Red is finally here: you can now subscribe to YouTube’s paid video service. At $9.99 a month, Red will get you an ad-free and offline experience wherever you decide to watch videos – i.e. a tablet or a computer.
As often happens with new American services, their availability is restricted to the “Land of opportunity”. But you can circumvent YouTube’s restrictions and try Red wherever you are.
I managed to use Red on my iPad and iPhone thanks to a VPN. There are several free options to do it, like Ark VPN or Betternet.
Turn on the VPN and pick a US location. Click on Red’s official subscription link and you’ll be redirected to the YouTube mobile app (make sure you have it installed and that the VPN is working at all times.)
An iTunes prompt will ask you if you want to try Red. It warns you that you’ll be charged $12.99 after the monthly trial expires – Apple gets a $3 cut, making YouTube raise the $9.99 fee to break even.
After iTunes processes the subscription, you will get full access to Red. Remember to cancel in the “Manage subscriptions” tab of your iTunes Apple ID to avoid being charged after the trial expires.
Red enables you to download videos for offline viewing and choose the playback quality, but only in the US. So to make a video available without Internet connection outside said country, you will need to keep the VPN turned on.
You can still watch saved videos on your iOS device without a VPN connection. Nevertheless, you will need to tunnel to avoid seeing ads (a shame, really.)
Red doesn’t support videos in the background on iPad or iPhone, squashing my previous theory that YouTube didn’t offer picture in picture in iOS 9 because of a direct threat to Google’s new subscription service. The audio of a video didn’t keep playing even with the screen off, one of Red’s main features.
YouTube Red also comes with Play Music, even when subscribing through iOS, which is a good perk that could convince people who are skeptical of cashing $10/$13 a month for YouTube offline and ad-free videos.
I didn’t get to bypass YouTube’s geographical restrictions on my Android. That means I couldn’t squeeze out Red’s full potential – I will keep trying and update this post if I managed to do it.
What do you think of YouTube Red? Is it worth paying $13 a month on iOS?
You can play videos in the background on iOS; all you have to do is turn the “Background play” toggle to “Always on”.