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How to use YouTube’s gestures to make it bearable on a portrait-locked phone

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The ‘swipe to full-screen’ gesture is exactly what we needed

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If you use your phone in portrait lock all the time, it can be frustrating trying to get YouTube videos into full screen with the tiny button in the UI. Thankfully, there’s a better way, using the app’s built-in gestures: you can simply swipe up on a video to fill up the screen and swipe down on it to go back to portrait orientation.

We’ve actually written about this feature before, but it seems like it’s easy to miss; most of the people I’ve shown it to had no idea it existed.


Of course, this feature works on Android phones as well, which I personally like better than having to hit the auto-rotate button built into the OS.

There is one obvious limitation: it only rotates one way. If you want to hold your phone with the left side facing up, you’re out of luck unless you turn portrait lock off. Still, it’s way better than having to tap on the video once to get the UI controls to show up, then trying to hit the tiny full-screen button.

Now all we need is this feature to be added to every other app (or for our phones to get smart enough to realize that if I’m watching a video and turn my phone, I probably want to see the video in full-screen, despite portrait lock).