How to fix an iPhone 5 that cannot play YouTube videos 

YouTube is one of the most popular and widely used platforms when it comes to free video streaming online. In order to play YouTube videos on your phone, a stable Internet connection is basically what you need. You may choose to watch a wide variety of videos from various YouTube channels depending on your preferences. While YouTube videos can be accessed through a browser app, playing YouTube videos through the YouTube app is deemed better. So all you have to do is to download and install YouTube app on your phone and you’re all set to stream the videos you like. In case you’ll find trouble playing YouTube videos on your phone, I’ve mapped out some handy solutions for you to use. The steps I demonstrate in this walkthrough are applicable to the Apple iPhone 5 smartphone. Read on to find out what to do if you cannot play YouTube videos on your iPhone.

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Troubleshooting an iPhone 5 that cannot play YouTube videos

There are many possible reasons as to why you won’t be able to play videos on your iPhone 5’s YouTube. Among the common factors are network connectivity issues, isolated problems to the YouTube video or YouTube channel itself, incompatible or unsupported file formats, iOS restrictions, in-app glitches, and corrupted video file or video URL, to name some. Having said that, you need to deal with network connectivity issues as well as software errors. The following solutions are used to rule out both of these factors. 

First solution: Quit and restart YouTube app.

Apps that suddenly act up may not be able to work as intended. And this is likely what has occurred to your iPhone’s YouTube app, especially if was able to play videos as intended before. Should this be just a minor flaw, ending and restarting the app will likely resolve the issue. If you’ve previously used YouTube and left it open on your iPhone, then it must be been left suspended in the background and eventually crashed hence, stopped working. So this is what you should do first:

  1. Double press the Home key to launch the recent apps screen. On this screen, you will see the previews of the apps you’ve recently used but not closed.
  2. Find the YouTube app preview.
  3. Swipe up on the YouTube app preview to close the app. Do the same to clear all other background apps.

After clearing background apps, launch YouTube app again and see if you can now play videos.

ALSO READ: How to fix an iPhone 5 that keeps losing Wi-Fi signal

Second solution: Soft reset to fix your iPhone 5 that cannot play YouTube videos.

If clearing out background apps doesn’t fix the problem, restarting or performing a soft reset on your iPhone can be considered as the next potential solution to try on. App glitches can also be triggered by minor firmware crashes. And if this is what’s halting YouTube videos from playing on your iPhone 5, restarting the phone is most likely what’s needed. Here’s how:

  1. Press and  hold the Power (Sleep/Wake) button on the top of the phone for a few seconds.
  2. Release the button when the Power Off slider appears. The iPhone will then shut down.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the Power (Sleep/Wake) button until the Apple logo appears and then release the button.

Allow your iPhone to finish the boot sequence and then launch the YouTube app to check and see if it’s already able to play videos as it should.

Third solution: Disable restrictions on your iPhone.

Another possible reason as to why your iPhone 5 cannot play YouTube videos is that the app is restricted from running on your device. This is usually what happens if restrictions are enabled on your phone. To clear this out, follow these steps to disable restrictions on your iPhone 5 and allow YouTube app to run without any limitations:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. If prompted, enter the correct four-digit passcode and then confirm.
  5. Tap the switch next to Content & Privacy to turn the feature OFF.

You can also keep restrictions turned on but make sure that YouTube app is allowed. Just scroll down to the Allowed Apps section and see if the switch next to YouTube app is turned on. If it is off, then you should toggle it on.

ALSO READ: How to fix an iPhone 5 that has no Internet connection

Fourth solution: Update YouTube app on your iPhone.

Updates may also contain the required fix patch if malwares and software bugs are the underlying cause of the problem. If your iPhone has no problem connecting to the Internet, follow these steps to check and install all pending updates for your apps including YouTube from the App Store:

  1. Open the App Store from your Home screen.
  2. Then scroll down to the bottom section and tap Updates. A list of apps with pending updates will then be displayed.
  3. Tap the Update button next to YouTube to install pending update for the app.
  4. If multiple updates are available, tap the Update All button to install all app updates at once.

Also ensure that your iPhone is already running on the latest iOS version. To check if your iPhone software is up to date, simply follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update. If an update is available, you will see a notification containing the update details and system requirements. Just follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the updates.

After installing updates, restart your iPhone to clear and refresh its memory and likewise to implement the recent system changes.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network-related errors that might have halted your iPhone from playing YouTube videos can also be resolved by performing a network reset. This is likely what’s all you need if the problem is attributed to incorrect network settings or invalid network configuration. You won’t lose any saved data in this reset so there’s no need to back up files beforehand. However, you will be disconnected from the Wi-Fi network as it will be deleted along with other saved Bluetooth and WiFi networks. If you wish to proceed, just follow these steps whenever you’re ready:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll to and tap General.
  3. Tap on Reset
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  6. Tap to confirm that you want to reset network settings on your phone.

Your iPhone will restart on its own when the reset is finished. Wait until it boots up again and then reconnect to Wi-Fi. Once your iPhone gets back online, launch YouTube app again and see if you can now play YouTube videos. 

ALSO READ: How to fix iPhone 5 no sound problem, no audio outputs

Sixth solution: Uninstall then reinstall YouTube app on your phone.

You may not still be able to play YouTube videos on your phone after exhausting all the previous solutions if the app itself gets corrupted. To fix this problem, reinstalling YouTube would be necessary. This also means deleting the problematic YouTube app first. Here’s how:

  1. Find the YouTube app icon from the Home screen.
  2. Tap and hold down the app icon until all apps start to shake.
  3. Tap the X on the top-left corner of the YouTube app icon.
  4. Then tap Delete to confirm that you want to delete the app.
  5. Tap anywhere on the screen to stop the app icons from shaking.

After deleting YouTube app, reboot/soft reset your iPhone to clear out the cache and to refresh its memory. Then follow the next steps to download the latest version of the app from the App Store:

  1. Open the App Store app on your phone.
  2. Enter YouTube app or YouTube into the search field then tap the Search icon.
  3. Select the correct YouTube app version for your iPhone.
  4. Then tap the Cloud icon or Download button to start downloading the application.

Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to install the YouTube app completely on your phone.

 Still cannot play YouTube videos on your iPhone 5?

If you have installed YouTube app on your other online device, try launching the app and see if you can play YouTube videos. To determine if the problem is isolated to a video file or YouTube channel, try to play different videos from different channels. If you still cannot play any YouTube videos on your other devices, then it must be due to some network connectivity issues if not, a problem with the YouTube server itself. In that case, there’s not much can be done on your end but to wait until Google’s YouTube support fixes the problem. If the problem occurs only to a certain video or channel, then that’s likely an isolated problem to that video or channel only. In the case where all your other devices are able to play YouTube videos, then it must be due to some complex system error that caused conflicts to the YouTube app that you need to deal with. For more advanced solutions, you can escalate the problem to Google-YouTube support.

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