The launch of the iPhone XS and XS Max turned many heads. While they have premium looks, they came at a somewhat unexplainable price tag and even lack a few important features. Well, at least at launch, both devices lacked HDR support for YouTube. Fortunately, YouTube has been updated to support HDR on iOS on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. But, you can’t really have the cake and eat it at the same time. So, while HDR support for YouTube is now usable on both smartphones, the devices cannot playback YouTube videos at 4K.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Gain HDR Support For YouTube
The YouTube app on iOS has gained an update to version 13.37. So, what’s so special about this update? Well, it brings HDR support to the iPhone XS and XS Max on YouTube. The options are now enabled in the video quality settings and all users have to do is switch between the one which suits them best. While one can manually select the HDR option, YouTube has kept it on by default for the iPhone XS and XS Max.
HDR support on a device allows for a wider range of colours and an overall better viewing experience. This is because the visuals appear brighter, more vivid, and the outcome is an image quality with less colour banding. Since both smartphones have OLED displays, watching videos in HDR make it all the more worth it. Oddly, the release notes for the latest version of YouTube doesn’t mention the addition of HDR support for the iPhone XS but still supports it. The notes only mention about improvements and bug fixes. However, GDR is working on YouTube on both smartphones.
Unfortunately, even though YouTube provides HDR support for the devices, it doesn’t offer resolutions higher than 1080p, with 4K content displayed at a downsampled manner. What’s funny is that YouTube even does this for other Apple products including the Apple TV 4K and iPads which support higher-resolution displays.
Perhaps it all boils down to the lack of Apple’s support for Google’s VP9 codec. It’s still a mystery on whether or not Apple will make this available at the software level in the near future.