YouTube started experimenting with the 1080p Premium early in 2023. It’s an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p that supposedly provides a better viewing experience overall.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access. At the time of writing, the platform has yet to roll out this feature anywhere—you can only enable it on certain platforms. Here’s what you need to test 1080p Premium.
What Is YouTube’s 1080p Premium Resolution?
YouTube’s compression algorithm has become more obvious over the years—and for a good reason. The platform currently hosts over 800 million videos. Streaming all this data requires massive resources; YouTube might crash altogether if it overlooks rigid bandwidth management.
That said, cutting bitrates every time small or fast-moving elements appear (e.g., confetti, rain, or snow) hurts video quality. Even high-resolution videos will look muddy. Remember: you need bits to improve clarity and crispness, not pixel size.
To provide a better viewing experience, YouTube tested a video quality called 1080p Premium, which offers enhanced bitrates. And with videos transferring more bits, details should look sharper and crisper.
The below photo shows a side-by-side comparison of 1080p and 1080p Premium.
Here’s a closer look. Notice how the right image’s features (e.g., nose contour, necklace, hair strands) are less blurred.
What Do You Need to Enable 1080p Premium on YouTube?
As you might notice, only select users can use the 1080p Premium option. At the time of writing, this feature isn’t available on Android devices, and you must meet these conditions to try YouTube’s experimental enhanced bitrate option. This is everything you need to enjoy a 1080p Premium resolution.
1. A YouTube Premium Account
The 1080p Premium resolution is exclusive to paid subscribers. Again, hosting videos with enhanced bitrates costs massive resources—YouTube won’t waste this service on free users. So if you want to try this feature, you’ll need to subscribe to YouTube’s premium service.
2. An iOS Device or Desktop
At the time of writing, 1080p Premium is available on iOS, iPadOS, and desktop. You’ll see the option on your iPhone, iPad, and PC but not on Android and other media streaming devices.
YouTube hasn’t clarified why it initially made 1080p Premium iOS-exclusive. However, the company released the feature for desktop users in August 2023, so it could appear that the platform is slowly testing this feature before releasing it on more platforms after the beta phase. Sadly, Android users would have to wait for further updates until then.
An article by 9to5Google claims that a few Android users saw the 1080p Premium feature in June 2023. However, at the time of writing, this report is unconfirmed—the feature is still unavailable on Android.
3. A Video Uploaded in 1080p
Even if you have a YouTube Premium account and a compatible device, 1080p Premium still won’t appear on every video. You can only enable it on videos uploaded in 1080p. Videos uploaded above or below 1080p will only show the standard quality settings.
How to Use 1080p Premium on YouTube Premium
If you have a compatible device and a YoutTube Premium account, you should see the 1080p Premium option on select videos. Here’s how you can enable it:
- If you’re on a desktop, go to YouTube. Mobile users will need to open the YouTube app. Make sure you’re logged in with the account that’s subscribed to YouTube Premium.
- Look for videos uploaded in 1080p. Double-check your internet connection—1080p Premium won’t work on slow networks.
- For mobile users, tap the gear icon in the top right corner of the player, then hit Quality > Advanced. For desktop users, click the gear icon in the bottom right corner of the player, then click Quality.
- You’ll see the available video quality settings. Select 1080p Premium and wait for the video to load. If the quality doesn’t change, just reload the video and repeat the above steps.
Enjoy YouTube Videos in Premium Quality
Remember: YouTube is primarily looking for ways to add value to its paid subscription service, so it makes sense that 1080p Premium is an exclusive feature for YouTube Premium subscribers.
So if you like new features, and want to enjoy a better viewing experience, consider getting a subscription. Apart from enhancing bitrate quality, a Premium subscription removes ads, enables smart downloads, and lets you queue videos.