YouTube is now a PWA, but don't get too excited yet

Youtube PWA
Youtube PWA (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube is now a progressive web app.
  • At this time, there aren't any meaningful new features that come from the swap to a progressive web app.
  • Progressive web apps support downloading content for offline use, but the YouTube progressive web app does not support that at this time.

YouTube is now a progressive web app (PWA), making it easier to "install" on your computer. The change was first spotted by 9to5Google and is a small improvement to the YouTube experience within a browser. At this time, the change to a PWA doesn't include any meaningful features, apart from the ability to "install" YouTube with the click of a button. While there aren't many meaningful features that come with the swap, there are other benefits of switching to a PWA.

While the swap to a PWA doesn't bring any new meaningful features at this time, that doesn't mean there won't be additions to YouTube in the future. PWAs support features such as downloading content, which could come at a later date.

Chrome Unboxed highlights that Google wants developers to have offline support for PWAs. In fact, the company states that in the future PWAs without a "basic offline experience" won't show the install prompt within Chrome that we now see for the YouTube PWA:

We encourage web developers to make offline supported PWA.We plan to raise the bar of the offline capability check. PWAs that don't provide at least a basic offline experience, will not show the install prompts.

It's unclear if these plans and the fact that YouTube shows an install prompt mean anything related to offline support. At this time, there's no support for downloading content through the PWA.

PWAs are also one of the key ways that the web is moving forward. They're first-class citizens on the upcoming Windows 10X and are increasingly popular among developers and companies due to their ability to work well across platforms and form factors.

If you're using Google Chrome, you'll now see a plus icon within a circle in the browser's Omnibox. Clicking that icon will "install" the app on your computer. If you're using the new Microsoft Edge, you'll see a similar experience within the address bar.

As a quick note, you can "install" any website that you'd like onto a computer. For example, you can Install Disney+ as a Windows 10 app if you'd like.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at