YouTube will now display vertical videos on desktop without black bars on the side. It rolled out an update to its desktop player on Friday to automatically adjust the video’s aspect ratio to suit a computer’s screen size. It’s a feature that had already come to mobile on iOS and Android by removing black bars on small videos in favor of white space or an expanded video if possible.
Videos in standard 16:9, vertical videos, and in the older 4:3 format will all be affected. The update makes YouTube’s support for other aspect ratios besides 16:9 more friendly and more in line with its rival platforms where shooting on mobile doesn’t render black bars.
“Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big.”
YouTube first announced the update on Friday through user forums, as spotted by Android Police, and so far, the response has mostly been unfavorable. Days later, users have been complaining that the update makes videos even smaller, cutting off parts of the video or lowering the quality. One user wrote that her video was wider than 640 x 480 but it was forced into a 640 x480 screen, cutting off the video and lowering its quality: “Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big. Either give us a way to opt out of this, or fix it.”
We’ve reached out to Google to see if the feature will be further updated to fix these issues.