Use Invidious to Watch Youtube and Avoid Ads and Tracking

As you may know, Youtube is owned by Google, one of the largest and most invasive tech companies in the world.

This means that every time you watch a video, they’re tracking you, showing you ads based on your profile, and trying to get you to sign in to your Youtube/Google account.

But there is a way to watch Youtube’s large library of videos without the ads, or privacy invasion, or hassle. It’s called Invidious. 

What is Invidious?

Invidious Website

Invidious is a completely free, open-source front end for Youtube.

In short, it lets you watch any Youtube without ads and without being tracked by Google. Plus, you can subscribe to channels, receive notifications, create playlists, and more – without having to log into (or even sign up for) a Youtube account. 

There other perks as well. For instance, you can set Invidious to only play audio, and it’ll keep playing even when you open another tab or lock your phone. 

Best Features

Invidious Features

Here’s a quick list of some of the best features Invidious has to offer:

  • No advertisements, without needing a separate ad blocker
  • No account needed to subscribe, create playlists, or receive notifications
  • Google can’t track you through your IP address, cookies, or other info either, since it’s completely separate from Youtube’s API – and doesn’t require Javascript
  • Lightweight homepage
  • Listen-only mode helps you save tons of bandwidth
  • Audio can be played in the background, even when your mobile device is locked
  • Tons of customization options, including:
    ◦ light or dark mode
    ◦ video quality
    ◦ Youtube or Reddit comments (or both)
    ◦ how videos are displayed and played
    ◦ language and content country
  • Ability to import and export subscriptions, including from Youtube to Invidious

How to Use Invidious

There are two main options for using the site. The first is through one of their instances, which work like you would use Youtube.com.

Just enter the url into your browser (or follow the link), and there you go. The most popular instance at the moment is Yewtu.be, but there are plenty of others – and more are being added (and removed) all the time.

They even have .onion instances, so you can use them through Tor. 

You can also use the Privacy Redirect extension for Firefox, Chrome, and other browsers to redirect normal Youtube links to Invidious, and even replace embedded Youtube videos. 

The other option is through a software, whether it’s Invidious’ own, or something like FreeTube, which is also powered by the Invidious API. 

Does Invidious Work on Mobile Devices?

Yes, it does. You can use one of Invidious’ web-based instances in your mobile browser, just like you would Youtube. And there are even a couple Android apps that use Invidious API... but they’re not available on the Google Play store. Follow the links below if you want to check them out:

Despite lacking an official app in the Google Play or Apple Store, Invidious is still more convenient for mobile use in some ways. Audio will continue to play when you lock your phone or open another tab. That’s a feature you’d usually need Youtube Premium for.

Invidious is already very lightweight, but you can save even more bandwidth by using the audio-only mode. Just select ‘Listen default’ in your preferences. This is a great way to listen to music, podcasts, etc. 

Invidious Youtube Player Preferences

Wrap-Up

As you can see, Invidious is a very handy tool, whether you want to avoid ads, maintain your privacy, or just a more convenient way to listen to Youtube content on your mobile device (without paying for Youtube Premium).

It’s more lightweight than Youtube, more secure, and has lots of extra usability features, all while giving you access to all of the same videos and channels. Plus, it’s totally free. There’s really no reason not to use it.

What’s your opinion on Invidious? Let us know in the comments!

July 15, 2023

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