The YouTube Redirect Shortcut

Sunday, April 7, 2024

It has been a while since I have started the multi-year process of de-Googling myself. It is nowhere near close to the finish line, but I have taken a few steps towards it.

The past few months I have been trying to find a good YouTube alternative. I am already a subscriber on Nebula 1 (a good, albeit pretty light on content competitor to YouTube) and I am trying my best to support some of my favorite YouTube creators over on Patreon 2.

For YouTube content, I have recently discovered Invidious 3, which is a front-end alternative, meaning that the videos are still hosted on and served by YouTube (note: there are also alternatives to Invidious, like Piped 4). Invidious is based on public instances that other people have already set up, and given the nature of its implementation, it is locked on a cat & mouse game with YouTube, where the logic can break everytime Google changes something on their website 5. That said it is a rather good alternative: It is stable (minus a few hick-ups when something breaks by Google), it has an active community, there are a lot of different integrations (browser extensions 6, applications 7 etc) and you can always spin up your own private instance if you so desire!

In the spirit of trying to move away from Google products, I have built this small Shortcut for MacOS / iOS devices 8. Its purpose is simple: Every time you try to watch a YouTube video either on the YouTube website or the YouTube mobile application, you have the option to get redirected to the embedded version of the same video on an Invidious instance of your choice.

On the Shortcut setup (Apple calls that 'Import Questions'), I have added the option to specify the Invidious instance of your choice as well as change the auto-play flag. If you leave the Invidious instance field blank, you will be redirected to the GDPR compliant "youtube-nocookie" embedded URL that contains no ads and no tracking. The auto-play flag controls whether the video will start auto-playing (muted, to comply with the auto-play policies 9) as soon as it loads, or not.

On top of that, by viewing the videos this way you can use the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature of iOS without being a YouTube Premium subscriber! 😉

You can find a link to the shortcut below. After adding it to your MacOS / iOS device you can answer the Import Questions and you are ready to go!

Download YouTube Redirect Shortcut