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YouTube not working? Here's what you can do

Get YouTube back up and working in no time!
January 29, 2024
YouTube on smartphone stock photo 18
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

YouTube is the largest online video platform globally, with over 2.7 billion monthly active users. YouTube not working translates to a problem for most of us, so what do you do when you find yourself in this situation? Here are some things you can try on your Android and Windows devices.

Editor’s note: Some of the instructions in this article were generated using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 14, an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17.2.1, and a custom PC running Windows 11. Keep in mind that steps can be slightly different depending on your device.

Find out if YouTube is down

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 11
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

While it’s not a common occurrence, YouTube can sometimes go down. This is the first thing you should check. There is no straightforward way to check if YouTube’s servers are non-operational, but we recommend a couple of methods.

You can get the info straight from the horse’s mouth by going to the official YouTube Twitter account. Chances are any outage will be reported there.

We also recommend Down Detector, a website where people can report issues with YouTube not working. The site is almost always spot-on, and it even includes a live map to see if there are any local outages.

If YouTube is down, you can do nothing but wait it out.

Close and reopen the app or website

Simply closing and reopening the YouTube app often fixes any local issues or bugs. If you’re using a computer, you can close either the tab or the browser and try reaccessing YouTube.

How to close an Android app:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Select See all apps.
  4. Find YouTube and tap on it.
  5. Hit Force stop.
  6. Confirm by tapping on OK.

How to close an iPhone app:

  1. Slide your finger up from the bottom of the screen and hold until the app switcher shows up.
  2. Find the YouTube app.
  3. Slide the preview screen up to close the app.

Check for any updates

Running older versions of an app is usually not an issue, but it can sometimes create some conflicts. This is especially true with more extensive updates, or upgrades that include server-side changes. Make sure you’re running the latest version of the app.

How to update Android apps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile icon.
  3. Go into Manage apps & device.
  4. Select Updates available.
  5. Find YouTube and check if it needs an update. Hit the Update button next to it.
  6. Alternatively, you can select Update all and take care of all your apps in one move.

How to update iPhone apps:

  1. Launch the Apple App Store.
  2. Tap on your Profile icon.
  3. Under Upcoming Automatic Updates, look for YouTube and tap Update next to it.
  4. Alternatively, you can tap on Update All to take care of all updates in a single sweep.

It may also help to see if everything else is updated. Check if any updates are available to your browser (if you’re using it). If you’re using a mobile phone, check if there are any available updates for the device.

How to check for Android updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Tap on System update.
  4. Select Check for update.
  5. Follow the instructions if there is an available update.

How to check for iPhone updates:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. The system will look for any available updates. Select Download and Install if available.

If you’re using a desktop computer, you might as well check for any browser updates. We’ll assume you are using Chrome.

How to check for Chrome updates on PC:

  1. Launch the Chrome browser.
  2. Click on the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Highlight Help and select About Google Chrome.
  4. The browser will automatically look for updates and install them.
  5. Hit Relaunch if requested.

Restart your device

It’s always the first troubleshooting solution we recommend! A simple restart can magically get everything up and running for reasons we don’t quite understand. It may seem silly, but it’s worth a try!

How to restart Android:

  1. Press the side and volume up buttons simultaneously.
  2. Select Restart.

How to restart an iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the power and either the volume down or volume up buttons until the power screen appears.
  2. Slide the slide to power off option.

Note: Apple doesn’t allow taking screenshots of the power menu, so we can’t visually show you the process.

Restart a Windows computer:

  1. Click on the Windows Start button.
  2. Select the power icon.
  3. Pick Restart.

Check your internet connection

There is a chance the culprit is your internet connection! You can test other apps that need an internet connection to operate and see if they work. Open the browser and Google anything. If nothing else works properly, then you might be offline. Otherwise, you’ll need some more help.

Check if your Wi-Fi is on, or if you maybe turned Airplane Mode on by accident. Those using Wi-Fi or LAN should look at the router and see if it’s connected. Are other devices working? Try restarting the router. There’s usually a dedicated button, but unplugging, waiting about a minute, and plugging the router back in works, too. You might also want to check if you mobile data is on.

How to enable mobile data on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select SIMs.
  4. Select the SIM.
  5. Toggle Mobile data on.
  6. If you’re outside your country or network coverage, also toggle Roaming on (this may incur extra charges).

How to turn on cellular data on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Cellular.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data is toggled on.
  4. If you want to turn roaming on, tap on your SIM and toggle on Data Roaming.

Clear the app’s cache and data

The following fix on this list is to clear YouTube’s cache and data. The former deletes temporary data, while the latter eliminates all app data, including various settings. This may help because sometimes data and settings get corrupted, or bugs mess things up. Clearing everything resets the app or browser and lets you start clean.

Clear cache on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Find and tap on the YouTube app under See all apps.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Hit Clear Cache.
  6. You can also select Clear storage for a clean start.

Clear cache on iPhone:

Sadly, there is no way to clear cache on iOS apps. The only effective way to do this is to uninstall and reinstall the app.

  1. Find the YouTube app. Tap and hold it for a few seconds.
  2. Select Remove App.
  3. Tap on Delete App to confirm.
  4. Go to the Apple App Store and download YouTube again.

Clear the cache on Chrome for Windows:

  1. On your Windows computer, open Chrome.
  2. Click on the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Go into Settings.
  4. Select Privacy and security in the left-side column.
  5. Pick Clear browsing data.
  6. Check the boxes to select what you want to delete. I like clearing everything if there are serious issues.
  7. Select All time in the Time range.
  8. Hit Clear data.

Sync your date and time

It may seem odd, but the date and time settings could be a reason for YouTube not working. Google’s servers might be having trouble syncing with them if you don’t set them correctly.

Sync date and time on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on System.
  3. Go into Date & time.
  4. Toggle on Set time automatically.
  5. Under Time zone, toggle on Set automatically and Use location.

Set date & time on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Select Date & Time.
  4. Make sure Set Automatically is toggled on.

Sync date and time on Windows:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Time & Language.
  3. Select Date & time in the left-side column.
  4. Toggle on Set time automatically.
  5. Toggle on Set time zone automatically.

Is the network blocking YouTube?

Sometimes, there are network restrictions on YouTube and other services. This is common to see when using the internet from schools, libraries, or other places where administrators don’t want you watching random cat videos. It could also result from careful parents who limit their kids’ YouTube activity.

Talk to the network administrator and ask if any YouTube restrictions exist. The only solution to this problem would be to ask the administrator to allow YouTube access. You can also switch to mobile data or use another available network. If you’re using something other than your smartphone, one good solution is to use your phone’s mobile hotspot feature. Let’s show you how this is done!

How to use hotspot on Android:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Tap on Hotspot & tethering.
  4. Toggle on Wi-Fi hotspot.

How to use hotspot on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Personal Hotspot.
  3. Toggle on Allow Others to Join.
  4. The phone will create a Wi-Fi network. Connect to it using another device.

Update your GPU drivers

If you’re running YouTube on a computer and have issues with YouTube not working, there is a chance there are compatibility issues with the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). Try updating the drivers and see if that helps. Keep in mind this solution only works for computer users. Skip this section if you’re not using a computer.

How to update your GPU drivers on Windows:

  1. On the Windows search bar, type in Device Manager, and open the app.
  2. Expand the section labeled Display adapters.
  3. Right-click on your GPU.
  4. Select Update driver.
  5. Click on Search automatically for drivers.
  6. Let the computer do its thing and follow instructions.

Turn off hardware acceleration

Have you ever gotten a black or green screen while trying to play a YouTube video? The problem can be annoying, especially when you can’t find a cause or solution for YouTube not working. This is usually due to compatibility issues regarding hardware acceleration. Try turning it off.

How to turn off hardware acceleration on Chrome for Windows:

  1. Open Chrome on your computer.
  2. Click on the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Go into System.
  5. Toggle off the Use hardware acceleration when available option.

Is YouTube not working after trying all these fixes? Maybe it’s time to take your case to YouTube. YouTube has a help center, so ask for help if you can’t get the service to work correctly.