YouTube logo.

Smartphone displays are rarely the same aspect ratio as YouTube videos. That leaves black bars on the sides. You can pinch-to-zoom to fill the screen, but if you’re always doing that, you might as well make it default.

Here’s the situation: You’re watching a video in “full screen” on your phone and you see black bars on the sides as shown below. It’s easy to make the video fit the entire screen by pinching your fingers out like you’re zooming in.

Pinch to zoom in on video.

Now the video fills the entire screen—though it does cut off some of the top and bottom. This is a good solution, but you have to do it every single time. YouTube actually allows you to make this the default way videos are played in fullscreen.

Full screen video

First, open the YouTube app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Tap your profile icon in the top-right corner.

Select “Settings” from the menu.

Select "Settings."

Now go to the “General” section.

Select "General."

Toggle the switch on for “Zoom to Fill Screen.”

Enable "Zoom to Fill Screen."

That’s it! You will no longer need to zoom in on every YouTube video to take up the entire screen. Again, this does cut off part of the video, so keep that in mind. But now you can use all the screen real estate of your device.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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