YouTube Videos Blurry? Try These 12 Fixes

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YouTube Video Blurry?

There are some occasions where the YouTube video(s) you are trying to watch come out blurry throughout the length of it. If you are experiencing such issues on YouTube, there are a number of reasons why this may happen.

And the solution often depends on the video itself, the device you are watching on, the platform you are watching on (app or browser), and lots more.

In this article we will examine all the possible reasons why YouTube videos are blurry and provide clear solutions to them all.

Why Is My YouTube Video Blurry

When troubleshooting a problem that has many possible causes, it is always best to adopt a step-by-step approach. Perform one fix and try streaming again. If the issue persists, perform the next fix and try streaming again.

This will help you isolate and identify the particular reason why YouTube videos are blurry on your device. We also recommend that you try the fixes in the order that we have provided them.

1. The Video Quality is Low

The most basic and most common reason why the video you are watching on YouTube is blurry is that the quality you are watching on is poor. The video quality of a YouTube video when you watch it depends largely on 3 factors:

  • The quality of the camera that was used to make the video
  • The video quality set by the uploader (in pixels)
  • The YouTube video quality set on the device you are watching on.

Now, obviously, you have no control over the first 2 factors. Bu that’s okay because YouTube is putting checks in place to ensure a minimum acceptable video quality standard.

The one you have control over and which you should check is the YouTube web or app video setting for the particular video you are watching.

There are normally about 7 video quality levels on YouTube but this number varies depending on the default quality set by the uploader. However, to solve the blurry video problem, you simply need to increase the video quality to the highest available level in the settings.

Fix – Increase Quality

Please follow the steps below to increase the quality of the video and fix the blurry picture issue on YouTube.

YouTube On A PC Browser:

1. Open the YouTube video you want to watch

2. Hover over the video with your cursor to bring up the controls on the screen. You can also do this by pausing the video

3. On the control icons at the bottom of the video screen, click the Settings icon (the gear icon)

4. On the popup, select Quality

5. A list of numbers representing video quality levels will appear. It is usually Auto by default

6. Click on the highest number at the top list. This could be 720, 1080, or even higher

When you click this, the video will refresh to the new quality you have set. This could resolve the blurry video issue for you. The Auto default may have been too low for the video’s quality at creation, hence the blurry video.

YouTube on Android App or Browser:

When you play a YouTube video on an Android phone’s YouTube app or browser:

1. You need to pause the video to bring up the controls

2. The Settings gear icon appears at the top right of the screen

3. Click on it and select Quality

4. Then select the highest number at the top of the list

YouTube on iPhone App:

If you are playing a video on the YouTube app on an iPhone, the interface is a bit different:

1. You need to pause the video to bring up the controls

2. At the top right of the screen, you will see a menu icon (3 vertical dots)

3. Click on it to bring up the menu, then select Quality

4. Then select the highest number at the top of the list

2. New Upload

Videos that have just been uploaded to YouTube appear blurry for at least the first 30 minutes. The reason is, when a video is uploaded, YouTube uses a low-to-high approach to process and render the video.

That is, the low-quality resolution is processed and uploaded first, before the higher quality versions are processed and uploaded in increments.

Fix – Check Update Date and Wait

Thankfully, you can easily check the upload date of the video in its description area. If the video is uploaded the same day you are trying to watch, it’s possible that it’s still being processed. And all you need to do is wait 30 to 60 minutes for the video to be fully processed, then retry watching.

3. Internet Is Bad

Another major reason why videos on YouTube get blurry is when the internet connection on the playing device is poor. YouTube is implementing a technology that delivers the low-quality version of the video to you when your internet connection is slow. This is to avoid or at least reduce buffering caused by slow internet.

High-quality videos require stronger internet connection to stream. This is because of the higher amount of data that need to be transmitted per second to maintain the quality.

Because lower-quality videos require less data to be transmitted per second, YouTube defaults to the low-quality version of the video until your internet connection improves.

You may have noticed something similar when you are streaming content from other sites with internet that isn’t great. When you skip some minutes of the video, the video appears blurry at first and then clears out after a bit.

This is because the service is still trying to load the higher-quality version, and so renders the low-quality version in the meanwhile.

The best way to know that poor internet and not the video itself is the cause of the blurry video is if the blurry picture affects more than one video.

Fix – Restart Connection

The first step to take when troubleshooting internet connection issues is to restart the connection. From time to time, the network adapter on the computer or mobile device you are streaming on may run into a temporary glitch causing it to receive weak signals from your router or cellular data.

To fix this, simply restart the connection and try streaming again.

To restart connection on mobile device

1. Tap the WIFI or Cellular Data icon once to turn it off

2. Tap it again to turn it back on, and ensure that it is connected to the right network

To restart connection on Windows PC:

1. Click the WIFI icon at the bottom tray of your screen

2. Click on Airplane Mode to turn off all network connections

3. Wait 30 seconds and click on it again to turn your connections back on

4. Ensure it connects to the right network and try streaming again

To restart connection on Mac

1. Click on the Wi-Fi symbol on the right side of your menu bar.

2. Select Turn Wi-Fi off or toggle to turn it off (depending on your interface)

3. Click on the symbol again and select to turn WIFI back on

4. Confirm the connection and try watching the YouTube video again

Fix 2 – Restart Router

If restarting the internet connection on your device does not clear the problem, then the issue may lie with your internet source. If you are using a router, it’s possible that it has run into a glitch or bug.

For example, when your router becomes hot, when it stores up too much electricity, or when some circuits in its board disconnect, the router starts to deliver poor signals to your device.

To fix this, you need to restart the router using the steps below:

1. Unplug the router from power supply

2. Wait 2 full minutes (this will allow the router board to cool)

3. Then plug it back in and wait for it to show the internet connection indicator

4. Try streaming on YouTube again to see if the blurry video problem is cleared.

If the internet issue persists, you need to contact your ISP (internet service provider) to report it.

Fix 3 – Reset Router

If the problem does not lie with your ISP, it may be that your router has run into a serious bug that a restart cannot fix. In that case, you would need to reset the router to factory settings. Please note that this reset will also delete your WIFI name and password, and all settings and customizations on it.

To reset your router:

1. First go to the website of the router manufacturer to download the user manual. This will provide you with details like login credentials and IP address when setting up your router again

2. Leave your router turned on

3. Use a paperclip to press and hold the Reset hole at the back of the router for 10 seconds. This will reset the router

4. Then, log into the router using the details you obtained and set up your WIFI again

4. Bug on YouTube App

In this section, we are specifically addressing the blurry video on YouTube if you are using the YouTube app on your mobile device.

iPhones generally force you to use the YouTube app even when you click the YouTube link on the safari browser. This also happens on Android phones although it can be avoided by going directly to YouTube.com on the browser.

The point is that for mobile device users, the blurry video issue is usually encountered on the YouTube app. To resolve the issue on the app, you also need to adopt a step-by-step approach as provided below:

Fix – Restart App

The very first thing to do whenever you want to fix a bug is to do a restart. When you restart an application or a device, the currently running programs that may have malfunctioned are offloaded, and the system is loaded from scratch.

So, when you experience the blurry YouTube video on your mobile device, first restart the YouTube app and see if that fixes the problem

To restart YouTube app

1. Press the Home button on your mobile device to exit the app

2. Swipe the YouTube app away from recent items

3. Wait 30 seconds, then launch the YouTube app again and try to stream

Fix 2 – Clear Cache

YouTube, just like every other app on your mobile device, uses a temporary storage called Cache. The cache storage keeps usage data like your preferences, previously used images and files, some login data, and lots more.

Every time you launch the YouTube app, your phone loads data from the YouTube cache in order to launch YouTube successfully. So, if the YouTube cache memory becomes clogged or corrupt, the app will no longer function properly and you may see errors like the blurry videos on YouTube.

To fix this, you need to clear the YouTube cache using the steps below:

To clear the YouTube cache on Android:

1. Long-press the YouTube app

2. Select App Info

3. Select Clear Data

4. Select Clear Cache

5. Confirm to clear cache

On iOS

1. Navigate to Settings on your device

2. Select General

3. Select iPhone Storage

4. Select YouTube

5. Select Offload app

6. Confirm the action

7. Select Reinstall app

After clearing the cache, try streaming on the YouTube app again to see if the blurry video issue is cleared.

Fix 3 – Update App

Sometimes, the YouTube app may develop malfunction in the current software that requires a new update patch to fix. Apart from introducing new features and adding code to prevent a bug from occurring in the future, updates also sometimes fix existing bugs on an app.

Therefore, updating the YouTube app may resolve the blurry video issue for you. To update YouTube:

1. Go to the App Store or Play Store

2. Search for YouTube and select it from the results

3. Tap update to the right of the screen to update the app

Fix 4 – Re-install App

There are times where restarting, clearing cache, and updating does not fix bugs on an app. This happens when there is a serious bug on the particular instance of the YouTube app on your device. The only way to fix such bugs would be to uninstall the app and install it again.

Please note that if the YouTube app comes preinstalled on your phone as it is on some Android phones, you may be unable to uninstall it.

On Android or iOS:

1. Press and hold the YouTube app on your phone.

2. On the options that appear, select Uninstall for Android or Remove App for iOS.

3. Confirm the uninstall

4. Then, go back to your Play Store or App Store to redownload the YouTube app

5. The Video Maxs Out at 720p

Remember that earlier, we stated that one of the factors that determine video quality on YouTube is the quality set for the video by the uploader.

When we showed you how to increase the video quality, we recommended to select the highest available quality in the video. This highest available quality is set by the uploader and you cannot go beyond that when streaming.

There are times when even a 240p quality is good enough. And there are times when 720p is so poor it’s blurry. The key thing that determines this is the quality of the camera and lighting.

So, if you set the video quality to the highest available, say 720p, and it’s still blurry, it may well be that the video is simply of very-low quality

Fix – Watch Something Else or Accept It

To confirm, try watching another video and set the video quality to the highest. If the picture is good, then you’re sure the issue was with the former video you were trying to watch.

In that case, you could either accept it the way it is or search for another version of the video. If not, just watch something else…hopefully you can afford to do without the former video.

6. Google Cloud Service is Down

As you may already know, YouTube is one of many services owned by Google. So, YouTube is hosted on Google’s cloud servers. When you experience blurry videos on YouTube, it may be because Google’s cloud service is down.

There are quite a number of reasons why the service could go down. For a start, the sheer number of people that use YouTube at any given time is mindboggling. We are talking over 30 million visits a day. This number may overwhelm the service sometimes and cause issues like blurry videos.

Also, as a cloud service, the hosting servers or network may suffer technical fault and cause distortion in data transmission. This would also cause issues like blurry videos on YouTube. You may be aware that this has happened in 2020 and 2018.

So, when you have checked every fix so far and the issue persists, it may way be that Google cloud services is glitching.

Fix – Wait Till Cloud Services is Back Up

It’s easier to know when services suffer a global or regional failure these days thanks to social media.

If you have a social media account, you could quickly head over there to see if people are reporting the same issue. You could also check the YouTube official Twitter page for updates.

Alternatively, you could head over to sites like Down Inspector and Down Detector to see the status of YouTube and also get live feeds on issues with the service.

On Down Detector, you can select which services you are having issues on: YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube TV.

On Down Inspector, you will see recent support feeds from YouTube to users.

If there are reports of downtime on any of the platforms you check, you simply have to wait for Google to resolve the issue.

7. Issue With Device

In our step-by-step approach, we have eliminated issues with the video quality, the video age, the internet connection, the YouTube app, the default video settings, and YouTube servers.

The final possible reason why you may experience blurry videos on YouTube is that the device you are watching on is actually glitching or has developed a bug.

Whether you’re watching on a mobile device or a computer, the device could suffer a software, hardware or display driver malfunction that causes the blurry videos on YouTube.

Please try the fixes below to fix bugs on your playing device.

Fix – Restart Device

The first step to take to fix the bug on your device is to restart it. We have already explained the function of a restart and how it can eliminate bugs.

Another great thing about restarting the device is that it closes several apps that are running in the background. These apps have been known to causes performance issues with YouTube especially on computers.

To restart your device, we recommend that you save open files and perform a full shutdown rather than use the restart function. This will completely shut down the device operating system, eliminate bugs and get it working well again.

Fix 2 – Update Device

If restarting your device does not fix the issue, you should check for updates and install them right away. In fact, we recommend updating the device anyway. This will not only clear the blurry YouTube video issue, but also ensure that your device performs well in the long run.

This is especially true for computers because the blurry video problem may be caused by the video card drivers being out of date. You do not need to install the drivers manually. You simply have to update your device and the drivers get updated with it.

To update Android OS (the method may vary across brands)

1. Go to Settings

2. Select About Phone

3. Select Check for System Updates

4. Confirm to install the available updates

To update iOS

1. Select Settings

2. Select General

3. Select Software Update

4. Click to install the available updates

To Update Mac OS:

1. Plug your Mac to power supply

2. Make sure you are logged in as Administrator or have the Administrator password

3. From the Menu button at the top of your Mac screen, select System Preferences

4. Select Software Update

5. Click Update Now or Upgrade Now

To update Windows PC:

1. Click the Start/Windows Button

2. Select Settings

3. Select Windows Update

4. Click on Check for Updates

5. If updates are already displayed, click Download

After updating the device, try streaming a video on YouTube again and see if the blurry video issue persists. If it does, please contact YouTube support.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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