain that by this I mean go to 'youtube.com' in the built-in Edge browser. YouTube changes its site code regularly (partly why third party clients have to keep being updated), but it currently plays very well indeed with the old Edge browser. It's a PWA (Progressive Web Application), though of course some of the more advanced features that you'd see in (e.g.) Chrome on Android won't work on our older platform here.
Still, the overall experience is, if anything, almost as smooth as myTube! above, helped because you're interacting directly with the service rather than relying on layers of (potentially) third party scrapes, APIs, and hacks. Here's YouTube in late 2021 in Edge on my Lumia. The only obvious downside is that you have to put up with the URL bar for anything other than full-screen playback, this being a browser:
I did try Perfect Tube and a few other options from the Store, but the former doesn't sign into YouTube anymore (again, waiting on updates, no doubt), while other claimed clients were adware and a right nuisance (take the first reviews of any new app in the Store with a huge pinch of salt, as it will be the developer's friends, or even the dev himself under an alias!!)