YouTube Vanced discontinued: Best alternatives to YouTube Vanced to watch videos ad-free

Youtube Vanced, the popular modded version of the official Android YouTube app, is being discontinued. Vanced was extremely popular for its ad-free YouTube experience, along with several other features such as SponserBlock and Return YouTube Dislike integration, setting default video resolution, forcing VP9 codec and HDR playback functionality, and more. The recent developments have forced YouTube Vanced to shut down and several users are desperately searching for alternatives that can provide a similar experience. If you are among them, here’s a list of the best YouTube Vanced alternatives that you can use to watch videos without ads.

Why is Youtube Vanced shutting down?

According to several reports, YouTube Vanced was forced to shut down due to a cease and desist letter from Google. And as per a recent tweet from the team Vanced, the download links from the official website will be taken down in the coming days and the team will stop developing the app. While you can no longer download the app from the official website going forward, if you have the Vanced Manager and Vanced microG already installed, you can continue to use the app for the time being. The developers are claiming the app will work for at least two years without any updates. However, if YouTube changes its APIs, some parts or the entire app may stop working shortly. 

Alternatives to YouTube Vanced 

The news of YouTube Vanced shutting down came as a surprise to many users as the app was one of its kind and provided several useful features on top of the official YouTube client including Sponsor Block and Return YouTube Dislike integration, background video playback, setting default video resolution, forcing default video codec, removing info cards and end screens, and even placing comments section back to bottom where it was before YouTube moved it up just below the videos, and more. This customisation aspect is what made it so popular. Here are some other apps that offer a similar experience as YouTube Vanced

NewPipe

NewPipe is one of the most popular front-end clients for YouTube. It is completely free and open-source. The app is lightweight, fast and comes with an intuitive UX, making it easy to use. NewPipe comes with features like background video playback, popup video player, video and audio download support, and more. Apart from YouTube, it also supports several other services such as SoundCloud, PeerTube, Bandcamp, and more.

 NewPipe developers are very privacy-conscious and don’t use any YouTube APIs. All the features in the app are provided by parsing the YouTube website. This also prevents any tracking from Google. The app is in continuous development and is available to download from the official website as well as F-Droid and GitHub. Since the app is open-source, you can also contribute to the project if you want. 

The official NewPipe build misses the SponserBlock integration that lets you automatically skip the sponsor segments in the video as the developers were not comfortable with including it in the app, you can read more about it on their blog. There is a fork of the NewPipe you can download from GitHub that includes the SponsorBlock integration. 

SkyTube

The next alternative is SkyTube. This app is also open-source and free to use. SkyTube lets you browse YouTube ad-free, lets you subscribe to channels, browse user comments, bookmark your favourite videos, and more. SkyTube also comes with a ‘Video Blocker’ feature that let’s apply a wide range of filters to block unwanted videos. The app can be downloaded from SkyTube’s official website and F-Droid

There is another version of the SkyTube app that includes non-FOSS libraries and comes with extra features that SkyTube’s FOSS app excludes. This version can be downloaded from the official website as well. 

MusicPiped

And just in case you’re missing the YouTube Music integration from the Vanced feature set, we have got a perfect alternative. MusicPiped is a free and open-source alternative that lets you search YouTube for music videos and play them. The interface of the app resembles a traditional Android local music player app and features Material Design. You can import your favourite music playlists from YouTube as well as from your local storage. This easy to use music player will meet most of your music streaming needs. You can download the app from F-Droid.

LibreTube

The last on our list is the LibreTube app. The LibreTube app is based on Piped, an alternative privacy-friendly YouTube frontend. This one also provides ad-free YouTube browsing, and unlike other apps, you can register an account and sync your subscriptions, so you don’t have to separately keep track of your channel subscription list. Apart from that, LibreTube also let’s browse YouTube playlists, trending videos, access video subtitles, and more.

The app is in continuous development and the developers are promising many features in the coming days, including user playlists, search filters, comments, and more. You can download LibreTube from GitHub.

Other ways to browser YouTube ad-free

Most open-source apps that we have listed above come with one caveat, they won’t let you access your existing channel subscriptions, playlists, your liked videos and watch history, and more, as they don’t let you sign in to a Google account. This can be solved if you just use the official YouTube website directly. The browsers we have listed below come with several features that you can use to stream YouTube videos ad-free as well as customise your YouTube browsing experience. 

Kiwi Browser

Kiwi is a unique browser among the myriad of browsers on Android. It is the only Chromium-based browser on Android that supports a wide range of desktop Chrome extensions. It is also open-source and is in continuous development. You can use an ad blocker like AdGuard or uBlock Origin to access YouTube ad-free. To get even closer to the Vanced experience, you can also install SponseBlock, Enhancer for YouTube and Return YouTube Dislike. You can also install several other YouTube enhancement extensions such as Turn Off the Lights for a comfortable video viewing experience or GIFit! to make GIFs from YouTube videos, and more. If you want a Vanced-like YouTube browsing experience, this setup is as close to the Vanced experience as it gets. You can download the browser from the Play Store

Brave browser

The brave browser comes with a default ad-blocker out of the box. The browser is not as versatile as the Kiwi browser and won’t let you install extensions but it gets the job done as a basic YouTube browser to provide you with an ad-free YouTube browsing experience. The Brave browser is also open-source and can be installed on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac as well. 

Firefox

The new revamped Firefox for Android browser comes with add-on support. You can install add-ons/extensions like uBlock Origin, YouTube High Definition, Video Background Play Fix, and more to achieve a Vanced-like YouTube Browsing experience. This is another browser that lets you browse YouTube ad-free with third-party extensions. 

Samsung Internet Browser

Samsung Internet Browser is our last pick for the best browsers that lets you browse YouTube videos ad-free. While the Samsung browser itself doesn’t block ads by default, it’ll let you install ad blocker extensions. You can install from a range of ad blockers including Adguard, AdBlock Plus, and more to achieve an ad-free YouTube experience. Add to this, the browser includes an excellent video player to add to your video-watching conveniences. 

FAQ

How to watch YouTube videos ad-free without downloading any app or browser

If you don’t want to install any apps or browsers but still want to access YouTube ad-free, there are several DNS-based ad blockers available you can use to access YouTube ad-free. These will work on Android and iOS as well as other platforms that support DNS changing functionality.

AdGuard is one such DNS service. It works by applying a filter that includes known ad domains and trackers on your everyday internet traffic. This is an excellent solution that will let you have a near ad-free and private life without much hassle. You can find a detailed guide for each platform including Android here.

And if your device doesn’t support Private DNS functionality, you can always install an app like DNS66 to change the DNS on your Android device.