You can now install YouTube as a progressive web app (PWA) on Windows. What does that mean? PWAs are like desktop shortcuts to websites that run in their own app window. They don’t take up much space and load faster than navigating to the website in Chrome or Edge. PWAs also get their own icons in the system tray and are not added to yours Swamp of open browser tabs.
(You can technically Install YouTube as a PWA on AndroidAlso, but in our experience, it’s not as good as the standard YouTube Android app. So let’s focus on the desktop version.
YouTube, used through the desktop PWA, works the same as it does in your browser. All normal desktop functions are available including picture-in-picture viewing and Statistics for nerds. Any YouTube-related extensions you’ve installed for Chrome (or other Chromium browsers like Edge) should work as well. I have several YouTube browser add-ons including Window full screen and the Pocket Tube Subscription Managerand they are all compatible with the PWA.
YouTube’s PWA looks and works the same as the desktop website. Screenshot: Brendan Hesse
However, there are some things that the YouTube PWA cannot.
For example, I’ve set shortcuts for my subscription page in every browser I use so I can skip the home page and jump straight to the latest uploads. It doesn’t seem like you can do this in the PWA, which means that whenever you open the app from your desktop or start menu, it always starts from the home page.
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Also, you cannot open multiple videos at the same time in YouTube’s PWA as you can in a browser. If you right click on a link and open it, it will show up as a new browser tab instead of opening it in the app. However, if you’re browsing Chrome, you can open YouTube URLs in the PWA instead of as a new tab. Just right click any YouTube link or YouTube video in your browser and choose “Open in YouTube.”
If you try YouTube’s PWA and take advantage of the experience, YouTube Music and YouTube TV can also be installed as PWAs in the same way. In fact, most Google and Microsoft web services including Google Drive and Microsoft Outlookcan be installed as PWAs.
How to install YouTube as a PWA on Windows
Install with Chrome:
- Open YouTube.com
- Press the “+” Icon in the URL bar
- click “Add” When asked if you want to add YouTube to your desktop.
Install with Edge:
- Go to YouTube.com
- Press the “+” Click the button on the URL bar, then click “To install” when prompted.
- Alternative: Press the “…” Click the button at the top right of the browser to open Edge’s settings menu. Choose “Apps” then click “Install this site as an app.”
Installation should be almost instantaneous. When the process is complete, you will see a YouTube icon on your desktop and in the Windows Start menu. Click the icon to open YouTube as a separate app on your desktop.