Google last year sent a cease and desist letter to the developers of popular third-party YouTube mod app, YouTube Vanced. As a result, the YouTube Vanced team decided to shut down the app’s development and take down all the download links.
Although the Vanced app remained functional for a certain number of users, including myself, it has officially ceased to operate.
Best YouTube Vanced replacements
For years, Android users have relied on YouTube Vanced as a companion app to enjoy premium features such as ad-free video playback and background audio.
If you’re in search for a YouTube Vanced alternative, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of alternatives that we think you’ll love.
These apps have the important features you know and love, so you won’t miss out. They’re likely not going to be perfect Vanced replacements, but they’ll certainly get very close.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, most of you probably used the Vanced app to avoid paying Google for the premium features.
But the thing is, most of these modded YouTube apps will always be playing a cat-and-mouse game with Google and will eventually be whittled down.
Cutting to the chase and paying for YouTube Premium will net you 90% of the features offered by Vanced anyway, and you’ll get the added benefit of supporting your favorite creators.
With YouTube Premium, you’ll get most of the features you miss, and you keep the lights and heating on for your favorite content creators. Sounds like a win-win situation to me, right?
To enjoy YouTube Premium features, you’ll have to get a YouTube Premium subscription starting at $11.99 per month, but you can pay less by opting for an annual plan, a student plan, or a family plan.
Note: YouTube Premium is currently not available in Kenya, but you can always use a VPN.
YouTube ReVanced is an alternative to Vanced that allows you to watch YouTube videos ad-free on Android smartphones.
YouTube ReVanced is a more advanced and sophisticated modded version of the YouTube app that includes many additional features and controls that YouTube Vanced didn’t have.
The open-source patcher — ReVanced Manager is used for patching the YouTube app.
However, installing Revanced on Android can be a convoluted process, unlike Vanced which offered a one-click install process. Worry not though, this blog post by 91mobiles shows a step by step guide on how to install Revanced.
NewPipe is a classic that’s been around longer than Vanced has. It’s completely free and open-source while offering background playback, picture-in-picture, video downloading, and more.
It’s continuously updated with new features, and the developers are incredibly privacy-conscious. One downside is that you can’t log in to your YouTube account in NewPipe, but it does mean there are no advertisements, and it works on devices that don’t have Google apps (cough, cough, Huawei).
You can also share videos from the regular YouTube app on your phone to NewPipe for playback if you wish.
Another YouTube Vanced alternative worth checking out is SkyTube. Much like NewPipe, SkyTube is a free, open-source YouTube client for Android devices.
And like NewPipe, signing into your account to sync your playback history is not possible. However, you have the option to import subscriptions, so you don’t need to search for each creator individually and start from scratch.
It’s worth noting that SkyTube comes in two variants. One is SkyTube Extra, which packs closed libraries and supports the official YouTube player and casting.
The other is a completely open-source variant that’s published on F-Droid, though it’s slower to update (takes up to five days to receive an update) and obviously lacks those additional features.
However, no matter which you choose, you’re getting video downloading, background playback, video blocking, no advertisements, and a whole lot more.
LibreTube is an upcoming YouTube client based on privacy-friendly YouTube frontend Piped. This means you never connect to Google’s servers directly.
There’s a server in between you and Google (and LibreTube lets you select from a few). You can register an account on that server if you want to subscribe to channels, but you’re not subscribing to any Google-affiliated service.
The app’s design feels modern and offers intuitive animations during navigation.
You also get fine-tuned controls to pick the video quality and format during playback. These options are also available when downloading videos for offline access.
With that said, do keep in mind that LibreTube is still in beta, and you may run into bugs.
Kiwi with UBlock Origin and SponsorBlock
If you prefer a Chromium-based browser to watch YouTube videos without ads, Kiwi Browser is your best bet. Thanks to its support for browser extensions, you can install Chrome extensions like uBlock Origin and SponsorBlock to watch YouTube videos without interruptions.
Unlike YouTube Vanced alternative apps mentioned above, you can sign in to your Google account using this method. That means you can leave comments and sync your watch history across devices.
Change DNS to Block YouTube Ads
It’s also worth considering using a Private DNS service like AdGuard to block YouTube advertising.
If you have an Android phone running Android 9 Pie or higher, go to Network & Internet settings and select the Private DNS option to utilize AdGuard as your DNS.
This will prevent advertising from appearing when you watch YouTube videos from a mobile browser.
A game that’s impossible to win
See, anyone violating the YouTube ToS can be ordered to cease and desist from their actions, and that’s exactly what happened with YouTube Vanced.
Only time will tell if Google intends to go after these other available options. But one this is for sure, if one these Vanced alternatives fall, ten more will pop up in its place.