YouTube Logo on Grey Background

Are you watching a video on YouTube that’s moving too slowly—or too quickly? It’s easy to speed up (or slow down) playback of any video on the YouTube website or the YouTube mobile app. Here’s how.

How YouTube’s Playback Speed Controls Work

YouTube includes a feature called “Playback speed” that allows you to select a speed anywhere between 0.25 times and 2 times the normal speed. With “1” being normal speed, “0.25” is equal to a quarter of the original speed (slowing playback down), and “2” is twice as fast as normal.

If something seems like it’s taking forever—perhaps a long presentation, interview, or podcast where everyone is speaking slowly—you can actually speed it up. Likewise, if you’re watching a tutorial and things are moving too quickly, you can slow the video down so that you can keep up.

YouTube’s playback speed feature doesn’t change the pitch of the video when you speed it up or slow it down. If it did, a person’s voice might sound like a squeaky mouse when fast or like a lumbering giant when slow. Instead, it compresses or expands the audio and video samples to maintain the same audio pitch during playback—so it really just sounds like the same person is talking faster or slower. Music will also play faster or slower without altering the musical key.

How to Change YouTube’s Playback Speed on the Web

You can change playback speed in both a web browser and in the YouTube mobile app for iPhone, Android, and iPad. First, we’ll show you how it works on the web.

To slow down or speed up a YouTube video in a browser, visit YouTube.com and navigate to a YouTube video. Bring up the playback toolbar and click the “gear” icon located in the lower-right corner of the video area.

To change YouTube playback speed on the desktop, click the gear icon.

In the menu that appears, click “Playback speed.”

In the menu that appears, select "Playback speed."

In the “Playback speed” menu, you can select a speed anywhere between 0.25 times and 2 times the speed, including a custom value within that range. With “1” being normal speed, any value less than 1 will slow the video down, while any value greater than 1 will speed up the video.

Choose a YouTube playback speed from the list.

After that, click outside the menu to close it, and the next time you press the play button, the video will play at the speed you selected. If you need to change it back to normal, click the gear icon again, select “Playback speed,” and pick “1” from the list.

How to Change YouTube Playback Speed on the YouTube Mobile App

If you’d like to slow down or speed up a YouTube video on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, first open the YouTube app. While playing a video, tap the screen once to bring up the toolbar, then tap the vertical ellipses button (three dots aligned vertically) located in the upper-right corner of the video frame.

In the YouTube app, tap the three dots button.

In the menu that pops up, select “Playback speed.”

In the menu that appears, tap "Playback speed."

In the “Playback speed” list that appears, select the speed you’d like. Remember, any value less than 1 slows the video down, while any number greater than 1 speeds up the video.

Select the YouTube playback speed you'd like from the list.

After that, close the menu, and the video will resume at the selected speed. If you need to change it back to the regular speed, tap the ellipses button again and change the speed to “1.”

Happy watching!

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.